Mompreneur Heather Christo Q&A | HOUSE of HARPER
I am so excited to introduce to you our May Mom Crush, Heather Christo.  I met Heather on my recent trip to NYC with the KitchenAid team.  As a mom of a child with allergies, I was immediately drawn to her story and her mission.

Mompreneur Heather Christo Q&A | HOUSE of HARPER

Mompreneur Heather Christo Q&A | HOUSE of HARPER

Mompreneur Heather Christo Q&A | HOUSE of HARPER

Mompreneur Heather Christo Q&A | HOUSE of HARPER

Mompreneur Heather Christo Q&A | HOUSE of HARPER

images c/o Heather Christo

I asked Heather to partake in a little interview to share her story with you.  I am certain it will leave you just as inspired as it has us!  I personally love how she took what most would see as a challenge and turned it into a budding career.  All while putting her family first.  Keep reading to see what I mean.

Tell us a little about your business.

HC: Ha! Which one? I have all sorts of stuff going on. I have my allergen free food and lifestyle website community blog over at – where I do the recipe development, food styling, photography and writing. I have two cookbooks, the second of which is coming out in paperback in May! Heathermade, allergen free fresh baked goods launched in late 2015 and is sold in select Costco’s and is branching out to retail in late 2017. And then, because I had so much free time (just kidding), I founded a company with my husband and some close friends this Spring, and there will be a lot of exciting projects to come with that.

What inspired it? When did you start

HC: I started down this particular path of food blogging in the Spring of 2007 (ten years ago!!) and it was inspired by my love of food. But there have been some significant shifts in my career, mainly the health transformation that happened with my little girls three and a half years ago. They were diagnosed with severe food allergies, closely followed by my own diagnosis and so we had to make significant and sweeping changes across all the areas of our life – and that included my career. The children’s health was my catalyst to a whole new way of life, and now they continue to be my inspiration. Every time I am in the kitchen I am thinking about them, and about the grown ups they will become and asking myself, “what do they want to be able to eat?” and “how can I then make that allergen free?”

 What were you dong before?

HC: I went to art school at the University of Washington and then went to Culinary School in San Francisco. I was wonderfully able to blend the two educations while working at a high-end French restaurant in San Francisco and then at my own catering company. I am forever enchanted by the idea of making food really beautiful (as well as delicious) since you eat with your eyes first.

How many children do you have?

HC: I have two little girls who keep me on my toes, Pia (short for Olympia) is 9 and Coco (short for Colette) is 7. Plus a fur baby Wilbur, our three year old King Charles Cavalier.

Where are you based?

HC: I live right in the middle of Seattle, Washington right by the space needle!

When did you know you were onto something and this was more than just a hobby?

HC: I always knew that I loved to cook, and even more so – to make people happy through food and the whole experience of enjoying it. My mother was an incredible cook and hostess and out of her four children, I was her sous chef, forever helping in the kitchen. I was that girl in high school talking everyone into coming to “dinner parties” at my house and working on perfecting Martha Stewart’s Sky High Chocolate Mousse Tart. Then, somewhere around my junior year of college, where I was majoring in art, I realized that I was probably not going to be able to support myself as a working artist (in the traditional sense) and that I better get a backup plan! I knew that the only other thing I really loved to do was to cook. I started working in the back of kitchens doing whatever I could to get experience (and I was doing some of the really unglamorous stuff, like unclogging deep fat fryers drains and mucking out walk-in fridges). Then one of the chefs pulled me on the line to help with pantry when they were short handed. I loved the thrill of working in the rush of a kitchen and of making of every plate set in front of me as tasty and beautiful as possible – I knew I was hooked.

What is your advice to moms who suspect they might be in your situation (a child with allergies/intolerances)? Any mistakes you made that you wish you knew then what you know now?

HC: I would encourage moms to channel their inner mama bear! When you have a child that is struggling or sick, sometimes you have to get really involved in figuring out what’s causing it. There can be a lot of fear and uncomfortable feeling around the changes that you are contemplating. You may have to brach outside the normal channels of health care, like seeing a naturopathic doctor. Food allergies and sensitivities are not often understood in main stream medicine and you will have to do some independent investigation and lots of experimenting. We went through ELISA testing for 160 foods and spices through a naturopathic doctor and our insurance covered it. Not everyone will have access to this or some won’t have the testing covered by insurance. In that case, I would suggest trying an elimination diet, which I completely cover in my book Pure Delicious. The truth is, I made every single mistake there was to make, and I piece-mealed together information that was very difficult to find over the course of a year. I just experimented and figured out best practices as we went along, keeping my eye on the prize – the health of my children. The whole process was so difficult that I truly didn’t want anyone else to have to go through it – that was why I wrote Pure Delicious in the first place. I felt that if I could help even one family to go through the process in an easier, more efficient manner, and experience the kind of incredible results that we did, then it would be all worth it.

What is the biggest challenge living an allergen free life?

HC: I always say it is the fear! The fear of being ostracized, the fear of being hungry, the fear of living a bland life. Once you get past the fear and come out on the other side, healthy and renewed you realize that there are so many options out there, and that life can be just as vibrant, fun and delicious as it was before – only you aren’t sick anymore!

What reaction do you typically receive when you share your story/food restrictions?

HC: When I share the food restrictions in the house, it is without fail the same reaction “Omg!! What’s left to eat?!” The answer is quite a lot actually! I feel like we eat so well and no one here feels deprived. I also love to feed skeptical friends and family and let them realize on their own that having food restrictions doesn’t mean that our meals are not delicious.

Sharing our full story, transformation and the path to how we got there is another story completely. Once I get going, most people find it quite interesting. I love to speak to groups and watch as the lightbulbs go on all through the room as people make connections to what I am talking about. I have never spoken to a group and not had people come to realizations about their own health. It is so rewarding to think that our family story might inspire or encourage another person to be open minded or proactive about the health of their own family.

How do you manage to be a mom and a business owner?

HC: Oh goodness, I think I just try to do the very best I can! It’s so hard. I think as women especially, we just want to be able to do it all, and do it perfectly. But there is nothing so humbling as trying to be a “perfect” working mother! I still have to remind myself that there is no such thing as perfect in any arena, and as I have gotten older I have let a lot of those expectations go. Plus, I think it’s important that my two daughters see that women can do it all, but that it definitely takes hard work. I am also a firm believer that sometimes it takes a village! We are very lucky to have our whole family here to pitch in, and my parents are especially wonderful and helpful.

What is the career accomplishment you are most proud of?

HC: I was recently nominated for a James Beard Award for my book Pure Delicious, which I have to admit- I FREAKED OUT OVER! I didn’t win, but boy was it an honor to be nominated.

If you find yourself with some free time, what is your favorite way to reset and recharge?

HC: I love to read, go on walks and garden…or drink wine with my husband.

What does a typical workday/week look like for you?

HC: It completely depends on which hat I am wearing and if I am traveling, but most typically it starts with English breakfast tea and almond milk. I always get my kids ready and drive them to school each morning. I will either go to the office which is about 8 blocks from my house, or I will work from home if it a  recipe development day. When we work and all of the after school activities are done being juggled we really try to sit down and eat dinner together every night. I don’t function without sleep so I try to go to sleep by 10. Isn’t that so boring?!

What was the most surprising thing about becoming a mother?

HC: How much I would love spending time with them! I mean, I knew I would love them, but I also love hanging out with them – they are a riot and so clever and way cooler than I am!

What are your three mom must haves? (‘can’t live without’ items)

HC: Wet Wipes!!! (I can’t help it, I get grossed out by dirty hands, dirty airplanes, dirty escalator handles- you get the picture). Snacks- someone is ALWAYS hungry. Ziplocs- I swear I have like five in my purse all the time because I use them to organize EVERYTHING!

If you could only take three items on a deserted island, what would you take?

HC: I guess that means my iPhone is out?? I will go with sunscreen! I am super pale and an addict, a big knife and a huge box of matches- I am very practical and have seen a lot of episodes of Naked and Afraid!

Do you work out? If so, how do you stay healthy and active while juggling everything else?

HC: I try to. I am a person that goes through stages where I work out a ton or not so much. I just went through a hardcore Orange Theory phase and right now I am really into more gentle exercise like walking, Pure Barre, and yoga.

How do you handle the pressure and guilt that come along with being a working mom? What is your advice to other working moms?

HC: Gahhh! The “mom guilt” can be so brutal- especially when they are little. My husband is really amazing about helping me to keep things in perspective. I try to remember that I am working to provide a better life for my kids, that I am doing the best I can and that ultimately I am setting an example to my daughters of independence and hard work. I encourage other working moms to try to think about it the same way and again, IT TAKES A VILLAGE! Just don’t be afraid or too proud to ask for help.

You have two beautiful daughters, what is the most important message you hope they grow up understanding?

HC: There are a couple things we talk about a lot in our house. Karma- putting positivity into the universe is SO important. We talk about acting with integrity and approaching others with generosity and an open mind. Also, work ethic is really important to my husband and I.

What is your favorite quote?

“What you think,

you become.

What you feel,

you attract.

What you imagine,

you create.”


What trait of your mother’s do you hope to embody for your own children?

HC: She instilled a really strong sense of inner power in me. She has always said that I could do anything, and I believed her. I still do. I hope I can create that same feeling inside of my girls.

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