It is one thing to consider yourself a judgemental person, it is a completely different game to be considered a judge by others. With great honor I took the role of judge in Rudi’s Gluten Free Recipe Contest a few months ago, and I must say it was more challenging that I imagined. Rudi’s sponsored a contest to create recipes using their products and the top three contestants were flown to Boulder, CO for an Iron Chef-style battle. Each contestant had a very personal connection to Celiac Disease, whether it was their own diagnosis or the careful preparation of food for a loved one, and these stories pulled on familiar heart-strings. This disease is still not readily diagnosed and I’m shocked that most doctors don’t think of Celiac out the outset of any treatment plan. Needless to say, the work the NFCA does to raise awareness is critical.
The cook-off was held at Restaurant 4580 in Boulder and Martin Hammer, the owner, was also a judge. Martin spoke at length about training his staff to not only smile and nod at requests for gluten free meals from patrons, but to actually engage customers. His approach is one I’d like to see all restaurants take: active, positive and scrumptious.
The winner of the competition, Annalyn Varalla Wills, is my special guest on this episode of Alternative Appetites. Annalyn spent the morning cooking with me and sharing her stories. I love a guest who’s ready to laugh with me on camera and Annalyn was just ripe for the occasion. Her winning recipe is easily adaptable to any season, something that earns high marks in my book. Make a tray now and throw it in the freezer, the next time you have guests over you’ll be thrilled to have a tantalizing dessert already prepared and ready to rock.