What is your food philosophy?
If someone tells me "try this" I always do. Trust a hand that wants to feed you!
How did you get into cooking?I think cooking got into me. Food and the culture built around it has always been an integral part of my life. I think all it took was traveling and exposure to hone in on the idea that I could actually make a living and a name for myself while I explored all the possibilities of culinary creativity.
How do you start the day?
My morning routine is very dependent on where I am in the world, however, a cup of very strong coffee is always in hand. When home in NYC, the first thing I do is feed my dog, RITA, and then take her for a walk with my man Daniel. When cooking on a sailboat my rise and shine is with the sun, followed by a jump in the ocean and some stretching. When cooking on yoga retreats and for private clients I usually like to get up and jump rope or do some sort of cardio to get my adrenaline pumping before I start making coffee and breakfast spreads. Luckily my beauty routine is so fucking basic... I stopped using face wash years ago when I realized that my sensitive skin works best with cold cold water followed by Costa Brazil oils. My friends all joke that I love to be oiled up, but it's true!!! Costa Brazil on my face, neck, and chest then either Coconut Oil or Ayurvedic Sesame Oil on my body with a few drops of Texas Cedar Wood essential oil for my trademark scent. I always carry rose water with me and I find it is a good "wake me up / pick me up" no matter what time of day.
What's always in your fridge?
I am a big lover of condiments, sauces, spreads, dips and pickles. There is an ever rotating cast to choose from in my fridge all of whom reflect the given season. I also focus a lot on overall gut health so there is always Kimchi, Fermented Probiotic Drinks, homemade coconut yogurt, kombucha and sauerkrauts. This summer has been a blast because my garden has gone absolutely crazy so I have been able to make unique pickles and utilize a lot of the chili pepper varieties that I've grown for hot sauces and chili paste. The bounty of herbs has been difficult to keep up with on a culinary level so I have started brewing teas that I then chill and have on hand for cocktails, stocks, and general consumption. Here is a breakdown of some of those said goodies in my fridge....
DIPS & SAUCES:
Green & Red Zhug
Scallion & Ginger Dip
Feta Peach Pepita Spread
Charred Habanada Pepper & Labne
Confit Sungolds (ALL TIME FAVORITE!!!)
Jalapeño & Turnip
Salt & Sugar Beets
Thai Chili Plum & Nectarine
Garlic & Bayleaf Fairytale Eggplant
Hawthorne Valley Sauerkraut (classic & beet)
Homemade Kimchis (cabbage & ginger / cabbage & scallion)
Homemade Coconut Yogurt or Cocojune
Thai Basil & Lemon Thyme
Shiso & Honey
Lemon Verbena & Ginger Root
Liquorice Root & Purple Basil
ALWAYS IN MY FRIDGE...
Market Greens: sweet potato greens, spinach, mustard, wild arugula
Zucchini or Squash
What’s always in your pantry?
Great Olive Oil, currently obsessed with Sant'Ana and always loyal to Pianogrillo. Maldon, Pink and Sea Salt...I love getting local salts when I travel because it is a portrait of a place. Spices & Herbs; my arsenal of fresh & dried chilis is insane and I am a huge advocate for the power of fresh herbs in and on any dish or beverage.
Nuts & Seeds are also a game changer; adding a textural layer and a depth of flavor is easily attained with the addition of a whole, crushed or powdered nut or seed.
Farm eggs, I do not mess around with just any egg. I have been buying from Quattro's Farm at the Union Square Green Market for over a decade and they have great chicken, duck and pheasant eggs. But if I am sourcing in a supermarket then I think Vital Farms is the best option out there.
Greens & Grains; I am a lover of salad and I always have spinach, arugula and mustard readily available. I am also obsessed with rice, though I don't have a "signature dish" I think the thing I make the most is a rice bowl of some sort. The only rice I use now comes from The Rice Factory which imports the entire grain from various regions in Japan and then they locally mill in New York so that all their products have the highest level of nutritional value and flavor possible... it's INCREDIBLE!
What do you turn to, to make you feel your best: food and all the other practices?
Back to rice... I am most comforted when consuming rice. Because I use a high quality grain I also keep the rice water for tea or a facial/hair mist. I could enjoy it by itself or as the base for a beautiful meal, but when I need a culinary hug she's my gal. Dance and dancers. Movement makes me the best version of myself and those that share that mindset tend to gravitate towards one another. The power of music and physical expression changes a person for the better, ALWAYS. I think it's hard to just shake off a bad day, but I definitely think you can shake it up and invite positivity into your spirit with movement.
Favorite kitchen tool?
A sharp knife.
What would we be most surprised to find in your kitchen?
Cinnamon Sugar Pop Tarts. I don't eat them anymore, but one of my best friends from childhood always had them at her house. I grew up in a health food household so going to friend's houses for junk food was a treat. When I moved into my new apartment in November my friend's mom sent me a care package with a box of my favorite childhood Pop Tarts. I keep them as a visual reminder of love.
What ingredient are you most excited about right now?
SUNGOLDS and STONE FRUIT!!! I am a summer baby, LEO PRIDE, so summer fruits and vegetables have always been close to my heart. There is nothing sexier than a juicy nectarine or peach and nothing more sensual than the burst of a sweet sungold in your mouth.
Dream dinner party guests?
My parents and my best friends. But if I could cook for two women that have influenced me greatly it would be Anais Nin & Ayn Rand.
Who is inspiring you in the food world right now?
Anyone making food and filling the souls and bellies of others.
What are some of your favorite cookbooks?
Not a huge cookbook person. I do love Zahav by Michael Solmonv & Vegetables by Jeremy Fox.
How do you cultivate creativity, any rituals or routines you rely on?
I talk to myself a lot. I ask for help a lot. I listen A LOT. I adapt. A LOT.... REPEAT.
How do you end your day?
In the arms of the person I love most in the world.
Go-to meal that you make for yourself more often than not?
I sound like a broken record... RICE BOWLS. I also love a great bowl of cereal. Flannery, my best friend & business partner, and I have a granola called "CEREAL KILLER" which is sweet, savory, crunchy and chewy. I love having that with prunes and some sort of fresh seasonal fruit with hazelnut milk. If I am craving protein, usually fish, I think a delicious crudo or carpaccio would be my go to.CAPNOLA, SOFT EGG, CHILI, GREENS.