Former Tech Startup Exec Brings Artisan Bread to Denver

Allison Declereq holding a loaf of bread

When it comes to sourcing ingredients for her fire-roasted breads, Colorado-based baker Allison Declereq’s philosophy can be summed up in three words: location, location, location. Locally-sourced grains and an emphasis on food’s power to connect communities is at the heart of her baking endeavor, Funky Flame.

Declereq, who runs the venture with her partner Colton Steiner, started her career working up the ranks in a tech startup, before switching paths to her true passion: baking. She later began honing her bread-making skills at various bakeries, eventually enrolling in the San Francisco Baking Institute, studying under the tutelage of classically-trained French instructors and making countless baguettes in the process.

steaming loaves of bread

A Detroit native, Declereq decided to relocate to Denver last April after living in San Francisco for nearly 10 years. The move brought a new set of baking opportunities (different ingredients and a new community to get to know) and challenges (baking in higher altitudes and shorter windows for good produce).

Her studies and collective baking experiences culminated in a thriving small business with a dedicated fan base of bread “nerds,” lovingly dubbed The Funky Fam. “I’ve kind of always known that I’d wanted to start something,” said Declereq. “I didn’t know what that exactly was going to be, but I just knew I loved feeding people and I love the community behind food.”

Allison Declereq shaping bread dough

As it would turn out, that love was mutual. Soon after Declereq began baking for friends, she had the idea to bring her bread to the public. “I wanted to feed and give back to the people around me,” she said. “It just seemed like, what’s one small thing that I can be doing in this overwhelming world that feels like we’re putting some good back?” In December of 2020, Funky Flame officially launched.

Until recently, the business operated as a bread subscription delivery service, supplying ochre loaves flavored with turmeric and roasted garlic, pepita crusted pumpkin walnut sourdough and rosy colored sweet potato beet boules from her portable pizza oven every week. Cooking in a wood-fired oven, she explained, enhances the natural warmth and earthiness imparted by the organic wheat varieties she specially sources.

turmeric poppy bread

Upon starting Funky Flame, Declereq decided to partner with the Colorado Grain Chain, a non-profit connecting consumers to locally-owned farms and millers growing heritage, ancient and locally-adapted grain – and often doing so in an environmentally-conscious fashion.

Declereq’s imaginative flavor combinations and dedication to sustainably sourced wheat has resulted in a truly unique product, one that is equally as delicious as it is visually striking. “I don’t think bread, just like any food, needs to fit in a really specific mold,” she said. “What excites me is [making] unique, different things and having you eat with your eyes first. That’s the inspiration behind a lot of the brighter colored loaves.”

AUTHOR

Kate Eplboim

Kate Eplboim is a travel and food writer. Over the last five years, she has cultivated her passion for travel, environmental journalism, and gardening. She is a native of Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter at @kate_eplboim.

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