Our Story

          According to www.foodallergy.org, approximately 15 million people in the United States have food allergies.  This number does not even include people with food sensitivities. 

         

          We at Top 8+ are among those more than 15 million people. 


          I, Matt Waterhouse, did not grow up eating with any restrictions.  I ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. By the time I was a teenager, my immediate family ate out at least 350 days of the year.  I frequently prefered the taste of restaurant food to homemade meals (except for my grandmas' cooking).  While I was a teenager, one of my aunts discovered that her family needed to go gluten-free. This was long before being gluten-free was a trend, and there were virtually no pre-made gluten-free options.  I, along with many in our family, balked at the idea of eating such foods. 

          My wife, Stephanie, grew up being lactose intolerant. She was more accustomed to needing to avoid certain foods than I.  However, she still grew up in a family that rarely watched what they ate. Stephanie herself often cheated on certain foods like ice cream, cheesesteak sandwiches, etc. 

          As a result, both Stephanie and I developed high standards of flavor for the foods we eat. 

          After getting married, we decided to go meat free during the week to save money.  My wife began to notice that she felt better while off meat, and after a couple of months she decided to give up meat completely.  A couple of years later, I decided to give in to my aunt’s urging and give up gluten.  My wife did as well.  Several of our chronic digestive and other health issues finally began to go away.  Eventually Stephanie began to notice that she had other food sensitivities, so we changed our diet to accommodate those as well. At one point, we were gluten-free, soy-free, vegetarian and often vegan. We have also discovered that our daughter has similar food issues to Stephanie.  Other members of our extended families have discovered their own sensitivities different from our own, and some of our friends have different sensitivities as well.


          Being a family with food sensitivities we quickly became tired of the stale, expensive, and often inferior-tasting, mass-produced foods put out by companies who often pick and choose which sensitivities they wish to accommodate.  Having a passion for cooking and baking, we at Top 8+ Culinary Coaches took it upon ourselves to learn to prepare a wide variety of dishes and meals using multiple ingredient substitutions while still producing a meal that satisfies the memory of and craving for the original, “normal” dish.  We research ingredients and experiment with various alternatives all the while examining the results with the taste buds we still have from the days before our diet had to change.