About Chef at Heart


My name is Jennifer. I’m a chef, runner, wife and mother of two teenage girls.  

Going Gluten-Free

About 12 years ago, medical issues dictated I begin a gluten-free diet. I was devastated. I had just finished culinary school and established my own personal chef business (not catering to gluten-free clients). As a chef, this news meant a drastic change in my career, my life and my business at a time I was just finding my footing.

At first, I fought the change. I continued to cook for clients, tasting gluten food as I did, and even worked part-time in a restaurant where I constantly had to taste pasta dishes, pizzas, and all sorts of other foods I shouldn’t have been eating. Not surprisingly, I remained sick, I was in pain, and I gained about 30 lbs.

It was not smart, but I think I had to get worse to recognize I had no choice: I needed to get better.

Living Life in Balance

Eventually, I did switch my diet to gluten-free, hired a personal trainer to help drop the weight, and began a regular workout routine. After 12 weeks with my trainer, I was addicted to exercise and to feeling good.

Fast forward twelve years, I’m cooking and eating gluten-free, I’ve taken up running and I’m exercising regularly, and I’m a lot happier. Sure, I’ve struggled with my health off and on, but the changes I’ve made have landed me in a much healthier and happier place today.

Supporting Local & Quality Producers

Through this journey, I’ve realized a passion for supporting local businesses, and even more recently, for supporting local quality producers.

My grocery shopping and meal planning have changed along the way – something I’ll share here from time to time – with the bulk of our groceries now coming from a local small business or farm, and less from a big grocery store chain.

Driving to a farm or farmers market, picking up items directly from the farmer or producer and bringing them home knowing how they were grown and exactly where they came from, has provided me with a fresh inspiration for cooking.

The food I bring home and have on -hand each week to cook with now depends on what’s available and what’s in season, and has in turn increased the variety in our diet. Not to mention that bringing home fresh food at the peak of ripeness means you have to use it up in one way or another before it spoils, and that generates creativity in the kitchen.

I hope you will join me as I continue my journey, and that I can inspire you to find your own healthy balance in life, and bring you a fresh inspiration for cooking.