Behind-the-Scenes of My New Cookbook: Silvana’s Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Kitchen!

It’s a beautiful thing when everything falls right into place—a rare occurrence, especially when it comes to making a cookbook. It all starts from scratch. Just an idea followed by hundreds more only to culminate in a life-changing experience felt by all involved. I’m grateful to everyone who put their talent, time and energy to make my new cookbook a splendid, delicious reality.

And, I’m most grateful to you for sharing this gluten-free, dairy-free journey with me and my family. We continue to learn and grow from each other’s stories and recipes, and more than that, support each other as only family would. For that, and so much more, I am eternally thankful to all of you.

Silvana's Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Kitchen
Clockwise from top: 1) Photographer John Kernick (standing on my table!), food stylist Tracey Seaman and I prepping the next shot 2) Tracey and I plan the next day’s shot list 3) Tracey’s car packed full of gluten-free, dairy-free groceries!

I’ve known two of my photography crew members for decades: John and I have been goofing around magazine and cookbook sets in studio and on location for about 16 years now. Tracey and I started working together when she was the Test Kitchen Director at Food & Wine magazine and I was an editorial assistant there. Then, when I was the editor-in-chief of Every Day with Rachael Ray, I finally lured her away from Gourmet magazine, to run the new test kitchen.

Silvana's Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Kitchen
Deep-Dish Pizza Supreme. Photograph by John Kernick.

Then, on set, there was also my insanely talented editor, Rux Martin, along with Maysoon Faraj (hair and make-up), Brooke Deonarine (prop stylist), Rizwan Alvi (photographer assistant), Christina Stanley-Salerno (fashion stylist) and Teresa Ouellette (food stylist assistant)—all of whom made me and the food look so good!

Silvana's Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Kitchen
Our wall of dailies organized by chapter helped us decide on camera angles, prop colors, food multiples and so much more!

My mom and I had pre-blended all of the flours to save time since we were shooting up to 10 shots per day. That gave me and Tracey time on set to think about how we wanted to plate the food. It also allowed us time to run to the local food coop for ingredients and to take a break!

Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes with Maple Icing. Photograph by John Kernick.
Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes with Maple Icing. Photograph by John Kernick.

I want to also thank the team who wasn’t at the shoot, my professional recipe testers, Amy Howard Williams and Emiko Shimojo, both of whom worked tirelessly making sure every recipe I developed would work for everyone. I know I couldn’t have completed the cookbook successfully without their constant support in the kitchen.

Silvana's Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Kitchen
Clockwise, from top left: 1) The beautiful November sun warmed our shoots and gave us energy and inspiration every morning 2) A nearby rail trail where we walked almost every day post-shoot 3) Me relaxing on the deck between shoots to re-energize 4) Our gorgeous oven stove gave us super cozy evenings 5) John being John. Love him!

We photographed the cookbook at my house in upstate New York in a small town called Stone Ridge, just over the mountain from New Paltz. I’m always inspired by the beauty of nature around me. We made sure to take long walks and laugh a bunch!

Silvana's Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Kitchen
Brownie Bark. Photograph by John Kernick.

Each day on set, there weren’t any leftovers and if our experiences tell a story, it’s that you’re going to love this new cookbook as much as we do. I can’t wait to share all of my new recipes with you!

Love,

Silvana

Silvana's Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Kitchen
From left: 1) Thanks upstate New York for an awesome cookbook shoot 2) The final page proofs of the book!