Sara Siebrecht

Sara Siebrecht hopes to become a recipe developer, encompassing a focus on allergen-friendly recipes. When Sara isn’t studying, she enjoys hammocking by Lake LaVerne, baking, reading cookbooks, painting, or watching Bon Apetit videos on YouTube.

Get to know Sara

  • Major: Culinary food science
  • Class: Junior
  • Hometown: Sheldon, Iowa (O’Brien and Sioux counties)
  • Career goal: Recipe development with a focus on allergen-free foods
  • Clubs/activities: Culinary Science Club, recipe developer for Cardinal Eats magazine
  • Awards/honors: 2019-2020 Student Sensation, Dean’s List, 2019 Cardinal Key Honors Society Inductee, University Honors Program
  • Favorite place on campus: Lake LaVerne
  • Most influential ISU mentor: Erica Beirman
  • Favorite class: FS HN 265, Nutrition for Active and Healthy Lifestyles
  • Why Iowa State: family alumni

Sara Siebrecht uses affliction with food allergies to create recipes of her own

Since she started studying culinary food science, Sara Siebrecht has become used to people assuming she wants to become a chef. This is a question she answers in one word: “no”.

Sara’s dairy allergy led her to an interest in recipe development. Sara has been altering recipes since childhood, when she would bake desserts with her mother and grandmother that accommodated her allergy. This heavily influenced her preferred area of study, as well as her decision to enroll at Iowa State University rather a two-year culinary program.

“A lot of [my decision] had to do with the experience a four-year university can give you, and how you can do more things to get involved, such as honors, rather than just working for a paycheck,” Sara said.

As a sophomore, Sara was selected as a culinary intern in the banquet kitchen for Aspen Meadows Resort in Aspen, Colorado. In this immersive program, Sara prepared fine dining experiences for customers through large-scale banquet preparation. During the summer of 2017, she learned the proper procedures to create each course, finishing her internship practicing protein preparation.

“Toward the end, I got to sear the fish and truss the beef, and that kind of means you made it. Looking back, it was good for me to get completely out of my comfort zone [by moving to Colorado] and hone in on my culinary skills,” she said.

A year later, Sara obtained another internship. She worked with Conagra Brands as a food designer in the culinary department. There, she explored plant-based eating trends and created her own product. She combined her knowledge of various food allergens to create a cashew-based cream cheese, as well as vegetable-based crackers that cater to people with specialized diets.

“I went into these internships knowing I didn’t want to be a chef, but I knew it needed to be a part of my experience,” she said.

Sara hopes that through her future work, she will educate people on allergens and their effects while creating tasteful recipes that consumers will enjoy.

“My dairy allergy has a lot to do with how I approach food because it is my whole life experience. It’s hard sometimes because so much of cooking is tasting what you make and there is a whole food group that I can’t touch,” Sara said. “This is why creating allergen-friendly recipes has always been close to my heart.” 

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