Amy Fothergill

Local chef Amy Fothergill shows off her new cookbook “The Warm Kitchen: Gluten-Free Recipes Anyone Can Make and Everyone Will Love.” Fothergill says she wanted to bring the warmth of her own kitchen to those living a gluten-free lifestyle by choice or necessity.

If you were told you had to go on a gluten-free diet, starting right now, you might think your days of appetizing meals were over.

Not so, says Half Moon Bay resident, chef, food blogger and author Amy Fothergill. To prove it, she need only point to her new cookbook, “The Warm Kitchen: Gluten-Free Recipes Anyone Can Make and Everyone Will Love.”

The recipes reflect not only Fothergill’s two-plus decades of cooking experience, but also the voice of one who has been there. Dealing with her and her children’s gluten sensitivities, she made a gluten-free diet her choice and hasn’t looked back since.

“My intention is to help somebody with what I went through personally,” she said. “I know I feel better. I wouldn’t do it any other way. My body told me.”

The title says it all about her new book (The Family Chef Publishing, 364 pages paperback, $26.95, stocked with mouth-watering color photos).

“It symbolizes the warmth from my kitchen and from my heart,” said Fothergill. “I hope people will feel both these things when they cook a recipe. I’m Italian — and, to me, food is much more than just cooking.”

She shows that in the more than 150 recipes under chapter headings of Breakfast and Brunch, Soups and Salads, Main Dishes, Grains and Side Dishes, Breads, Pizza and More, and Desserts and Treats.

Many of the chapters start off with “cooking lessons” in basic skills likely to come in handy when trying out each chapter’s recipes.

“You don’t just tell somebody to cook a chicken. You need to tell them how,” she said. Here and there you’ll also find definitions of cooking terms. Ever mulled over the difference between a basic white or a cream sauce? You’ll find the distinction here.

Fothergill trained at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and has worked in restaurants, catering, and health care food service for 10 years. She also worked as an instructor in curriculum development with Oracle. Then she put together “a perfect blend of my past careers” with Oracle and food service, by becoming a culinary instructor. She went on to teach cooking classes at Draeger’s Market and do cooking consultations and home and business cooking consultations.

But through it all, writing a cookbook was an idea long simmering in the back of her mind. “I always wanted to write a cookbook,” she said. A few years ago she made a commitment to do it, and chose her approach.

“I think I can help people more if it’s gluten-free,” she said.

After all, says a publicity statement for her book, more and more people are choosing a gluten-free lifestyle, many by necessity. So a cookbook filled with step-by-step instructions, family-friendly photos and cooking techniques, out in time for the holidays, was a good idea.

In addition, with the book, Fothergill demystifies gluten-free food to show that it is not dull or unappetizing. Check out the recipes for fresh breads, chicken pot pie, pancakes, doughnuts, chocolate chip cookies, carrot cake, cupcakes and more.

“When you open up ‘The Warm Kitchen,’ I want you to feel like you have come into my kitchen; the warmth comes from both the oven as well as my heart,” Fothergill says in a publicity statement.

“The Warm Kitchen” is available at Draeger’s Market in San Mateo, Menlo Park and Danville, and locally at Coastside Books and Toque Blanche. Fothergill will hold a book signing from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28, at Toque Blanche at 604 Main St. in Half Moon Bay. It can be reached at 726-2898.

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