Kendra Peterson: Allergen-Free Cooking
Kendra Peterson has a full plate. As a private chef, author, and consulting chef to Enjoy Life Foods — cooking healthy, high-quality food is part of her daily life. Kendra is all about clean and nutrient-dense foods, as she personally eats gluten-free and dairy-free and is widely recognized for accommodating clients with food allergies.
Kendra is no longer accepting new private clients, but lucky for us, she has put together a cookbook of her best recipes for every allergy called Drizzle Kitchen Favorites. You can keep up with Kendra on her website Drizzle Kitchen, follow her on Instagram, and check out her webinar, Eat Freely: Allergy-Free Cooking Tips From The Enjoy Life Chef.
Favorite Pantry Swaps for Allergy friendly and clean cooking:
I swap traditional All Purpose Flour with Enjoy Life Foods All Purpose Flour Blend + Guar Gum. Enjoy Life's All Purpose Flour Blend is free of the top eight allergens and is a fabulous 1:1 substitute for any recipe. I add 1/2 tsp of Guar Gum for each cup of flour.
My favorite cooking fats are really high-quality olive oil and coconut oil.
I swap Maldon sea salt flakes for traditional table salt when cooking but not baking.
I always keep almond butter, sunflower seed butter, coconut mana, Lundberg Farms Rice Thins, and chia seeds on hand. My favorite gluten-free snack is popcorn with nutritional yeast sprinkled on top; it sounds weird, but it is so good!
What Always lands In Your Grocery Cart:
Popcorn! Some sort of milk alternative—right now I love almond milk but sometimes I buy hemp milk. Canyon Bakehouse bread that I keep in my freezer for sandwiches. Fresh fruit, spinach, coconut water, a chocolate bar, and eggs.
3 Things that Are Always In Your Fridge:
Eggs, spinach, and almond milk.
The One Thing You Haven't Found A Substitute For Yet:
Good butter flavor. You can substitute shortening or butter flavored shortening, but you really don't get the same flavor.
Favorite brands and products to recently hit the shelves:
Anything by Califia Farms especially their dairy-free creamers. Koia is a new juice brand I am loving. Any product with Matcha - I am starting to see it everywhere from dairy-free matcha lattes to cookies and ice creams.
Tips for Hosting Guests with food allergies or Specialized Diets:
I always tell people when they send out their invitations to ask their guests if they have any food allergies or restrictions. Create a menu where you can prepare things ahead of time, so you don't accidentally add an ingredient where you shouldn't in the flurry of entertaining. Some allergens, such as gluten, are very easy to accommodate across the entire menu without the other guests knowing their meal is gluten-free. Other allergens can be a bit trickier to avoid, but just be sure to tell your guests which dishes are safe for them to eat.
Advice for Being a Guest with a Food Allergy or Specialized Diet:
If you do have a food allergy, it is important to speak up before the event and offer to bring your own options. Someone who is hosting a dinner party wants all of their guests to be happy, so they would absolutely want to know ahead of time and accommodate your needs as much as possible.
Favorite Hometown Restaurant:
Chicago has a fantastic restaurant scene. For a special occasion I have to say Oriole. They were incredibly accommodating with a gluten-free menu—above and beyond amazing.
On date night Avec is my go-to; it’s very New York in feel, and their chef is knowledgeable and accommodating when it comes to gluten-free and dairy-free.
All-time Favorite Restaurant:
In Germany, there is this little restaurant an hour outside of Munich. It’s not pretentious or talked about, but it has two Michelin stars, and it is just delicious. Everything is local but not because it is trendy—that is just the way the food is sourced. We enjoyed freshly-picked wild strawberries and the most incredible hazelnut cake that just happened to be gluten-free.
Best places to travel with a food allergy:
United States: The entire state of California specifically SF and LA are fantastic. Denver is great, too.
International: Surprisingly almost anywhere in Italy. They are at the forefront of gluten-free food. I was at a resort on Ischia island off the coast of Naples, and their entire menu had a symbol system for all the potential allergens. Italy's gluten-free products are usually the tastiest; they have a more holistic approach to food and health. They don't see food allergies as an annoyance to work around but another way of eating.
Most challenging situation to eat allergen-free and best advice:
Weddings. I usually write on my response card “gluten allergy”, and when I sit down, I flag down the server for our table to remind them.
When I am headed to a cocktail party/holiday party, I usually eat something beforehand in case there are not any options for me. Typically amusement parks are TERRIBLE, but Disney World and Disney Land are the exceptions - they are amazing with food allergies!
You travel a ton, any Road Warrior tips:
I always travel with food. I will usually bring roasted veggies with quinoa or make a wrap. I bring something with sustenance because I have no idea what the airport will have to offer, and I can't survive on nuts and fruit. I always have fresh fruit and a chocolate bar in my bag along with an organic hand sanitizer spray that I use to wipe down my entire plane seat.
Best Instagram For Food Inspo:
Cookbook You Can't Live Without:
Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi
Favorite Celebrity Chef:
Sweet Or Salty:
Duck pate to start followed by Beef bourguignon with a crusty perfectly baked French baguette since it’s my last meal! My dessert would have to be chocolate pots de creme.