Life can be funny, man!
I recently put a “Hey, I’m moving on!” notice up here, as it’s been well over a month since my last post and even that wasn’t a recipe. Many bloggers I know take pause or stop blogging when they have babies; I’m raising a growing writing career which has shifted in the past few years from writing about fictional people to writing about real ones.
I’ve now profiled around 150 chefs internationally for various avenues (columns on Serious Eats, Tasting Table, and Easy Eats Magazine, stuff on Imagista and in Plate Magazine, and ghostwriting for chefs). I’m currently in the beginning stages of my first book; a collection of first-person essays from some of my favorite chefs in my home city. I jump between projects and editors and ideas, and I love my fiercely independent freelance lifestyle, pulling it all together on WordsFoodArt.com.
There are only so many hours in the day and I’m filling them with work I love, leaving little time to be hyper-aware of the photos of food I’m taking or making sure I jot down each and everything I bake (that typed with love and thanks to those who have read this blog over the years). Lyme symptoms also make balancing work and my body a little tough, so my workable hours are reduced as well
But then there’s this dude up there. The chef in a black coat looking up at me with puppy dog eyes at the first (and last) pastry competition (for a good cause!) I entered a few years ago. My Holiday in a Hand Pie won two of the four awards; it was gluten and dairy free, so I was shocked. I had no idea who chef Johnny Iuzzini was when I met him, nor the famous restaurant he worked at, the TV show he hosted, or the James Beard award he’d won.
‘Cause I was lame like that.
Johnny has his second book, Sugar Rush, coming out at the end of September, and the other night at a recent event he showed me a galley of it. The dude has written a really lovely, loving paragraph about a little dusty baker he met at a pastry competition, and adapted one of my gluten-free recipes for the better in it. I got teary-eyed. He’s a big deal. A huge talent with a gigantic heart underneath his bad boy, Ducati-riding exterior.
“Shit,” I thought. “I’d better start baking again.”
So, shortly, I’ll pull together my work with chefs and the gluten-free lifestyle I’ve lived with for two decades now in adaptations of some of my favorite chefs’ recipes, cleaned up so that people like I can eat them. I can’t eat the food of most pastry chefs I’ve worked with; Johnny is pushing me to bring my worlds closer together. When I post recipes here I’ll be linking them to full versions of interviews with the chefs on my site (most of which I haven’t published before), timed out with their book launches and restaurant openings when applicable.
So, starting in September, expect some fun stuff from the books and minds of chefs Stephen Collucci, Thiago Silva, Brooks Headley, Joe Murphy, Tracy Oblosky, and a few more once I think about this more seriously. I haven’t asked some of them yet, but if I’ve learned anything about working with chefs it’s that they’re extremely generous with their time and talent. And for some reason they seem to trust me.
And, of course, when Johnny’s book comes out I hope to have ready the eclair recipe he shared the other night.
Stay tuned. And meanwhile explore some old but fun stuff, like Milk Bar Mondays or Holiday recipes or the dairy-free coconut creme brûlée recipe that’s been a hit on here so long that I think I need to have another go at it and make it even better.
Rock out, – Jacqueline