‘Next Local TV Chef’ winner solves Thanksgiving gluten problem

Greensgrow Farms is hosting a gluten-free Thanksgiving workshop on Nov. 9.

Laura Hahn, a “Next Local TV Chef” competition winner in 2012, decided to do something about not being to eat some of the Thanksgiving meal due to her gluten intolerance.

The solution is a workshop hosted by Hahn at Greensgrow Farms on Saturday, Nov. 9, which will focus on gluten-free sides for the holiday meal.

The workshop, “Undercover Gluten-Free Workshop: Thanksgiving Sides,” aims to provide those who cannot eat dishes with gluten an option, as well as make the dishes enjoyable so the rest of the table will also take a serving.

Throughout the year, the farm hosts a variety of workshops. It focuses on teaching everything from cheesemaking to beekeeping and pickling.

“Our workshops tend to be popular, but we still have to keep on our toes when it comes to planning and keeping our ears to the ground about what the hot food topics are for the season,” Bradford Bucknum, Greensgrow’s community kitchen food manager, said.

Bucknum said some of the most popular workshops have been on butchering, cheesemaking and fermentation.

This workshop will demonstrate the basics of gluten-free cooking in a variety of vegetarian dishes. Greensgrow also works to include ingredients from its farm in the workshops when seasonally possible. Hahn is going to prepare Thanksgiving-inspired recipes, including roasted apple and sweet potato canapés, rice stuffing and rum walnut cake.

Hahn said her own dietary restrictions inspire her cooking and the dishes for this workshop.

“Shortly before the [‘Next Local TV Chef’] competition, I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance after a year of illness and a number of health complications that was first discovered while on a deployment in Iraq for the American Red Cross,” Hahn said.

Since then, Hahn has created a blog to share her recipes, began a restaurant consulting company, started a gluten-free food tour and hosted an online cooking show, along with now leading this workshop.

“I develop all of my own recipes for my blog, articles and classes,” Hahn said. “I find inspiration by things that I miss and that I know others do, too. I try to recreate things in a way that anyone would find easy to do.”

Greensgrow Farms also sees the importance of providing the public with gluten-free cooking techniques and recipes.

“Our hope is that by hosting a gluten-free workshop we can not only address current interests in food production, but also provide a place for folks whose dietary worlds have been turned upside down due to a gluten allergy or sensitivity,” Bucknum said. “Workshops are not only important to the general community spirit of Greensgrow’s work in the neighborhood and city, but they also help to support our Community Kitchen.”

Sarae Gdovin can be reached at sarae.gdovin@temple.edu.

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