Prior to September 19, 2008, I would not have put Gluten free and Culinary Summit in the same sentence. However, this meeting in Providence, Rhode Island made a believer out of this Registered Dietitian. It was a three day summit given by some of the best chefs in the area. These professionals ranged from the having positions at health resorts to restaurants. Some, like Chef Betti, of Canyon Ranch learned to cook gluten free to satisfy the health concerns of his guests. Others, like Robert Landolphi, learned to cook gluten free because of a family member. Chef Landolphi describes his experience when he and his new bride purchased a bakery. The had both just graduated from Johnson and Wales University. His wife, who worked side by side with him in their bakery, became increasingly ill. After a few years of mysterious and mounting health problems, she was near paralysis. She was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. They sold the bakery! Chef Robert made it his personal mission to create and perfect gluten free recipes. A special concern was their big Italian food centered celebrations.
Dean Lavornia is an Associate Professor at Johnson and Wales Univ. and was featured in a PBS series, “Master Class at Johnson and Wales.” His Honey Pecan Tart with Gingerbread Crust was outstanding. Joel Schaefer and his wife, Mary, work at Walt Disney Work Resort in Orlando, Fla. His empahsis at Disney was on making gluten free versions of dishes familiar to Disney guests. His presentation was on dumplings and stew.
No gluten free summit would be complete without Carol Fenster. She is past master of gluten free bread baking. In addition to her basic books on gluten free baking she has just published “One Thousand Gluten Free Recipes.” Her book, “Gluten Free Quick and Easy” was available for review. It not only contains recipes which are quick and simple but provides the brand names of ingredients that might possibly contain hidden gluten. Carol was gracious in answering all questions and provided a wealth of enthusiasm and encouragement to would-be bakers. Her french baguette recipe and baking hints made it seem like a child could do it!
Lori Sobelson addressed the myriad types of flours available from Bob’s Red Mill Co. which was one of the summit sponsors. On display were samples of all the alternative flours that the company produces. Kettle Cuisine provided delicious soups for lunch.
Over all the conference was jam packed with practical information and resources for making recipes so good that you would never miss the gluten!