“I help people on a dietary lifestyle journey create joy and enthusiasm on the plate.”
I’m a chef, food stylist, event designer, and boutique caterer. Creating beautiful food has been my medium for self-expression, as well as my livelihood for 15 years as the owner of The Culinary Artist. After discovering that gluten sensitivity was the cause of my fibromyalgia, my life in food felt derailed. Relieved to finally have a variable I could control that immediately stopped my symptoms of pain and exhaustion, I was shocked that food could actually be the “enemy”. After my diagnosis I fulfilled the catering obligations on my calendar but sadly did not accept any more. I could no longer taste the dishes my customers were used to ordering from me. Fortunately, food styling and event planning opportunities continued to grow. But there was something else I had to do…
Passionate about the chemistry of how disparate ingredients transform into great dishes (or bad ones) and determined to eat great food, I set out to recreate my culinary repertoire, gluten and dairy free (lactose intolerance frequently accompanies gluten intolerance so I gave up all dairy products, as well). I did not want to just feed my family and fill their bellies, but rather satisfy and nurture them. Because within a few months of my own realization that food could heal just as easily as harm, the rest of my family of four realized the benefit and necessity of a gluten and dairy free lifestyle.
As I began to learn about the properties of the various gluten and dairy alternatives, I realized that cooking and baking in this new realm was even more exciting than before. There were mysteries to solve (what are xanthan gum and guar gum and how do they work?), problems to rectify (why do so many gluten free recipes create a dry crumbly product?), and miracles to create (like my signature triple chocolate espresso cookies, caramel nut tarts, ice cream, and whoopie pies not to mention all the savory stuff like sandwich bread, eggplant parmesan and pizza). Both my immediate gluten & dairy free (GFDF) family and our gluten and dairy loving extended family, friends and colleagues embraced my creations and found them just as good or better than their predecessors. This has become my barometer. My recipes must either taste as delicious as what they are replacing or be even better.
I don’t believe it was just chance that brought the opportunity to unravel the mysteries of allergen free cooking to me. The challenge to create beautiful food for a tasteful (gluten and dairy free) life was presented before me and it is my gift to discover and share with you.
If this is the tasteful life you want, you’re in the right place.
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The Culinary Artist. A division of Donna Hann Food Style LLC