Friday, July 29, 2011

Top (CF) Chef

Just about everyone who knows me will vouch for three major things about my personality:

1) I rarely, if ever, cook anything edible other than, say, the occasional bowl of cereal or, when I'm feeling super gourmet, some sort of random stir-fry/5th-grade-science-fair experiment hybrid involving pretty much every single ingredient that happens to be in my kitchen at that moment;

2) That the aforementioned lack of culinary skills does not in any way, shape, or form dissuade me from religiously watching just about every cooking show known to man, often DVRing the episodes and re-watching them later (as if the results of the show might have changed?), plate of take-out Chinese food in hand; and

3) That I have been, at times, known to be just a little, tiny, teensy bit competitive . . . although this one is somewhat up for debate. (And I WILL win that debate, I promise.)

All of which combined led me to literally squeal with excitement when I recently received an email from our good friends over at Abbott Pharmaceuticals. Turns out that the makers of Creon (you know, the drug that allows so many of us to eat all that yummy food in the first place) are sponsoring a new program called CFChef. And in my opinion, not a moment too soon.

CFChef is designed to help people with CF meet the intense and sometimes challenging dietary requirements of living with this disease. According to Abbott, the program (which can be found at is there to serve both as an educational resource for patients and families as well as a sounding board for the sharing of information and recipes. Awesome.

So where's the fun part?

Turns out CFChef is celebrating its new launch by hosting a CF recipes contest. Now I want you all to close your eyes. Imagine your favorite Top Chef/Iron Chef/Food Network Star. Imagine s/he was cooking a meal for a CF audience and needed your help. You have 30 minutes and a mystery basket filled with dried pasta, brazil nuts, gas-station beef jerky, and ScandiShake powder (chocolate OR vanilla, just because I'm feeling generous). Your time starts...NOW!

Okay, maybe not.

But the contest DOES start now, and the rules are relatively simple. Just go to and enter your favorite CF recipe before Sept. 28, 2011. The top four winning recipes will be selected by a panel of experts including:

-Suzanne Michel, CF dietitian
-Boomer Esiason, Former NFL Quarterback, TV Personality, and CF Dad
-Michael Symon, Food Network "Iron Chef" (ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod!)
-Ali Christensen, CF Patient and "America's Got Talent" Contestant (Not to mention all-around sweetheart, as I had the honor of meeting her and her equally talented sister this year at the CFF's Volunteer Leadership Conference)

Tell me you're not super excited already. Go ahead, try and say it with a straight face.

Personally, I'm not much of a chef (and my recipe for "Piper's Special Stir-Fry Surprise" is just waaay too top secret to leak out onto the internet), but you can bet that I'll be encouraging my friends and family to enter! I'm also super excited to see (and to try!) some of the recipes that I know all my brilliant, beautiful Breathheads are going to submit. And if sharing and helping out the CF community while gaining personal glory isn't enough motivation for you, ask yourself when else in your life you're likely to have a chance to submit a recipe to a healthcare professional, a sport's star, a singer, AND AN IRON CHEF all at the same time? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Seriously though guys, this is an awesome chance to help out your fellow CFers, strut your stuff, AND have some fun in a program sponsored by one of the CFF's major corporate partners. What more could you honestly ask for?

So here's to community, cooking, creativity, calories, and, above all, to curing CF. Happy cooking, y'all!


  1. OMG!! I LOVE EVERY SHOW IN THE FOOD NETWORK....Chopped is my FAVORITE!!! I also love to cook although I only do well if I have a recipe I can't really make up my own....this is going to be great!! Speaking of food network stars...have you ever been to Scarpetta? I think Scott Conant is one of my favorite chopped judges not to mention I LOVE 24 hour restaurant battle and I was thinking about going there when I am in NYC in Dec! :) Anyway I ramble....LOL

  2. OK so I was just reading the "official rules" for this contest and it said anyone who is on Medicaid or Medicare is not eligible to win the prize...for a contest for CF that seems a little unfair since that is a lot of peoples way of paying for there medications....

  3. it's true that you can't win the scale offered as one of the prizes, though you can still win the rest of the contest. i believe it's simply a way of dealing with the government's requirements for prizes/income given to those on public assistance -- not unfair, just a legality, albeit a truly annoying one. i hope you guys will still participate.

  4. True, it just stinks that someone on public assistance can't win something like a scale because its considered "income" but what can ya do?? Anyway I just wish I was a more creative cook cause I would enter!! Unfortunately I can only cook well when following someone elses directions so no luck there! :)

  5. I love 24 Hour Restaurant Battle too, Jen! I would LOVE to be on the show running the front of the house with one of my chef buddies :o)

  6. Having nutritional as a category is a bit unfair. What the rest of the world would consider bad - high-lipid and -sucrose and -glucose foods - is almost required eating for cystics. Weird.

  7. agreed that our nutrition is different. but these judges (with the possible exception of michael symon, who is one vote out of four) are all well versed in CF. i'm pretty sure they mean helping CFers get the vitamins and nutrients we need while also taking in the calories. eating right with CF has come a long way since when i was diagnosed, when they just threw a bunch of high cal, processed food at us. the CF nutritionist even more so than the others. but it's a good point -- i can email these questions to my contact at the contest, if you'd like some more thorough answers. you guys are super on the ball!

    my biggest nutritional concern is actually sucrose. i have CF and i need the weight, but i have CFRD. i'd love to see what they have to say about whether they're factoring in common secondary digestive disorders, like diabetes or liver/kidney issues. not to mention salt!