One of my favorite parts of blogging is getting the opportunity to interview chefs and cookbook authors. Recently I got the opportunity to chat with gluten-free chef Olivia Dupin. Olivia has had an amazing career cooking for celebrities and authoring two cookbooks. Here's what she had to say about going gluten-free, creating unique recipes, and life as a chef.
|The lovely Olivia Dupin|
How did you first become an author?
I was very lucky to have my wonderful literary agent reach out to me based on a referral from a colleague. She was absolutely fantastic, and helpful in every way, she walked me through the entire proposal process, and within 3 months I had a book deal with Fair Winds for my first book, The Complete Guide to Naturally Gluten-Free Foods.
What was the Seinfeld family’s favorite meal? How about Mark Teixiera?
I always respect my client's privacy, I never dish and tell! But you'd be surprised to learn that what clients most often request and enjoy is casual comfort foods, and homestyle meals done healthier, fresher. It's the kind of food they would prepare for their families themselves, if they had the time. Then when they entertained, I'd pull out all the stops... and the heavy cream! That's how I cook at home, too.
How do you come up with your recipes? What’s your process?
Well, I'm always thinking about food, so I have this running list of recipes I want to create in my head at all times. I could write 100 more cookbooks with that list!
The process of actually developing recipes is a little different for cooking vs. baking:
Baking is most often trial and error...and error...and error. It's tough to get g-free baked goods just right, especially when you won't settle for anything less than amazing. I still remember what gluten containing baked goods taste like, and I don't stop until my recipes taste so good that there's no deciphering them from "regular" baked goods. Some of the recipes in my books were tested 3 and 4 dozen times before I got them perfect.
Cooking savory dishes is more intuitive and natural for me. It's a matter of cooking by feeling, then translating that to a more precise format—a recipe that can be duplicated easily by a home cook.
What is your favorite thing to cook/bake?
I'm hardly ever making the same thing twice! But I'm obsessed with the Easy Vanilla Cupcakes from my newest book, Gluten-Free Entertaining. They mix up in one bowl, and they're the best vanilla cupcakes I've ever had—gluten-free or not. I'm ashamed to admit how many batches I've made at home "just because". I can't wait to share them!
What tips/tricks can you offer someone making the change to gluten-free?
The most practical and healthy way to eat gluten-free is focus on minimally processed, naturally gluten-free foods that you're already familiar with. If you base your diet on processed, packaged foods, you're doing a disservice to your taste buds and your overall health. Packaged g-free foods like bread, crackers, and cookies, are often super caloric and highly refined, with additives for taste and texture, and loaded with preservatives. The Complete Guide to Naturally Gluten-Free Foods walks you through how to eat gluten-free and never have to hunt for expensive gluten-free substitutes, instead focusing on whole foods and ingredients you can find in any grocery store.
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Olivia Dupin is a private chef, recipe developer, and consultant and is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. Since being diagnosed with celiac disease (gluten intolerance) in 2009, she has been committed to creating simple, delicious gluten-free recipes so that those with restrictions can still enjoy the foods they love.
Olivia has worked as a private chef to clients such as professional baseball player Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees and comedian and television star Jerry Seinfeld. She is also a consultant, recipe developer, and food stylist for Energy Kitchen Restaurants, a healthy restaurant franchise.
Olivia maintains a recipe blog for Energy Kitchens (www.energykitchen.com/live-healthy), which features healthy recipes under 500 calories, as well as her own blog dedicated to simple, home-style, gluten-free recipes at www.livglutenfree.com. She resides in Jersey City, NJ.
Pick up your copy of The Complete Guide to Naturally Gluten-Free Foods today! Gluten-Free Entertaining is available in October 2013. You can preorder a copy now.