'Everyone can eat together': Deli to cater for mix of dietary requirements

Owners of Jemima's Deli, Ruth Dutson and Annette Keylock.  

Owners of Jemima's Deli, Ruth Dutson and Annette Keylock. - Credit: Nigel Dutson

Joint owners of a temporarily online deli specialising in Belgian waffles and dietary-specific breakfast foods are hoping to open premises in Romford "as soon as possible".  

The Romford-based creators are "long-standing family friends" 48-year-old Ruth Dutson and 30-year-old Annette Keylock.  

Together they want to build their business in Romford so that they, their friends, family and the community can "benefit" from it.  

Both mothers to three children, it is their shared "passion for good food" that has led to the creation of Jemima's Deli, named after Ruth's daughter.  

The duo's planning application in Gidea Park was refused back in September 2020, and instead they recently began selling online to select Romford postcodes.

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Annette and Ruth continue to search for a space that has a "large kitchen" so they can fulfil their aim of being able to offer residents a “variety of food options”.  

Ruth said: "Our slogan of 'eat well, eat different, eat together', embodies everything that we aim to do.  

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"Everyone is unique and eating together is a huge part of the community and social life and we want to offer a way of doing that.  

"Via our website we're restricted, but this is what we will be able to do in our café."  

Ruth, who has type one diabetes, is passionate about "creating recipes that are low carb", while Annette has a "sweet tooth" and enjoys baking cakes and pastries.  

Together they have created something "delicious for everyone" to eat no matter what their dietary requirements, they say.  

Plain Belgian waffles

The authentic Belgian waffles made with yeast-raised dough and caramelised pearl sugar. - Credit: Dan Keylock

The duo's USP - unique selling point - includes "gluten-free fresh goods" and Belgian Liège waffles, which the pair were taught to make when visiting Brussels for the weekend by the "top guys" Éric and Bénédicte Michaux.  

Ruth claimed: "The waffles are made of a dough that rises and is encrusted in sugar, so you can pick it up as you would a croissant.  

"Ninety per cent of places in the UK don't do this, you can buy them from the supermarkets wrapped in plastic but you can't buy them fresh.  

"In our café, we want to sell and be one of the first to have this." 

Alongside sweet treats, the deli also sells gluten-free “fresh goods” which Ruth said is hard to find in cafés.  

She said: “We want to offer something in our locality where even if you require a specific diet, you can still eat together”.  

The friends’ “realisation” that as a result of Covid more people would be working from home sparked their certainty that Romford would be the ideal place to open the deli.  

Ruth said: "We feel that where people aren't commuting to work as much anymore, there is a need to offer a taste of something different for those who used to go to the city all of the time.”  

Opening the café as a deli will allow it to sell food and products such as hams, cheeses and granolas.  

Granola in its packaging

Jemima's four granolas can be ordered online for Saturday delivery. - Credit: Nigel Dutson

Four granola types are already on sale through Jemima's Deli online with a “variety of sugar contents” to allow diabetic people to enjoy breakfast “without the worry of high sugar content”.  

Ruth has also had two of the granolas certified as gluten-free so people following specific diets have "options" allowing them to eat with friends and family.  

“I really struggle to find anything that I can eat in a café that isn’t carb-based,” said Ruth, who said that even when ordering a salad from most cafes it will be “filled with pasta or rice”.

She said: “I am happy to inject insulin for a delicious cinnamon roll but for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it becomes wearing to have to do it all of the time, so from my perspective, I’m wanting to bring an alternative."

While continuing to search for an empty unit, Jemima's Deli will keep selling online and delivering every weekend. 


a box of four cinnamon rolls topped with a cream cheese icing

Sweet treats also include a box of four "sweet and sticky" cinnamon rolls "topped with cream cheese icing". - Credit: Nigel Dutson

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