Our Story


Carlyn Berghoff
Hi, I’m Carlyn Berghoff, CEO of Berghoff Catering & Restaurant Group and fourth generation to continue the Berghoff legacy of serving great food and entertaining guests. I am an author, a chef, and restaurateur, a caterer, and a wife and mother. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America (we won’t mention what year), I operate the famous Berghoff restaurants and also cater out of Chicago’s century-old Berghoff building. I am the author of “The Berghoff Cafe Cookbook”, coauthor of “The Berghoff Family Cookbook” and our latest “Cooking for Your Gluten-Free Teen: Everyday Meals the Whole Family Will Love”. I am married to my husband Jim McClure and together we have two daughters and a son.

Every author has the answer to the basic question: Why write this blog? My answer: Because I’m not only the chef at one of Chicago’s most famous, historic, restaurants, which serves all kinds of wheat-based foods, but also the mom of a teenager, Sarah, who was diagnosed with celiac disease.

The only sure and effective treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet, and teens present special challenges to that treatment. If you are a parent of a young child with celiac disease, you are the person responsible for providing, maintaining, and monitoring their food. Not so with teenagers. They are semi-autonomous. They eat away from home; they fix food for themselves at home; they make choices. And many of the food choices they make are more adventurous than the choices they made when they were a few years younger. Teens go to restaurants: Asian, Mexican, Italian, regional American. Their palate broadens and they develop a taste for stir-fry and tacos and linguine Alfredo as well as barbecue. Cooking for teenagers is a challenge and it is fun!

Teenagers lead busy lives, and they are peer-sensitive. They don’t want to appear different, and they want to eat what their friends and everybody else eats.

How well they learn the celiac diet – what they can and cannot eat – and how well they train themselves to stick with it form the habits that will last them a lifetime. And, to a very large extent, these habits determine their well-being.

It is my hope that this blog will help teenagers and their families by using the guidelines to gluten-free shopping, cooking, and eating, and especially by cooking the recipes. I am excited to share our journey, everyday challenges, and triumphs! The recipes include teenage foods and dishes the whole family will love. They are easy to prepare and not nearly as expensive as buying prepared prepackaged or frozen gluten-free foods. And, when Sarah’s (and Lindsey’s and Todd’s) friends help themselves to seconds of the gluten-free dishes at our house, we know the food is good. As the old adage states: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”

Carlyn Berghoff

Sarah Berghoff McClure
Carlyn Berghoff & Sara (20 of 269) Hi, I’m Sarah – one of three Berghoff McClure children and the co-author of Cooking for Your Gluten-Free Teen. I attend high school, have pet lovebirds and a dog named Badger, am the coxswain for a rowing team, and love to cook. I liked all the normal teen-age foods, including fries, burgers, cookies, cakes, pizza, donuts and more. In 2009, I became critically ill, and was diagnosed with celiac. Because of a gluten-free diet I have regained my health and tell everyone that my way of eating is going to add years to my life.

If I had to say what it was like before I found out I had celiac disease, I would have to say I was sick all the time. I kept losing weight until I went down to 70 pounds, had headaches all the time, and sometime a fever. I was on the verge of throwing up 24/7, had constant diarrhea, heartburn, and acid reflux every day. I remember thinking “What is wrong with me? This is getting annoying.”

I was in 7th grade, and I took it seriously. My life consisted of food, homework, school, and track. I didn’t have time to be sick. I would hang out with friends, but I never did sleepovers at their houses. I was afraid I was going to get sick. After many months of suffering, we finally went to see our doctor and had tons of blood work done and was even lucky enough to get a tube stuck down my throat. Oh, what a joy.

Turns out, I was lucky – I wasn’t dying like I thought I was. The tests came back positive for celaic disease. By the time my 13th birthday came, I was already on a gluten-free diet and I already knew what I could and couldn’t eat. And it wasn’t easy. I had a couple of fits here and there – mostly in Restaurants when I wanted a bagel, sandwich, or other gluten-filled delight, or when waiters didn’t know what’s in their food.

After awhile, I started learning how to deal with the problems of being gluten-free. After I started the diet, I really stuck to it. People ask me am I ever tempted to eat something with gluten. No! It’s not worth getting sick again. It took me about a year to completely detox from gluten, but I felt much better the minute I stopped eating it. I gained back the weight I lost, and when I look into the mirror, I see my familiar face.

At first, after the diagnosis, I worried a lot about my health. I freaked out every time I got a stomachache and I drove my mom crazy. But it’s gotten so much better. And once I really knew what was wrong, I could talk to people about it: my mom, the doctor, you. And I’m really lucky after all because it’s only celiac, not something worse. I got to be an author of a cookbook because of it, share my story with people like you, and best of all, the way I eat now compared with the way I used to eat and how most of my friends eat, I’ll be healthier than anyone I know!


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