That’s me. Freaking out over the deliciousness of a gluten-free arancino (ragu stuffed Italian rice ball) I just made in Certaldo, Italy. I’m living the life here….a week in the beautiful Tuscan countryside at a gorgeous villa being taught by Judy at Divina Cucina on how to make my favorite Italian dishes without gluten.

1996. THE DIE IS CAST. I type (on a typewriter) a letter to Mario Batali (that I have never mailed) telling him I want to cook, eat and live in Italy. I’m about the graduate from college and throw my degree out the window to become a chef. Fate had slightly other plans for me though and I moved to Los Angeles and night school to get my culinary arts degree….always plotting my way to living in Italy.

1997-2002. I eat my way through Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and Belize…but I’m hungry for more….so I move to Italy in 2003 with my husband to cook professionally and live “La Dolce Vita.”

gf-food-crawl-jen-olive2011. ENTER GLUTEN-FREE LIVING. I’m back in the United States at the point and now have a two year-old son. He and I are both having terrible digestive issues and unpleasant reactions to food. We’ve gone from doctor to doctor without finding help. Finally, I am diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism, and autoimmune thyroid condition that requires I go completely gluten-free for life – so what’s a chef who eats EVERYTHING to do?

I take my nutrition specialty, culinary degree and transformational coaching training, and become a holistic health expert, thyroid & autoimmune specialist, coach and author.

Fast forward to 2016 when I decided I would again enter the world of food and degustation. This time, I’d seek out the best places to eat if you follow a gluten-free diet. I realized that many people are intimidated to travel and enjoy life fully because of special diets but you don’t have to be one of them.

The world is truly your oyster (as they say!)….unless you’re allergic to oysters, of course! 😉 But then I’d say, the world is where you can have your gluten-free cake and eat it too! Hee hee…ok, enough with the dorky puns. Ignore those. Instead, join me on my gluten-free culinary adventures across the globe as I discover what great chefs and home cooks are preparing…and see how rich life can be! xo Jen