I have always loved food. Loved to cook. Loved to talk about food, think about food, read about food. You get the gist. Food + Me = Love! Recently, my relationship with food was challenged. My love turned to fear. This was the result of having one child diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies to peanuts, most tree nuts and sesame and another child diagnosed with celiac disease along with the same allergies. Shortly thereafter, I was diagnosed with celiac disease (my mom was too!). Looks like we’ve been living with these issues for years and had no idea!
Where life-threatening allergies are concerned, the only options are to refrain from eating those foods, educate, advocate and carry epinephrine. Shortly after my son’s diagnosis, I became a member of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network and utilized many of their incredible resources to wrap my arms around all of it. After educating my children and myself as much as possible, advocating for them in our community and their schools and witnessing the immediate health benefits of a gluten-free diet for my son (energy, growth, happiness), the fear lessened a little bit.
I started to get more creative in the kitchen. Instead of focusing on what we couldn’t eat, I focused on what we could. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and frightened over the impact these issues would have on my children throughout their lives, I felt empowered and responsible to show them how they would be able to live full, happy lives and love food despite their dietary restrictions.
We are a family of 5 and my husband and third son (yes, 3 boys!) do not have allergies or celiac disease. I try to keep things varied, healthy and delicious for all. My goal for the food I prepare is that it doesn’t ever taste like it’s missing anything.
What started as a quest to help my own family became a mission to raise awareness of these issues and help others as well. I enrolled in culinary school and set out to learn as much as I could about food, recipes and the realities of working in busy restaurant kitchens. It’s been an amazing ride. While at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City I wrote on their blog about my experiences as a culinary student with celiac disease, I earned the Nespresso Top Student Award and a prestigious scholarship with Les Dames d’Escoffier for innovation and entrepreneurship. Upon completing the culinary arts program at ICE, I received an internship opportunity in the test kitchen at Bon Appétit magazine.
After completing my internship, I worked as a test kitchen contributor at Bon Appétit where I tested and developed recipes for the magazine and website. I have also contributed to and been featured in several other publications and websites including Food & Wine, Westchester Family Magazine, She Knows Parenting, Epicurious, PopSugar, The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness and Food Allergy Research and Education. I am passionate about creating recipes and sharing resources for living well with food allergies and celiac disease.
Celiac and Allergy Friendly Epicurean is a blog I created to chronicle my journey and a space I use to share gluten-free and allergy-friendly recipes as well as some resources I have found helpful in and out of the kitchen. I hope you will be inspired to read these pages, cook some recipes and share you feedback, thoughts and comments with me.