I’ve been around food and cooking my whole life, mostly heavy, German, and gluten-filled food at that.  If you’d asked me twenty or even five years ago what gluten-free meant, I would have been clueless.  If you had told me that last week I would be walking the floors of the National Restaurant Association 2012 Show, searching for the latest gluten-free products on the market, I would have looked at you like you were crazy.  If you had told me the following day I would be hosting a gluten-free recipe testing event at The Berghoff for the board members of the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center (of which I recently joined), I would have laughed.  As it turns out…all this is my life now.  Today the term gluten-free leaves my mouth countless times a day.

I have always strived to be constantly reinventing myself and my business; a lesson learned from my great-grandfather, Herman Berghoff.  I would have never guessed that it would come in the form of gluten-free world.  Cooking, eating, and living a gluten-free life came about after my middle daughter Sarah was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. While it has taken many years to educated and transform my life, I am thankful for this huge hurdle that was thrown at us.  My family is much healthier because of it, and it has provided me with a new expansion and outlet for my business.

After walking the NRA floors, I was thrilled to see just how much the food industry has also embraced this somewhat new gluten-free craze.  The products that are out there for restaurants, homes, and catering companies are exciting and growing each year.  I left the show feeling full and empowered to continue on my latest project: a gluten-free cookbook.  And just between you and me, I also left feeling like the recipes that I’ve created for this new cookbook would blow many of these products out of the water in taste, consistency and convenience.

The next night is when I was able to hold my own little booth and showcase some of the recipes in my new cookbook with my fellow University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center board members (I know it’s a mouthful).  Without giving all my secrets away, I can say they were greatly surprised and satisfied!  Below are some pictures of the gluten-free recipes we tested.  I know…they look just like normal food (and taste like it too).  It was the perfect push I needed to continue on this gluten-free journey and work towards finishing the cookbook.  My hope is that other families and individuals can benefit and learn from my journey, only quicker and in a more delicious way.  Back to the test kitchen for me!

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