Chef Judi Gallagher Releases Her First Book: Reflections & Recipes

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Chef Judi Gallagher Releases Her First Book:
Reflections & Recipes

          September 2018 (Sarasota, Florida) – Chef Judi Gallagher, culinary director for ABC 7 and popular food and travel editor, releases her first culinary book, Reflections & Recipes of Chef Judi. Cooking has been a passion of Chef Judi’s since her childhood in a Connecticut suburb. The book traces a journey with food being an unconscious healer to one with food becoming the conscious healer. “How to get through life…one recipe at a time” is how Chef Judi describes her combination autobiographical and culinary resource book. The recipes follow Judi’s early years, with updated takes on classic dishes and entertaining favorites, her time owning her own restaurants and dessert company, along with popular recipes from her beloved cooking segments Chef Judi’s Dish and Lunch with Chef Judi on ABC 7 My Suncoast. Recipe favorites include Grilled Steak and Herb Cream Cheese Flatbread with Arugula Salad and Blistered Tomatoes and New England Clam Chowder, a favorite among her “chowda” family and friends.

Almost anyone can relate to an Easy Bake Oven and special recipes from their grandmother. Chef Judi brings the reader right to the small apartment of her beloved Nana, her kitchen mentor, as Judi becomes emerged in the flavors and textures of Nana’s strudels, matzo ball soup and Sour Cream Coffee cakes. Judi recalls that Nana was one of those women who made three different soups every day and never owned a can of anything
“I grew up around food, all the time,” Judi says. “We ate breakfast and then immediately said, ‘What’s for lunch?’”

Judi’s path through two restaurants and a dessert company is both touching and courageous, with cooking and baking being the healer. Later chapters offer delightful recipes from these restaurants.

Her passion for food as flourished since those early years in the kitchen, and today, Judi delights in sharing meals with the loves of her life: her husband of more than 20 years, Paul, and her son, Eric. Judi is always looking for the next great dish, the next big restaurant, and the next scrumptious flavor.
“Every single bite is important to me,” Judi says. “In food, and in life.”
Books are available on and Barnes and Noble online and many local bookstores and gourmet shops. For information about stocking books, booking signings and special events, please contact Chef Judi at [email protected] or (941) 780-2898.


About Chef Judi Gallagher
An internationally acclaimed chef, writer, TV personality, PR pro and all-around culinary Renaissance woman, Judi Gallagher is hard to miss (and not just because she is 6’2”)! It is Judi’s contagious laugh, her sense of humor, and her insistence on feeding everyone delicious food that make her unforgettable. Whether she is cooking gourmet meals as ABC 7’s culinary director on the daily “Chef Judi’s Dish” show; running the thriving public relations firm Judi Gallagher & Associates; teaching children healthy cooking, writing and editing for five print publications; or hosting demos with chefs throughout the world, Judi is doing what she loves, every minute. Judi has enjoyed 35-plus years of successful ownership, management and consulting experience in the food service industry.

Judi’s journey in the restaurant industry started with many 90-hour workweeks and sleep-deprived nights. Judi opened her first restaurant in 1983 (Main Street Café) just outside Boston, Mass. Her second venture, BJ’s in the Park, followed in 1987. Two years later, she pioneered the reputable company, Just Desserts, which she later sold in 1994 shortly before relocating to Florida. She often says it was those years of grunt work, when she was opening her own restaurants and dessert company, that made her grounded. Whenever she is dining at a five-star Zagat-rated restaurant, she never forgets those years of eating Rice Krispies while mopping the commercial kitchen floor.

“Never forget from where you came,” Judi says. “There’s a saying in the restaurant business that you’re only as good as your last meal. I don’t take anything for granted anymore, and that makes for joy.”

Judi is an honors graduate of the culinary arts program at Johnson & Wales College and currently resides in Sarasota, Florida with her family.

Grilled Steak and Herb Cream Cheese Flatbread
with Arugula Salad and Blistered Tomatoes
by Chef Judi Gallagher, Recipes & Reflections

The evolution from the traditional steak sandwich. Flatbreads are turning up on so many different restaurants. From pubs to fine dining the flatbread craze is here to stay. I find using premade flatbread crust makes entertaining a snap.

2 flatbreads (I recommend Stonewall)
4 cups herb cream cheese
2 cups organic yellow and red grape tomatoes cut lengthwise
Zest of 2 lemons
4 cups baby arugula
2 – 3 lbs. (I tend to go heavy on the steak per my husband’s wishes) sirloin steak or leftover steak
2 fennel bulbs, sliced very thin.

Lemon Vinaigrette
(may be made ahead of time, refrigerate and shake before using)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Whisk or use immersion blend

For best results let steak rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Grill steak to rare or medium rare. Let rest for 20 minutes before slicing.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees °F.
Spread sliced tomatoes on sheet pan and sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Roast for about 6 to 8 minutes until they “blister”.
Remove from oven and set aside.
Heat flatbread in oven until slightly crusty but do not overbake.
Cool slightly.
Spread garlic cream cheese over bread.
Slice steak and place over herb cream cheese mix.
Scatter blistered tomatoes.
In a separate bowl toss fennel with arugula and lemon dressing. Toss over flatbread pizza and add zest of lemon.
Cut into wedges and serve.

Blue cheese instead of garlic cream cheese.
Grilled chicken and artichoke hearts, grilled shrimp, or smoked salmon instead of steak.
Fresh mozzarella balls, arugula and balsamic glaze.

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