Miami Living Magazine

Jennifer Esposito

Miami Living Magazine features the best Miami has to offer. Click on any magazine below and enjoy. You can download our free app on iTunes. Ideal for iPad and iPhone users.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 118 of 189

A parade of pastries, some of which are labeled gluten-free, tease us from the other side of the glass partition. Unfortunately, this Swedish Espresso bar's "gluten-free" goodies are not an option for Jennifer Esposito. "That's a gluten-free muffin for people who don't want to eat gluten," says Jennifer, who was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2009. It takes as little as an eighth of a teaspoon of gluten to make her sick –meaning, cause her bodily damage, induce a panic attack, and make her blood pressure drop so low that she wouldn't be able to walk out of here. She orders a hot beverage instead. Jennifer and I settle in at the counter by the window, so that we can soak up the sunshine streaming in on this cloudless May morning. The Brooklyn café –frequented by her boyfriend— is relatively quiet, and vacant, aside from the intermittent whir of the espresso machine. The diminutive actress is dressed in all-black —a distressed T-shirt, pants, and sneakers—complete with delicate gold jewelry. Her long tresses are swept up into a ponytail and topped with a baseball cap. At the time of our interview, Jennifer's life was receiving a thorough spring cleaning. Her inspiration? An article and documentary on minimalism. Ultimately, she wanted to find more space and time to enjoy life and the people around her. "I just think less stuff, more life. You can't let new things into your life, unless you empty out, and I just feel like it's time," she says breezily. Jennifer, who is based in New York, also thought it was time to downsize the number of accommodations she kept (she had three). "It was too many places, too many things. And, for me, especially the cooking aspect —I need to cook 'cause that's how I survive. Like, who needs three Vitamixs? 'Cause you can't take your Vitamix on the plane. I don't want three Vitamixs," she playfully wails. "I want one." Renovations to her home were in play, and she was selling and giving away the excess to charities. "I'm actually loving it. I wanna sell everything! It's like, Really? Don't sell everything, Jennifer. 'Cause I'll be like, OK, I've got two t-shirts and a pair of jeans." Not long ago, she tackled her bakery, Jennifer's Way Bakery, which went from grandma's-kitchen- nostalgia to a more "sparse atmosphere," so that the focus is on the "clean, pure, and simple" food she served up. The Jennifer's Way brand was birthed from necessity. When Jennifer discovered that she was no longer allowed to eat bread –one of her favorite things in the world—, she did not rest until she found out how to literally have her bread, cake, jelly donuts…and eat it, too. A life without the aforementioned was not an option. "I'm not the person you tell no. It's like a mouse in a maze and the mouse figures out how to get to the cheese. That's the way my brain works," she says with a smile. It was a genuine love of food that transformed her into a passionate, experimental chef-baker. As they say, where there's a will, there's —Jennifer's Way. "It was the way I learned to live again in this world. I felt like I was dropped on Mars," she explains. When Jennifer was diagnosed with celiac disease, there wasn't much information out there on how to live gluten-free, so she figured it out on her own. Fortunately, she is sharing her knowledge, recipes, and baked goods with all who visit her East Village bakery in New York. Jennifer's Way Bakery bakes and sells an assortment of breads, bagels, cupcakes, donuts, muffins, cookies… that are gluten-free, dairy-free, refined-sugar-free, soy-free, peanut- free, and allergy-friendly. And I can vouch that their Sesame Poppy bread, bagel, cake, chocolate cookie –yes, I bought all of this when I visited her shop last month—taste just as delicious as their unhealthier, sugar-saturated counterparts. Her baked goods are so tasty that her clientele reaches beyond celiacs and people with food allergies and includes moms who want to give their kids good, clean food and people who want a cleaner product. Her brand encompasses her book My Journey with Celiac Disease—What Doctors Don't Tell You and How You Can Learn to Live Again; –her informative blog; small-batch mixes; and a new cookbook, Jennifer's Way Kitchen: Easy Allergen-Free, Anti-Inflammatory Recipes for a Delicious Life, slated for release this September. Jennifer's new cookbook features 100+ recipes that are gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, corn-free, and refined-sugar-free. "This is a very prescriptive kinda cookbook. People always ask me: What do you eat? What do you do? Especially after the last book. And it took a while because I was still learning and growing… I got to the point where I took most grains out —that's how I live daily." With this cookbook, readers can enjoy grain-free, vegan chocolate cake; Hostess cupcakes; chocolate chip cookies; and French toast. "People are like, 'What the

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Miami Living Magazine - Jennifer Esposito