JPE_6670_webI graduated from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY, where I earned a Bachelors of Professional Studies in Baking and Pastry Arts. It was only 6 months after entering CIA that I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. While this seemed painfully ironic at the time, it was really a blessing in disguise because it allowed me to immerse myself into the science and art of gluten-free baking.

At school, I spent my days surrounded by beautifully baked goods that I knew I could no longer eat.  I drove to local grocery and health food stores in search of gluten-free foods that could subdue my cravings only to find a lackluster selection of baked goods. Like many others on this same search, I was dissatisfied with the dry crumbly products that populated the market.

After many failed trips to the grocery store I became determined to create my own gluten-free foods that were just as good as their original glutenous version. I realized that in order to remove something as fundamental as gluten from baked goods I would need to use my education and surrounding to gain a detailed understanding of how all ingredients work together.  There was no better place to learn this than CIA. As I started studying ingredients and writing my own recipes my determination morphed into an obsession.  When I created a recipe that had potential I would bring it to one of my CIA chefs for critiquing. This process of studying, testing, and gathering feed back helped me understand gluten-free baking and it was then that I created the foundation to what became some of my best recipes.

Since my time at CIA I have continued to develop new gluten-free products and never plan on stopping. I enjoy letting people try things I bake and tell them after that it is gluten-free in hopes of hearing an unbiased answer.  After many years of research and development I have created products that are just as good, if not better, than their glutenous version.

Eat Well,
Jessica Smith