If ever there were a sweet story to illustrate the adage that necessity is the mother of invention, then Kyra Bussanich's is it.
Following a severe battle for her health at age 20, and a conversion to eating gluten-free, Kyra graduated with honors from Le Cordon Bleu and opened her award-winning gluten-free bakery Kyra’s Bake Shop, formerly Crave Bake Shop, in Lake Oswego, Oregon, just south of food savvy Portland. "Gluten-free, deliciously" became her motto, and she quickly became a sweet sensation, picking up national media attention as a “must see" food stop in Portland. With the nation's obsession with cupcakes and cooking shows in full frenzy, Kyra was invited on the Food Network's popular hit show "Cupcake Wars" in 2010, and appeared two more times, beating out "regular" bakers with her exclusively gluten-free recipes while garnering glowing reviews from judges who believed it impossible to get such flavor in a gluten-free dessert.
"I knew what it’s like to sit aside at birthday parties or Thanksgiving dinner and not be included in the celebration because of a gluten allergy," said Krya. "And no one wanted to eat the gluten-free cake because they didn't think it would taste as good."
Like pioneers before her, Kyra's persistence and commitment to those with similar dietary restrictions paid off. Gone are the days where gluten-free means wrinkled up noses. These days, it's a commonly accepted lifestyle and Kyra delivers quality and flavor every day, using only the best ingredients such as sweet cream butter, real vanilla, Belgian chocolate, and her own blends of gluten-free flours. So good are her treats, even the Golden Globes has asked Krya to bake pastries for the annual award show this month. Now that's some flour power!
Can't get to Oregon and or the Golden Globes?
Order from the website and she'll ship directly to you. Or try baking your own cupcakes using her new book, Sweet Cravings: 50 Seductive Desserts For A Gluten Free Lifestyle, filled with sinful recipes and gorgeous photos.
The Foodie 5
1. What is your favorite food memory from childhood?
When I was five or six, I used to wait for the school bus at my neighbor’s house. My mom had to be at work super early in the morning and so Jim and Sylvia offered to watch me. Jim loved to bake his own bread, and there would often be a loaf just about the come out of the oven as I arrived, sleepy and hungry. I loved watching Jim pour melted butter over the top of the bread for the last few minutes of baking, and then waiting while he sliced a thick slab and spread yet more butter on it for my breakfast.
2. You’re moving to a new kitchen in five minutes and can only take one gadget along with you. What do you grab and why?
A rubber spatula. Unquestionably, this is the tool I use most often. It’s not sexy, but it's so versatile.
3. No one’s looking. What is your secret food fetish?
I love what I call “Pig Candy,” which is bacon dusted with brown sugar before baking and caramelizing in the oven.
4. Congratulations, you have carte blanche to dine in any city or country in the world! Where would you go and why?
Cinque Terre, Italy. I love the Italian culture and the way they eat, as much as the food itself, most of which is fairly simple and freshly prepared.
5. If someone is visiting Portland for the first time, where do you send him to eat, and what do you recommend he order?
We are very lucky in this city, surrounded by delicious food. I love Departure (on the top floor of the gorgeous Nines Hotel) for delicious Asian fusion food, and the Executive Chef is a friend of mine, and immensely talented; Andina for upscale Peruvian food and awesome habanero passion fruit martinis; Toro Bravo for Spanish Tapas, and of course the food carts are a must. Some of my favorite carts are Whole Bowl, The Cultured Caveman (chicken fingers fried in beef tallow!) and Potato Champion.
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