What is your food philosophy?
Food is a universal language, an unfettered form of communication and expression. I believe you can feel someone through their food, a window into their soul if you will, even if the person cooking is not aware of it. It’s honest in a way that words can never be, because it comes from the heart not the head. Similarly, food lies at the very core of every culture and family, an earnest historical narrative and precious vestige of generations, almost a method of time travel if you will, keeping us all connected. I was raised in Los Angeles, but my father worked most of my childhood in Japan, so food as I grew up was an interesting mix of California style focused on organic, seasonal, and fresh ingredients along with Japanese cuisine, especially sushi before it was widely accessible or popular. On top of that, I lived in Rome for a while in college and absolutely fell in love with Italian cooking, which reminded me of home. I draw most of my inspiration and inclinations from those three cultures.
What are your thoughts on how food relates to beauty?
Beauty truly comes from within. So to me what we put in our bodies is the core source. I’d rather be happy than anything else, so I believe in being as natural as you can while honoring balance above all else. Everything in moderation, even moderation in moderation.
What do you always keep in your fridge?
Grady’s Cold Brew
Cholulah hot sauce
Soma water filtration
Ramona wine coolers
west~bourne x Broc cellars x The Cartorialist wine
Fresh herbs (basil, mint, parsley, chives)
Meyer lemons and limes
White Moustache yogurt in sour cherry
Gomaya San No Goma Dressing ~ I absolutely love Japanese markets, and this one picked up on a whim from our local spot Dainobu is now a condiment I can’t live without and put it on absolutely everything.
Please give us a breakdown of each shelf. Example here:
The drawer in the refrigerator is basically condiment central. It’s my only real form of hoarding, and I never met a sauce I didn’t want to try. I usually mix a bunch when cooking to build up and play with different flavors. I’m never without high quality butter, cured anchovies, vanilla bean, multiple types of hot sauce (often picked up through my travels), and some random Japanese sauces I’m experimenting with. I usually also have staples from Sir Kensington's, Momofuku hozon, and some sort of dark chocolate bar on rotation (currently, I’m obsessed with the Clare V. x Valerie Confections collab from LA).
The top shelf of the inside refrigerator is reserves for drinks (usually Oatly when there’s not a shortage), cold brew (Grady’s is my favorite), mostly California wine, often a bottle or two that we pour at west~bourne (only if I’m using it that week), and juices), sauces that won’t fit in the door shelving (like Cholulah), and other staples like ghee and coconut oil. I definitely have a soft spot for California crafted goods and female food entrepreneurs like White Moustache yogurt (I can never get enough of it; favorite flavor is sour cherry) and applesauce and honey from Westwind Orchard (Laura is the loveliest human). The next shelf I try to reserve for fresh fruit, vegetables, and a variety of herbs, usually from our local greenmarket or Eataly, and then some snacks that are ready to eat, often yogurt and leftovers from dinner the night prior. Finally, at the bottom I store organic greenmarket eggs (we go through a ridiculous amount… I love breakfast every time of day; plus an egg on top of almost anything is a treat), and then I stash some extra vegetables, aromatics like garlic and shallots, along with cheese in the drawer.
Please share a favorite recipe.
I still can’t get enough of our west~bourne chocolate cashew pudding (which can be totally vegan if you want to use vegan chocolate). It’s a mashup of savory and sweet with a decadent smooth finish that’s indulgent but balanced. A fun and lovely finish for any dinner party.