Cooking classes, kids area and samples galore; Sessions for professionals, too
CHICAGO, Apr. 8, 2011 – To spare those on special diets another day of hockey-puck provisions, the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo (www.gfafexpo.com), April 29 through May 1, is bringing the nation’s leading chefs, best-selling cookbook authors, and highly regarded nutrition and health experts to Chicagoland to help people learn how to prepare healthy, tasty meals and baked goods without gluten and some of the most common allergens.
Open to the general public, the event features separate full-day sessions of classes for beginners and more experienced amateur chefs, as well as a vendor fair where attendees will meet and sample among more than 70 gluten-free companies, under one roof. A portion of the event proceeds will benefit the Gluten Intolerance Group of Greater Chicago. All of the vendors are 100 percent gluten free; many also will showcase products free of the top eight allergens: milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat. The Expo will include a dedicated area up front featuring nut-free products.
“Living on a restricted doesn’t have to mean living without the joy of cooking, baking and eating foods that look and taste great,” said Jen Cafferty, mother of two and founder of the Gluten Free Expo, now the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo. “There is nothing like this in Chicagoland – a place where individuals, parents and others can spend from a few hours to a full day sampling hundreds of products, and discovering that special dietary needs and cookies that taste like cardboard are not synonymous.”
About 1 in every 133 people has celiac disease, a condition in which the body cannot tolerate gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and commercially available oats. More than 300 symptoms ranging from digestive issues to depression are linked to celiac disease, and more than 95 percent of people who have it are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, according to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. A gluten-free diet is essential for those with celiac disease, which many sufferers erroneously believe or have been told by medical professionals is irritable bowel syndrome or lactose intolerance. In addition, many families with autistic children are reporting a reduction in their children’s symptoms with a gluten-free diet. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that an average of 1 in 110 U.S. children has an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The Gluten & Allergen Free Expo Vendor Fair will be held daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday through Sunday, April 29 to May 1, at The Wyndham Hotel, 3000 Warrenville Road, Lisle, Ill. The cost to attend the Vendor Fair is $15 at the door, or $11.50 in advance, online at www.gfafexpo.com. Admission to the fair is free for kids under 12. Each ticket also includes access to an allergen-free arts and crafts area for kids, and staged presentations, such as: how to make gluten-free Chicago-style pizza; how to throw an allergen free party for kids and families; exercises to aid digestion; dessert recipes; Dairy and Gluten Free 101; and a special session to teach kids how to make allergen-free bagels. Seating is limited. Visit the website for additional information and to view the complete schedule.
Gluten & Allergen Free Expo cooking classes for the general public also will be held at The Wyndham Hotel in Lisle, on Saturday and Sunday, April 30 & May 1, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. All recipes taught in class will be entirely gluten-free, and most will be dairy-free. While eggs and sugar will be used, replacement information will be provided. Some, but not many, demonstrations will include nuts, soy and other allergens. The cost for a full day of classes is $175 (Register at www.gfafexpo.com), including a gluten- and dairy-free lunch, gift bag, printed recipes and access to the vendor fair.
Special sessions during the Expo for professionals and culinary students include a 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Friday, April 29, food allergy training for those in the food service industry (Earn 2 American Culinary Federation Continuing Education Hours). Cost including access to the Vendor Fair is $75 for professionals and $35 for culinary students. In addition, a “Gluten Free 101 for Dietitians and Nutritionists,” lecture, discussion and cooking demonstration (Earn 2 CPE hours), will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. April 29, and costs $50.
To purchase tickets or obtain additional information, including presenters’ bios and the full schedule of classes and stage presentations for each day and track, visit www.gfafexpo.com
About the Expo:
The Gluten & Allergen Free Expo was founded in 2007 by Jen Cafferty, a nationally recognized gluten-free expert, author of the award-winning www.gfreelife.com, and mom on a mission to help others following a gluten-free (GF) diet learn delicious, nutritious and convenient ways to live a happy and healthy GF life. Active in the Chicago GF community, Cafferty is the Branch Manager for The Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) of Greater Chicago, which comprises four chapters.
Author Information: Jen Cafferty, Chicago, IL
Jen Cafferty, Founder, The Gluten Free Cooking Expo
Websites: www.gfreelife.com, www.glutenfreeclasses.com