Chef Fran Costigan
Vegan Baking Instructor
New York, New York
A veteran culinary instructor with a specialty in dairy and egg free whole
foods baking and cuisine, consultant to food professionals and
non-professionals, cookbook author and entrepreneur,
As an instructor, Costigan is experienced working with small and large
groups of people, presenting hands-on teaching and demonstration classes
in schools and private homes, at conferences and conventions. Recipe
development and food writing include freelance magazine articles and a
published cookbook, Great Good Desserts Naturally. Her new book, More
Great Good Desserts Naturally will be published in the fall of 2005.
Costigan worked in “butter-sugar-egg kitchens” including Main Course
Catering, a gourmet food shop on the upper east side of Manhattan, no
longer in business, after finishing the professional chef training at The
New York Restaurant School. As the baker, she was responsible for the
daily muffins, scones, pastries and cakes, as well as the weekly special.
Her interest in natural foods and vegetarian diet led her to the Natural
Gourmet Cookery School where Costigan completed the Food and Healing
Course taught by the school’s founder, Ann Marie Colbin. Shortly
thereafter, encouraged by Ms Colbin to do so, she enrolled in and
completed the school’s Professional Chef Training. Eager to learn as much
as possible about dairy free baking in the shortest amount of time,
Costigan asked to help out in the kitchen of Luma, an organic dairy free
restaurant and was hired as the pastry chef immediately following
completion of the Chef Training. At the same time, she began teaching
classes at the Natural Gourmet Cookery School, where she developed the
Natural Pastry Arts Intensive, the first course of its kind, among many
Stints as pastry chef at Luma and Angelica Kitchen reinforced Costigan’s
belief that the key to developing wonderfully textured and delicious
refined sugar, egg and dairy free desserts -- on par with the best
traditional baked goods--was the linking of traditional pastry technique
and the properties unique to whole foods. This union was successful and
For Goodness Cakes Catering was born. People with food restrictions now
had a source for wedding cakes, birthday cakes and cupcakes. Mothers of
elementary school children were calling in SOS’s for cupcakes.
The business grew by word of mouth and Costigan was asked to write recipes
for publications, speak to the trade about natural sweeteners at the
Natural Products Health Expo and began catering less.
When Michael Romano, Executive Chef-Partner of Manhattan’s famed Union
Square Café wanted to explore serving dairy and egg-free, naturally
sweetened desserts, he arranged for his pastry chef to work with Costigan.
Ann Cooper, CEC, Executive Chef of The ROSS School, hired Fran to do a
full day training of her culinary team while they were developing and
testing recipes. Scores of home cooks found Costigan as well.
Rick Smilow, President of Institute of Culinary Education contacted
Costigan in 2001 and asked her to teach a few classes in order to assess
need for dairy, egg free programs. The classes sold out quickly and
Costigan teaches several classes per catalogue at ICE.