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Chicago: Gluten and Allergen Free Expo Information for Participants

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The Gluten and Allergen Free Expo in 2012 will be held in Lombard, Illinois. To learn more about the 2013 Chicago Gluten and Allergen free Expo, visit our updated article. Lombard is in the Chicago Area. The 5th annual Gluten and Allergen Free Expo and Vendor Fair will take place the weekend of April 14-15, 2012. The Gluten and Allergen Free Expo is set to kick off at 10 am and end at 4 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. The 2012 Expo will conveniently take place at the beautiful Westin Hotel in Yorktown Center Shopping Mall, located at 70 Yorktown Center in Lombard, IL 60148.  This year’s Gluten and Allergen free Expo in Chicago will feature leading gluten and allergen free chefs, best-selling allergy cookbook authors, highly regarded celiac disease and allergy health care experts, and knowledgeable nutritionists. These experts will teach attendees in the celiac community and food allergy sufferers how to prepare healthy, tasty meals and baked goods without gluten or most common allergens.

A map of Westin Hotel in Lombard, IL

See the inset map of the Westin in Lombard for more details on the Hotel’s exact location and how to find directions. The fee for attendance at the Vendor Fair is $20 for adults and $5 for children ages 3-12.  Tickets will be available at the door. Kids will enjoy an allergen-free arts and crafts area and adults will view staged presentations related to gluten-free living.  Seating is limited, so get your tickets in advance if you plan to attend. The Gluten and Allergen Free Expo will host 100 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 gluten free and many will also 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.

Jen Cafferty, Founder of Gluten and Allergen Free Expo

Jen Cafferty

“Living on a restricted diet doesn’t have to mean living without the joy of cooking, baking and eating foods that look and taste great,” says Jen Cafferty, founder of the Gluten Free Expo, now the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo.

“There is nothing like this in the area – 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.”

Top Celebrities at the Chicago Gluten & Allergen Free Expo:

1. Cupcake Wars Top Chef

Kyra Bussinach at the Gluten and Allergen free Expo in Chicago.

Kyra Bussinach

Kyra Bussanich, The Dec 2011 Winner of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars is scheduled to attend the expo. Bussanich is a pastry chef from Lake Oswego, Oregon who graduated with honors from the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu patisserie program.

Bussanich claims this gave her a solid foundation in classical French baking techniques. She applies these techniques in her gluten-free desserts, available locally and for purchase online.

Bussanich opened Crave Bake Bake Shop at 460 Fifth St in Lake Oswego will be available for media interviews prior to the event. If you’d like to get a copy of Bussanich’s famous Champagne Cupcakes Recipe, visit Studio 6, where it has been posted for the public to view.

2. Chicago’s Centered Chef

Ryan Hutmacher

Chef Ryan Hutmacher, of Centered Chef, graduated from the Accelerated Culinary Arts Program at Kendall College in Chicago. He later earned world-class experience during his apprenticeship in France under the guidance of Chef Jean-Jacques Galliffet. This experience of cooking natural, regional ingredients molded Chef Ryan’s understanding of food and its implications on health.

Since founding Centered Chef, Chef Ryan has lost over 50 pounds.  It was this transformation, as well as a new-found awareness of food allergies, that stabilized his blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels without the need of conventional medicine. Chef Ryan also competes in triathlons and marathons, and recently completed an Ironman competition.

Chef Ryan is the founder and CEO of Centered Chef in the West Loop of Chicago.  It’s a state-of-the-art venue space that serves to “educate, entertain, and inspire” a balanced lifestyle.

To purchase tickets or obtain additional information, including bios of all Expo presenters and the full schedule of classes and stage presentations for each day and track, visit gfafexpo.com.

Cooking Classes are also Available at the Expo Again This Year

Attendees have the option to sign up for Gluten & Allergen Free Expo cooking classes at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center.  Participants can purchase sessions for part of the day or the whole day.  All cooking sessions have special themes focusing on one topic.  Classes include Italian and Asian Adventures, Healthy Living, Bread & Beyond and Blissful Baking.  All levels of gluten and allergen free cooks will learn something new.  All recipes taught in class will be entirely gluten-free, and most will be dairy-free.  Eggs and sugar will be used but replacement information will be provided.  Some, but not many, demonstrations will include nuts, soy and other allergens.  The cost per session is $90.00 and you can register online at gfafexpo.com (pre-registration is required to attend the classes). The fee includes the cooking class,  printed recipes and access to the vendor fair.

A Class for Dieticians and Nutritionists is Also Available

A special session, sponsored by Schar, will be held for dietitians and nutritionists.  The cost for the class will include access to the Vendor Fair.  More information about this class will follow shortly, please email info@gfafexpo.com for more information.

About the Gluten and Allergen Free Expo:

Jen Cafferty founded the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo in 2007. Cafferty is a nationally recognized gluten-free expert, author of the award-winning gfreelife.com, and mom on a mission to help others following a gluten-free diet learn how to prepare delicious foods that are nutritious and convenient.


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Healthy Family is an organic living website. It's mainly written by Caryn, a busy mom of 4. We talk about nutrition parenting, and education on Healthy Family. You'll find easy, family friendly organic recipes, all gluten and corn free. We offer shopping tips, craft ideas for kids, and product and book reviews, too. Caryn often talks about being a mom, honoring her Catholic faith and traditions, and the importance of eating healthy organic foods. Contact us if you'd like.