by MADISON DOSS
Special to The Tystenac
Young culinary artist Brittany Holbrook is not only a student-athlete at Tiffin University, but her passion for cooking has had an unexpected twist since her time at college started. Some college students are worried about gaining weight when they eat; however, Holbrook's concerns stem from regulating her diet for health reasons.
Holbrook said she has helped her family in the kitchen ever since she could remember but ignited her passion for cooking at the age of 19 during her sophomore year of college. Not only did Holbrook have to find new ways to fend for herself on her own, but after diagnosed with celiac disease, Holbrook needed to do even more research on how to express herself in the kitchen.
Celiac disease creates a gluten intolerance on a person’s body which essentially rejects any gluten ingested. This has made Holbrook conscious of every little detail when planning her meals such as checking the spices, broth, gravy and every other ingredient for gluten to make sure it won’t harm her body.
She said even though celiac disease has been an obstacle for Holbrook to overcome, it has not changed her passion for cooking.
Holbrook said she looks forward to coming home every day to her boyfriend Jared Polling and being able to cook and bond.
“Cooking gives Jared and I something always to do together,” said Holbrook.
Holbrook does not prefer just one style to use while cooking. She said loves trying new methods, recipes, and flavors to work with and is excited to find new healthy dishes.
Holbrook said she will always choose a healthy, feel-good meal rather than greasy food any day.
“I cringe at the sight of greasy or fried food,” she said.
Cooking with her family and loved ones are special to her. She said she enjoys learning new things from them and teaching others their homemade cuisines.
Holbrook acquires a lot of inspiration from her grandmother. She said she wants to strive to be like her grandmother so that people can crave dishes remade by Holbrook and carry on her legacy.
When asked if she has ever thought to make cooking a part of her career, Holbrook denied the idea.
“Cooking is something she can come home to and help her separate the bad days to make them a little less dreadful by cooking a warm-hearted meal,” said Holbrook.
When it comes to baking, Brittany puts that on the “back burner.” She loves to bake but knows her cooking will always outdo her bakery.
She said baking is fun because of all of the ingredients that can be thrown into it.
Holbrook also said she adores creating all of the different baking smells.
When questioned on how she would compare herself to her food, she thought of comforting. Holbrook sees her cuisine as a therapeutic outlet and describes herself as a loving, soothing and comforting person.
If Holbrook could do anything to better her cooking, she recommended herself to keep trying new things and learning different methods from other chefs. Discovering new routines will also help her find new gluten-free dishes that she can grow to love.
When finding new meals to make, Brittany’s primary source is browsing on social media, such as Pinterest and Instagram. Along with that, she said she likes watching food vlogs and reading food blogs.
The person Holbrook tends to cook for and with the most is her boyfriend of seven years, Jared Polling. Polling said he saw a massive transformation in the past three years in Holbrook’s cooking since diagnosed with Celiac disease.
He said his favorite dish of hers would have to be her croissant chicken meal. It includes baked croissants, chicken, pepper jack cheese and marinara sauce.
Looking back at his favorite cooking memory with Holbrook, he said it was their first time making a full Thanksgiving dinner together. They had to learn how to cook a whole turkey in one day along with figuring out how to correctly season it and adding all of the side dishes too.
Poling’s recommendation on how to better Holbrook’s cooking is, “be willing to ‘spice up’ her recipes.” However, Holbrook said spices are the most challenging thing to work in the kitchen.
As Poling recalled, the worst dish Holbrook ever made for him had to be her black bean burgers because of the vegetarian taste.
If Poling could request Holbrook to remake his favorite dish from his side of the family, it would be his mother’s old cheeseburger pot pie.
Although Holbrook said she has done a lot of the cooking for Poling, Poling said he loves learning and has grown as a chef himself. They both said they will continue to grow and inspire each other in more unique dishes to come especially with the holiday season soon approaching.