What is your food philosophy?
Food is an opportunity to connect more deeply with nature and the One that is breathing all life. Sharing meals around a table is the way we commune. Within this experience, the attitude of open respect for all life and an honoring of each person’s journey is key. If you have brought violence or separation into your kitchen, you have missed the point entirely.
How did you get into cooking?
I started cooking with my college boyfriend out of a Bon Appétit magazine. He was of French origins. And that was the beginning.
Tell us about SriMu and how it came to be.
It came to be after serving SriMu at many large events and seeing the spreads literally devoured by all types of people including children. My European friends begged me to start producing and I knew that I had created something extraordinary in the space of plant based cheeses that rivaled the best of dairy cheese. I had been a fashion designer in the 90’s and I took my time really feeling into the kind of company I wanted to create. I worked for eight months on the branding with my friend, O’Hara who is a fine artist and a literal word monk. The result was divine. SriMu is truly a devotional offering for life that is artfully crafted with awareness and intention, making an uplifting shift for our health, our animals, our planet and our children.
What's always in your fridge?
E3 Live, probiotic coconut yogurt, SriMu collection, coconut water, fresh organic fruits of the season, fresh organic leafy greens and herbs: mint, lavender, oregano, sage, thyme, lemongrass, some variety of fresh mushroom such as lion’s mane, shiitake or king trumpet, sprouted organic tofu, miso paste, fresh dates, Ascended Health marine phytoplankton, lemons, lemons and more lemons.
What’s always in your pantry?
The best chai spice, organic ghee, coconut sugar, raw cashews, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, chia seeds, goji berries, raw cacao powder, coco-butter, Egyptian spices, saffron, vanilla bean, Milli plant based milks and spirulina.
What has your journey with food taught you about yourself?
I was always a skinny person and I could eat whatever I wanted without gaining weight. I was raised in Alaska and we ate a lot of game meat that my father hunted without any emotional issues around food. It was sort of an “eat when you’re hungry” atmosphere. Later in life I developed a large cyst in my neck which gave me the gift of refining my connection to food as medicine. I worked with an Ayurvedic physician who prescribed a predominantly plant-based diet along with herbs and supported my body to heal itself fully. This shifted my perspective entirely, to one of using food to feed my body temple.
Can you share a bit about the sacred and devotional way you prepare food?
Food preparation can be a powerful ritual infused with deep devotion, reverence and intention. In this manner, food becomes a living prayer. Keeping the sacred fire in the heart or hearth of the home has a lineage of spiritual powers infused in our humanity and keeps us connected to our divinity. If one enters a culinary experience in this frequency and in collaboration with the nature spirits, the elements and the higher aspects of myself and all those gathering at my table - with that, food becomes literally medicinal nourishment for the body, heart and soul.
How do you define nourishment?
Nourishment can be experienced in many forms. Through light, sound, breath, smell, taste, touch and divine communion. Food is the main mana for our bodies and with intention this can be greatly expanded.
SriMu is so so so delicious! What drew you to creating a plant-based cheese company?
After creating almost 500 plant-based recipes that are contained in my cookbooks, The Plantpower Way, This Cheese Is Nuts and The Plantpower Way; Italia, I was blown away by what I could create with plant-based cheeses. I sort of cracked the code on creating cheesy, tangy, full bodied NOT cheeses that are made with pure ingredients and free of the gross gooey textures of many vegan cheeses. SriMu is the next evolution of cheese. I’m not asking you to give up your love of cheese, I just made it better.
What do you turn to, to make you feel your best: food and all the other practices?
As a mystic, I live my life in devotion always looking for the signs of communication from the beyond. This has given my life deep meaning and a miraculous energy that guides my days and nights.
Favorite kitchen tool?
What would we be most surprised to find in your kitchen?
My old wok from college, with no handle.
What ingredient are you most excited about right now?
A Biosoma formulation from Ascended Health created by my dear spiritual bother, PHD and microbiologist Compton Rom Bada. We are collaborating on a new line of microbial SriMu flavors that will populate your gut for optimum vitality.
What are some of your favorite cookbooks?
I don’t use cookbooks! I make every meal connected in presence as if it’s the first time and a unique journey of discovery and following my creative flow.
Go-to meal that you make for yourself more often than not?
I cook in a Donabe pot, usually turmeric infused jasmine rice, dandelion greens, chlorella soba noodles and fresh mushrooms. Or in the morning, chia pudding with spirulina and coconut yogurt topped with goji berries.
How do you infuse food with healing energy?
Well, there are many ways of doing this, but what's the essential ingredient, no matter the modality, is your fully embodied radical presence. And when I say 'your presence', I don't mean that of the personality. It's about stepping out of the way and becoming an open vessel for divine energy (the divine presence which is at the core of your being) to move through you. In this way, we have the opportunity to tap into the universal healing force and infuse the food with it. So, in practical terms, you have to let go of distractions, expectations, any ego-driven ideas, anything you're holding really, in order to be fully available for this energy to come through.
What do you see as the first step towards preparing food in devotion?
Clearing the space, sanctifying the space, creating a conducive atmosphere (inner and outer) and holding the intention to stay open and receptive, grounded and present, being in service and in love - for the highest good of all. I guess those are a few things, though they are equally important. Another thing that's related to this, is to do an offering of the food that you've co-created, before you start eating it. It is part of the expression of devotion. And so are the food prayers and blessings found in many wisdom traditions.
Could you share a prayer or blessing you use to honor your food?
Again, there are numerous things one can do and/or say to honor your food. What's important is that you do what resonates at depth with you. Saying someone else's prayer but not feeling it deeply doesn't do any good. So, before I start cooking I clear the field, open myself up to the universal energy to move through me, from all dimensions and timelines, in whatever way is in service to those I cook for. I ask to be used as a vessel to create the most extraordinary nurturing and healing foods, simply put. There are traditional Vedic mantras/chants that are equally powerful to recite before you eat - which are all about seeing the food, the creation process, all the forces that have been involved for its preparation, as well as the co-creators (the cooks) as emanations of the divine force. For those of you who have kids, there are wonderful Waldorf/Steiner food blessings that can help kids learn to infuse their food with love and gratitude early on in life. This is of course also a beautiful ritual to do with the whole family around the table, to pause and be grateful.
SRIMU KALE SALAD
Makes 1 large salad or 2 side salads
By Julie Piatt
1 bunch kale, washed, stems removed, and chopped
1/4 wheel SriMu (Spire, Dolce Vita, Elder)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup purple cabbage, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups chickpeas
3 tablespoons pepperoncinis, chopped
1 cup cucumber, sliced if desired
Salt to taste
Add the kale to a large bowl. Drizzle with lemon. Add the SriMu wheel and massage deeply into the kale. This breaks down the cell walls, makes the kale bright and less bitter. Then add the remaining ingredients and toss. Serve and enjoy!