No Label at the Table began when Shelly Henley’s son was turning eighteen and transitioning to adulthood. He said he wanted to be a chef in restaurant. Initially, she giggled and told him, “No you like to eat at restaurants.” Then she realized, no of course, he’d want to cook. He started a gluten/casein free diet when he was a toddler. 18 years ago, no one knew what gluten free was, so she pulled him up on the kitchen island and began baking. Baking and cooking are process driven. You follow the steps and in the end, you get a yummy reward. It is very satisfying work for him.
Being a chef would’ve been impossible. He wasn’t verbal enough to make it through an interview. If a restaurant would take a chance on him, he’d be relegated to the dishwasher. He has an incredible palate and like most people on the spectrum amazing detail and process skills. A dishwashing position would be a waste of his potential and most likely a disaster.
All parents want their children to grow to be happy fulfilled people. Shelly wanted her son to feel he was doing is something useful. She wanted him to feel his work is needed. Your work adds to your self-worth.
To live the life you want to, to enjoy your work and feel validated is important for everyone but especially for someone with special needs. Work has to be enjoyable, otherwise it’s another tedious task in a world that doesn’t always make sense. So, with a lot of hope and hustle she decided to make his dream of being a chef a reality and give other people’ s children an opportunity for meaningful work as well.
No Label at the Table has a dozen employees, who are all on the spectrum, that have maintained and operated a brick and mortar allergen free bakery in the heart of Carmel’s Arts and Design District since 2017 They sell wholesale throughout Indiana and online.