Recipe Rehab’s Chef Vikki Krinsky Talks to FARE About Cooking with Food Allergies

RR8525_STILL_08In this weekend’s special food allergy episode of the CBS morning show, “Recipe Rehab,” Chef Vikki Krinsky will attempt to make the Savant family’s carrot cake recipe healthier and safe for two children who have multiple food allergies. She’ll go head-to-head with another chef to see which made-over recipe is the family’s favorite. Check local listings to see when the program is airing in your city.

We recently caught up with Chef Vikki to talk to her about how she became a chef, her experience working with families managing food allergies, and her tips for creating nutritious and delicious meals!

Tell us about yourself and how you became a chef.

I am a private chef in Los Angeles, and my approach and theory is all about balance and portion-based meals that limit certain foods but don’t completely eliminate them. This way of living allows us to maintain a healthy lifestyle while managing our cravings, which we all have!

Formerly an actress, I was discovered at the age of 16 and worked on a couple television series, including “Edgemont” in Canada and Lifetime’s “Wild Card” here in the U.S.

At a pivotal moment in my teenage career, I was told to lose weight. Initially disheartened, I picked myself up and had a revelation – I would put aside acting and focus on educating myself on the benefits of healthy eating. I booked a one-way trip to Europe with a debit card, a week’s worth of clothes, and two books on nutrition. On my second day in Paris, a local chef took me under his wing and within a month I was apprenticing throughout Europe. With a new-found passion and knowledge, I returned to the U.S. in search of a kitchen. Good fortune struck again and I found a part-time job with a private chef service in Beverly Hills. Long nights of self-taught technique and hard work, coupled with great mentors in my life, eventually I learned the art of cooking delicious and nutritious food. I have been working exclusively with Seth MacFarlane for several years and wake up smiling everyday because I love my job!

I am lucky enough to be starring on Everyday Health’s Emmy-nominated show “Recipe Rehab,” where I share my passion by leaning on my own personal experience to improve the health, happiness and body image of my clients with fans every Saturday morning on CBS stations.

Tell us about the experience cooking for the Savant family.

As a nutrition-based chef I really enjoyed working with the Savant family because the challenge in finding alternative ways to create delicious classic favorites is both exciting and satisfying. I see it as a beautiful opportunity to help motivate and encourage others to live a healthier lifestyle through their food choices.

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When you have a client with a food allergy, how do you make sure they are getting the nutrition they need, while also avoiding the foods to which they’re allergic? What advice do you have for families in avoiding nutritional pitfalls?

There are unlimited ways to get the proper nutrition, but it is very important to educate yourself on how. For me, I enjoy reading an array of articles based on my client’s food allergy, so my wheels are always turning. My advice is to use this opportunity to educate yourself and be creative in the kitchen. Don’t look at it like what you can’t eat but rather what you can and enjoy the creative process.

Preventing cross-contact in the kitchen is crucial to making safe meals. What is the best way to keep your home kitchen safe? 

Honestly, I think it’s a lifelong investment to buy multiple sets of equipment. To be very aware of use in the kitchen and creating food stations can also be very helpful.

Sometimes people with food allergies, especially kids, can get into a rut with eating the same safe foods all the time. What’s a way they can jazz up some of their staple snacks and meals?

A great way to jazz up snacks and meals is by using different techniques. For example: pureeing carrots, steaming carrots, chopping carrots, eating carrots raw. There are a million things to do with carrots; it’s fun coming up with different ways to eat them. Think outside the box! Another great option to jazz up staples is to find alternative ways to play with your food – celery stalks filled with hummus or other vegetable purees, lettuce leaves filled with ground chicken, bell peppers or tomatoes filled with brown rice and crumbled feta cheese. Using vegetables and fruits to fill up with your favorite ingredients can make eating veggies so much more enjoyable!

Thanks to Chef Vikki for this great information, and we look forward to seeing which chef wins the challenge on the show this weekend!

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