Celebrity Chef Elizabeth Falkner on Atopic Dermatitis
Celebrity Chef Elizabeth Falkner has Atopic Dermatitis (eczema) but she hasn’t let it keep her from following her dreams.
She is one of the most recognizable chefs in the culinary world and currently she is executive chef and owner of Orson Restaurant and Bar. You also might find her at Elizabeth Falkner’s Citizen Cake Ice Cream Parlor and Eats, both are located in San Francisco.
Elizabeth has received many awards for her work with pastries, including Best Pastry Chef from San Francisco magazine, a James Beard Award Pastry Chef nomination in 2005 and Bon Appetit Pastry Chef of the Year in 2006. She was a competitor on Iron Chef America in 2006 and a three-time competitor on Food Network Challenge.
What is Eczema?
Eczema is a chronic inflammatory disease with symptoms that appear on the skin. Symptoms include unpredictable flare-ups that can be intense. It is a rash that itches and causes skin dryness, redness, cracking, crusting and oozing.
Elizabeth is an ambassador for Understand AD, an educational program that tries to help people who have moderate to severe atopic dermatitis, which is most often referred to as AD. Understand also wants to help educate the public about this inflammatory disease.
For over 20 years Elizabeth has experienced painful rashes all over her legs and hands, making it extremely difficult for her to work in the kitchen where she was constantly washing her hands and exposing them to dry, hot air from the oven.
Elizabeth and Lindsey discussed what it’s like to live with the symptoms of this disease. During flare ups there are sleepless night, due to itching. 505 people who have AD were surveyed and 25% of them said that had 10 or more restless nights per month. It’s hard to sleep when you are itching! Lindsey stated that at times she’d scratched so much she actually bled and had to get up and change her sheets.
When they were younger they were very embarrassed by the disease. People would see their skin and stare at them, wondering what was wrong.
41% of the 505 people surveyed with AD reported less desire to participate in social activities.
I imagine that pre-teens and teens who had AD suffer the most with being self-conscious. It’s very hard at that age to be seen as “different.”
Elizabeth and Lindsey both agree that having a support system who understand what you are going through and who support you, is very important.
Elizabeth Falkner’s Recipes