I’m Olivia, or as my friends call me, Liv. I live in Jersey City, New Jersey. I was trained at The Culinary Institute of America. I work as a private chef, and do some free-lance recipe development and consulting. I’m currently available for hire, so contact me for more information. My first book, The Complete Guide to Naturally Gluten-Free Foods was published this past January, and my new book, The Gluten-Free Party Cookbook will be released this November!
In January of 2009, I found out from my doctors that I have Celiac Disease. Before my diagnosis, I had been suffering from severe iron deficiency anemia for 10 years. No one could figure out why. I was always fatigued and it affected my whole life. In those years I spent many afternoons in my doctor’s office hooked up to an IV receiving iron. I was scared and confused that no one could tell me why I was so sick and so exhausted. I never really suffered from the digestive symptoms most people have, and so I believe that is why I went undiagnosed for so long. Eventually, I found a great doctor with a hunch- I was tested, and it was confirmed that I have Celiac Disease.
For most people, it’s hard to wrap their head around the idea of no gluten- ever- for the rest of their life. For me, it was almost inconceivable. Food is my thing, my livelihood, my only vice! As a rule, I tried to never deny myself of anything when it came to food. At the same time though, I felt so relieved to know the reason I was sick. I was already cooking gluten-free for a client of mine at the time, and I knew that I could still eat delicious foods- and plenty of them. And so my new adventure began.
Since the diagnosis, I’ve been living the frustrations of cravings and the obstacles of dining out (yes, even as a chef and former restaurant manager it can sometimes be frustrating to explain to a server that you cannot have gluten.) I’ve been expanding my repertoire of gluten-free recipes, and trying them out on everyone I know. Here, I will share it all with you. My hope is that you will find my approach to food accessible for you- I am a chef, but I’m a real girl in quarter-life. I don’t build fancy towers with food, like you I have a budget when I shop at home, and when I’m entertaining I’d prefer to spend time enjoying my guests and not hovering over the stove. These recipes are easy and delicious and I hope you will try them in your own kitchen.