Behind Closed Doors: Chloe Lucas-Walsh

With an intuitive sense for aesthetics and a passion for all things delicious, Chloe dazzles us with bright, beautiful California-inspired dishes. When an autoimmune disorder diagnosis showed up, Chloe turned her focus to food as way to heal, create art, connect with loved ones and find joy in life’s simple pleasures. Today, Chloe Cooks as way to share the transformational power of food with others, always experimenting with ways to add more vegetables to our favorite comfort-based dishes. And while her daily rituals safeguard her health, she isn’t one to turn down a cheeky, delicious plate of pasta. This is food as medicine of the highest magnitude.

What is your food philosophy? 

For me, my cooking is very much cravings, intuition-driven and based on what I have in the fridge, what is seasonal and what I really want to eat that day. I also take inspiration from various cookbooks, dining out, the city I live in and traveling in general. I always try to come up with new recipe ideas depending on what has influenced me. I don’t really follow recipes per se, as I prefer not to follow exact measurements and ingredients. You will see most of my recipes can be made with other ingredients, and I encourage people to put their own spin on it, and to use their natural instinct, too. I think that is the only way you can expand as a cook and gain confidence.

I also do not believe in restricting yourself, but instead to eat everything in moderation. Fresh whole foods, tons and tons of vegetables, the freshest fish or seafood you can find and animal proteins in moderation. 

 

What is the first meal that you remember? 

I grew up in the Midlands, UK but my family had a house in Spain, so growing up I would spend every summer in Calpe and most of my earliest food memories are from that time. I remember the smell of the food so vividly, even now. Walking across the port to go and eat paella is one of them. I have loved food and eating for as long as I can remember. Eating tapas and other types of Spanish food with my family really feels like my earliest food memories. 

 

How did you get into cooking? 

Most likely a classic tale, but my Nanny (Grandma in the UK) was an excellent home cook. She spent most of her time in the kitchen and we (my sister and I) stayed with my Grandparents a lot. We would join her in the kitchen, helping prepare Victoria sponge cakes and her signature sugar cookies. Or her bacon joint and parsley sauce, which I still try to recreate today! 

I really got into cooking and cooking for others whilst I lived in Bristol, UK. We would have dinner parties and garden parties all the time. I lived with 3 other housemates and we all loved to cook. We never really knew who was going to be over for dinner, but it almost always was more than just our household. We all took turns hosting. 

Both of my parents were great cooks and would regularly host dinner parties with their friends, or have big Sunday roast dinners or garden parties filled with family and friends too. It was so inspiring to me and filled our house with joy. I would often go to sleep listening to my parents' dinner parties and people laughing. It was a source of comfort and joy to me, for sure.

 

How do you start the day? 

I usually wake up around 7:30 and have a cup of English breakfast tea with oat milk. I can’t eat breakfast right away, and have been this way all of my life. Around 9 I will make myself some breakfast and a CAP Matcha with oat milk. Breakfast is usually something on toast, most likely an egg, or some kind of tartine. Tomato or cucumber tartine most likely, and always with some dill (my favorite herb) and hot sauce.

I always take my supplements after eating: a multivitamin, turmeric, sea moss, and CAP Beauty's The Light Ray in some water with 2 tablespoons raw, unfiltered tart cherry concentrate (it has incredible antioxidant properties and tastes divine).

Then I usually do 40 mins of HIIT or pilates, depending on what I did the day before in my living room or garden, depending on how strong the sun is already. I will then shower and do my skincare routine. I like to try new things but currently I am loving the Wonder Valley Cleanser. Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum, and Tata Harper Moisturizer. I literally swear by everything Vintner's Daughter. Then I dab on a bit of Supergoop Glow Screen and Olio e Osso cheek tint blush. My look is very minimal make-up and dewy skin. 

 

What's always in your fridge? 

One thing you will quickly learn about me is that I am obsessed with condiments. All condiments. I will always have at least 4 different jars of assorted pickles, some homemade and some shop bought. I am currently obsessed with pickled daikon and I always have the Erewhon Castelvetrano olives, they are the best store bought by far. Partanna olives are also very good. And always lots of different hot sauces, mustards (I could eat the CAP Dark Horse fermented dijon right out of the jar), some kind of leftover beans from the week and always so many vegetables. The vegetables overfloweth! 

 

What’s always in your pantry? 

I will always have tinned fish, red onions, at least 10 cloves of garlic and every vinegar under the sun. I put vinegar on and in anything that makes sense to me and it almost always works! Dried beans of all kinds for making brothy beans and also tinned beans for when I am in a pinch. And at least 5 different kinds of pasta from my local market, Cookbook, they always have the best Italian pasta brands. 

 

What do you turn to, to make you feel your best: food and all the other practices? 

I have RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) and so keeping moving is very important to me. I am just getting back into working out every single day (post surgery) because it makes me feel better, body and mind. I really notice a big difference.

As a teen girl I played hockey, netball, and did all forms of dance and yoga, but I was diagnosed with RA in my mid 20’s and movement changed a lot for me then. My left knee became very badly damaged from the autoimmune disease and I couldn’t walk more than a few blocks. I was in chronic pain. My knee had pretty much disintegrated but I knew that somehow I needed to take my life back. And so at the very young age of 35 I had a total knee replacement and it has completely changed life. I'm me again! I walk everywhere and do things most people might take for granted, which includes working out! I love neighborhood walks with my husband most evenings and I try to swim at least 3 times a week. Swimming is great for me, as it's low impact.

This also plays into what I like to put in my body. I crave green, leafy things to eat all the time, and always have to have an abundance of vegetables with every meal. Green leafy vegetables are anti-inflammatory and so I love to consume them in abundance. Whenever there is pasta, there is always a big juicy, vinegary salad on the side, I love a simple dressing like The ACV and Oracle Olive Oil with a squeeze of lemon. My tartines always contain a plethora of tender herbs and mostly vegetables too, with the odd protein like an egg perhaps. 

I also take time to read each day, and have some quiet time. Usually with some incense or a candle burning. 

 

Favorite kitchen tool? 

The microplane is my favorite gadget out there! I use it for finely grated parmesan, zesting lemons, grating ginger, grating garlic and so much more! I have about 4 of them in my kitchen! 

  

What ingredient are you most excited about right now? 

With it being spring time in LA I am always excited about asparagus season. I want to try to use it in so many different ways. But ultimately my favorite way to enjoy it is simply sautéed in a pan with olive oil and salt until just tender, then served with a poached egg, and garlicky bread crumbs. 

 

Go-to meals that you make for yourself more often than not? 

Pasta. It’s always pasta. You can make pasta really healthy and balanced with all the different noodle options out there now. My cooking style is very much comfort food made healthily. I will always have something to make a delicious sauce, usually vegetable forward, for example tomatoes for a simple tomato confit and caper rigatoni. Or zucchini to make spaghetti al nerrano. I also love classic 'one pot wonders', which are so useful but also feel special enough to host a dinner party. I love the concept of tagine, big pot of mussels, lasagne, slow cooked ragu, some kind of curry, perhaps. And I love preparing the accoutrements that go alongside: breads, multiple dips, a big juicy salad, flavored oils, pickles etc. 

 

 

What are some of your favorite cookbooks?

Cook This Book by Molly Baz

La Buvette by Camille Fourmont

Dining In by Alison Roman

That Sounds So Good by Carla Lailli Music 

A Good Day To Bake by Benjamina Ebuehi 

Polpo by Russel Norman

Nothing Fancy by Alison Roman

Where Cooking Begins by Carla Lailli Music 

Falastin by Sami Tamimi + Tara Wigley

À Table by Rebekah Peppler

 

How do you end your day? 

I am still doing physical therapy two times a week post knee replacement and so I have gotten in the habit of stretching in the evenings and I love it so much. It feels like a really nice way to relax into the evening before making dinner. I will usually put on some jazz or lofi music and take a beat for an hour or so. I then make dinner and catch up with my husband. Before getting into bed, I shower and do my skincare routine and then sleep in one of my beloved cotton nightgowns. I feel like I have leaned into the ‘coastal grandma’ life, unintentionally. Flowy linen is my uniform — day and night. 

 

Top products from CAP? 

Diaspora Pragati Turmeric

Daphnis and Chloe Fragrant Fennel Seeds

In Fiore Nourrit Complexe Face Oil

Noto Botanics Hydra Highlight Stick

CAP Pink Mountain Salt

Dark Horse Umami Ketchup

Wonder Valley Hinoki Body Oil

SMASHED GARLIC CHIVE SWEET POTATOES

Serves 4-6

By Chloe Lucas-Walsh

 

3 medium sweet potatoes 

4 cloves garlic

1 handful of chives, plus more for serving

1 cup labneh or soft plant-based cheese

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for serving

1/4 cup vegetable broth

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Fill a large and deep pan with water and a decent amount of salt (should be salty like the sea) and bring to a boil. Next, peel the sweet potatoes and cut them each into thirds and peel the garlic, but leave them whole.

Once the water is boiling, add the sweet potato and the cloves of garlic. Keep everything at a rolling boil for 25-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are very soft and almost falling apart. When tender, drain the potato and garlic mixture and add them back into the pan.

Next, chop a large handful of chives and add to the potato mixture along with labneh (or similar texture plant based cheese), olive oil, vegetable broth and salt and pepper.

Mash everything together using a potato masher until you reach your desired consistency. i prefer some small lumps, rather than it being completely smooth as I find it more interesting to eat that way. 

Then transfer everything to your favorite serving bowl, garnish the potatoes with more chives, olive oil, flaky sea salt and black pepper on the big grind. 


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