February 25, 2020
Chef Renée Everett & Her Gluten Free Pecan Coconut Banana Bread
Posted by: Cohen Carpenter
Renée Rigaud Everett
Renée Rigaud Everett’s life-long passion for cooking began as a young child when she would watch and emulate her mother and her grandmother soaking up all their secret recipes like a sponge. At the age of 14, while visiting her grandmother in New Orleans, Renée talked her way into a hostess job in her cousin’s restaurant all the while always keeping an eye on what was going on in the kitchen.
After graduating college and a long stint in local governmental public relations, the siren’s call of the kitchen grew louder and Renée enrolled in and obtained her degree in Culinary Arts from the Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago. Renée has worked at many Chicago-area restaurants including Gibson’s Restaurant Group, working in both Gibson’s and Hugo’s, LuxBar, Quartino’s, Ditka’s in Oakbrook Terrace, and Park 52 in Hyde Park.
Renée is a former culinary arts instructor for a nationally recognized culinary arts college where she also served as the school’s brand ambassador, was featured on local news and served as C-CAP judge and mentor to local National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Pro-Start teams.
Renée competed on season one of ABC’s reality cooking show, The Taste. Although she didn’t make it far in the competition, she won the ultimate prize when celebrity chef Ludo Lefevbre, on-air, offered her a job at his new restaurant Trois Mec in Los Angeles. She packed up her life in Chicago and headed to Los Angeles where she worked side-by-side with Chef Lefevbre.
In October 2013, Renée joined the staff of Belcampo Lodge in Belize as the Chef and Culinary Director. After two life-changing moves in less than a year, Renée was excited to be a part of the Belcampo team and eagerly utilized the lush farm-grown ingredients, livestock, and fresh seafood available on the lodge’s property. On any given day she could be found with her hands in the organic garden, planning and overseeing the vegetable and leafy green crops and harvests; in the kitchen working with her team to develop recipes, hone skills, and enhance menu offerings; working with local fishermen to make sure that fish and seafood were caught in ways that were in line with local ordinances, practices and above all, sustainable for not only the aquatic life but for the fisherman as well, as well as managing the property's livestock and small scale slaughter facility. In addition to all of the behind the scenes work, she also helped train the dining team on various aspects for food service and helped to develop the Lodge's bar and cocktail program often creating specialty drinks using seasonal ingredients and culinary techniques. Renee always takes great care to ensure that her team was trained, well informed and ready to serve our guests consistent, high quality ingredient driven plates, as well as making sure guests were provided with individualized, unique experiences through local cuisine, food, and culture sharing.
After 4 years of continuous kitchen leadership abroad in Belize, Renee spent two years as an independent consultant working on various culinary projects for Omaha Steaks (Omaha, NE), Paradise Cove Resort in Fiji, and historical property, Sugar Water Manor (Westover, MD). She also returned to culinary education teaching classes at College of the Desert (Palm Desert, CA) and Kendall College of Chicago.
In October, Renee joined the team of Little Saint Simon’s Island Resort to lead the kitchen and culinary program. Having Celiac disease, Renee works hard to ensure food safety and allergen awareness throughout planned menus. She is excited to build on southern food traditions and create new ones that respect the locality, region, the ingredients, and the historically rich culture of the area.
Gluten Free* Pecan/Coconut Banana Bread
- ½ cup vanilla yogurt
- 1 egg
- 3 medium brown bananas, mashed (about 1⅓ cups)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1⅓ cup GLUTEN FREE flour blend (I like to blend 1/2 gluten free flour and 1/2 almond flour. It helps keep a nice moist crumb)
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup chopped pecans plus 2 tbs for topping (for richer flavor, toast your pecans in the over just until they are fragrantly nutty smelling, being sure to check them frequently and stir a few times)
- ½ cup shredded coconut plus 2 tbs for topping (for richer flavor, toast the coconut using the same method to toast the pecans)
- 3 tablespoons GLUTEN FREE flour (again, use 1/2 almond flour)
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons coconut
- 2 tablespoons pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5 loaf pan.
In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, pecans, and coconut. Stir well.
In a separate bowl, combine yogurt, egg, oil, and bananas. Add to flour mixture and stir just until moistened. Do not overmix (With Gluten free flour there is no gluten to develop, so just mix all the ingredients to incorporate fully. Batter may have a few lumps and that's ok.). Pour into prepared pan. (buttered or non-stick)
Combine topping ingredients until crumbly and sprinkle over batter.
Bake 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you want muffins, use a muffin pan and bake for 15-20 minutes.
*Recipe can easily be adapted to use regular all-purpose flour