May 19, 2020
Travel Gluten Free Podcast
Gluten Free Camping with Erika Lenkert from GFF Magazine
In this episode, we dive into the San Francisco foodie scene, why San Francisco is a culinary hotspot, eating gluten-free foods in the Greek Isles, the fantastic gluten-free food in Barcelona, Spain. We also chat about European gluten-free travel, gluten-free France, her experience in Italy with dedicated gluten-free restaurants, and gluten-free Tiramisu.
Gluten Free Camping and COVID-19 Travel
While many vacation types and trips are off the plate due to the spread of COVID-19, camping is still an activity we can enjoy! Getting into the great outdoors, away from others while camping is the perfect combination of social distancing and having an excellent outdoor adventure all in the same experience.
Erika’s Introduction to Food
Being raised in San Francisco, Erika has been in the middle of the foodie scene from the very beginning. Her mother was a foodie and took her to restaurants, cooking classes, and the hole-in-the-wall places, exposing her to a broad array of different types of ethnic cuisines and better ingredients. “My friends would tease me as they wanted to come to my house because I had the best food.”
The first food item she learned to make before she was gluten-free is garlic bread that she admits is a very “San Francisco food.”
Erika is an admitted cravings person when she wants something, she wants it a lot! As a teenager, she wanted eggs benedict when she came home, so that was the first food she learned how to make.
“Ever since the gold rush, San Francisco has been in the middle of the food scene. They all missed the food at home. Many people didn’t make it rich from gold, but many made their riches from restaurants serving that food from home.” She enjoys being a resident of the area as a rich restaurant heritage from the old west days. Erika also loves the food scene in San Francisco because the chefs are so passionate about the culinary scene.
Her Start in Travel Writing
Her first gig was writing about San Francisco restaurants for Time Magazine in New York. She then “fell into” writing for the Frommer’s Guide to San Francisco, then California, for over a decade. “Having a local write your guide is important.”
After Frommer’s, she sidetracked with a friend writing in themed entertainment in LA. She worked on a Star Trek project with him producing this project. Additionally, Erika started knocking on magazines in the Los Angeles area and found work there. She then continued writing about food back in San Francisco, writing for several national magazines. “I think my passion for all of those things came together and afforded me a lot of exceptional opportunities that I was fortunate to have.”
Finding a Niche for Her Gluten Free Magazine
Being a food critic and an eater, not a snacker, and being blessed with a good metabolism. In the year 2000, everything changed for her. Being in her early 30’s, with a stressful job, Erika realized her body was changing. She went from eating what she wanted to eat to gain 15 pounds, couldn’t fit into her clothes, and her skin and nails were in poor condition. With an elimination diet, she realized her sensitivity to gluten. While working in the food industry as a food critic, she heard much criticism about gluten-free food tasting terrible.
“I think I have this culmination of a desire to share with people what I knew to be true, which is, it’s very easy to eat fantastically well and enjoy everything that you want gluten-free if you know the right recipes and the right products.”
Along with her experience, and her realization that she didn’t have the creativity she desired from her work, Erika held a Kickstarter campaign to start her magazine, GFF magazine, Gluten Free Forever. She raised $94,000 and gathered people from around the world that were talented recipe developers, photographers, and writers, and focused on creating a magazine that was about outstanding eating.
Erika is a food writer, cookbook author, food critic and travel writer for such magazines as InStyle, Food & Wine, Travel & Leisure. Erika’s current food niche she is focusing on is currently the most significant trend in food - gluten-free farm to table. She started her own gluten-free publication when she realized that being gluten-free wasn’t the end of the world. Erika wanted to make gluten-free life better for others. “There was a better GF life out there than people knew about if they had the right information and products. I wanted to give that to people and was exasperated by the reputation of gluten-free being flavorless and with horrible texture.” Erika believes that great gluten-free baking is easy if you know what to do!
Special Offers from Erika!
Anyone who signs up for a subscription gets three free weeks access and can cancel anytime before your three week subscription expires.
Links and Resources Mentioned
Grab the Guide to Traveling Gluten Free
Get the BEST all-natural gluten-free travel cosmetics at Lemongrass Spa!
Visit my Travel Deals page on my website
Support Travel Gluten Free on Patreon
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