In this month’s GlutenFreeFind.com “Ask the Expert” feature, we’re thrilled to learn from gluten-free and clean eating culinary expert extraordinaire Amie Valpone, as she thoughtfully answers our question, “What’s your best tip for anyone who wants to improve their cooking?” Read on to see what Amie has to say!
Amie Valpone, HHC, AADP is a Manhattan based Personal Chef, Culinary Nutritionist, Professional Recipe Developer and Food Writer specializing in simple gluten-free ‘Clean’ recipes for the home cook. Amie is the Editor-in-Chief of The Healthy Apple, and the Publisher and Marketing Director of the online gluten-free magazine, Easy Eats. Amie also contributes to GlutenFreeFind.com‘s Recipe of the Week, and many publications.
GFF: When and how did your passion for food start?
AV: My health has led me to the greatest food ever – I suffered for 6 years of my life with chronic pain and visiting every doctor under the sun until I finally learned what was going on in my body. I focus on and eat Clean, whole foods because my numerous food intolerances and sensitivities have led me to discover creativity in my kitchen each and everyday. This is what inspired me to start my blog -TheHealthyApple.com – helping others in the same boat as me to realize that there is flavor beyond sugar and processed, packaged foods – and there is a delicious life beyond food intolerances. Now I am living my dream – working with families in Manhattan and country-wide performing pantry makeovers, food store tours and one-on-one personal chef work – sharing with them the great taste and natural sweetness of real, wholesome unprocessed foods.
GFF: Do you have a specific cooking style or philosophy?
AV: Yes, I only work with quality, clean food. I don’t aim to wow you with numerous different gourmet meals. I keep it simple and basic, with a focus on the natural sweetness of real food, with my creativity going into the healthy, homemade condiments and sauces that highlight the meals flavors.
GFF: What’s your favorite restaurant, and why?
AV: I can’t really eat out at restaurants yet due to my food intolerances and sensitivities, however when I do eat out – it’s at one of the beautiful Whole Foods Markets here in Manhattan. My friends and I make dates and eat there or have a picnic in Central Park. It’s my ideal meal – Clean and fresh.
GFF: What’s your favorite holiday from a food perspective?
AV: Thanksgiving. It’s such a cozy holiday; it comes down to feeding my family and friends, gathering us all together. I cook to connect with people rather than to impress them – it makes the experience authentic and more meaningful.
GFF: What’s your best tip for anyone who wants to improve their cooking?
AV: Start eating to live, not living to eat, and learn to embrace simple, Clean, whole foods that will give you energy and keep you satisfied for longer. Move away from the diet mentality and eat what your body wants, not what someone else’s plan entails, as that only brings you farther away from what you will truly enjoy cooking and eating day in-and day out. It’s about being true to yourself and listening to what your taste buds are yearning for – whether it’s brussels sprouts or whole grain pizza. I tell my clients to start with their food processor – make a simple salsa, guacamole and hummus for the week to use on salads, pastas, pizzas, grains, eggs and proteins such as fish, chicken and tofu. A touch of fresh herbs go a long way in any of these 3 simple condiments.