Side Dish! February 2007

served by:
high vibe health and healing

Culinary influences?
Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California. Since the early ‘70s her commitment to organic, fresh, local, sustainable, seasonal produce has set her apart from the rest. Anyone with an unwavering commitment to the integrity of food. Parents who don’t simply feed but nourish their children, and in turn our communities by creating whole people with whole foods. Organic farmers, food activists, conscious eaters, over-eaters, the chronically ill, the next generation---these people inspire me to go further.
Where did you learn to cook?
I’m still learning. I was lucky to grow up in California, an area of the country where fresh produce is readily available, and food is well respected. I think I picked up on that, but it was only a few years ago when the cooking bug bit. I knew I wanted to figure out how to combine food, art, sensory experience and health. So, I packed up and moved to New York City to attend The Natural Gourmet Institute for Health & Culinary Arts, as well as the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

Favorite cookbook?
My first real indie cookbook was How it all Vegan, a great Vegan cookbook by two crafty, super cute best friends. It’s really basic, but they talk about easy vegan substitutions, household remedies, and beauty products---It’s a really fun book! These days…I don’t know, I don’t really use any particular one consistently, I float around. I do agree that the Joy of Cooking is the cook’s bible, a great reference for just about any anything.

What’s the one ingredient you couldn’t live without?
I’d have to say extra-virgin coconut oil. It’s so versatile in the kitchen, especially in raw foods preparation----I use it in all my raw desserts. Its health benefits are numerous, plus it’s hands-down the best facial moisturizer ever!

Favorite music to listen to while cooking?
Depends on what I’m cooking. I love to listen to NPR while I make breakfast, or do early morning baking. When I am in the kitchen all day I like to listen to old mix tapes, The Magnetic Fields, Modest Mouse. After 5, it’s Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Built to Spill, or Tom Waits, circa 1975.

Favorite Microbrew beer or wine?
I love organic red wines, I don’t really have a favorite but try to choose local whenever possible.

Favorite type of food?:
Fresh, colorful, imaginative. Just about anything really. I’m a sucker for a good curry. Fried plantains, mango salsa, fresh tortillas.

Most memorable meal?
Hard one… Perhaps the first time I ate at Café Gratitude, a raw food restaurant in San Francisco.

Most memorable dinner guest?
That’s too hard. I can’t think of one in particular. I love eating with people, dinner parties, or just enjoying a good meal with friends and family.

Most irritating celebrity chef?
I don’t really keep up on the celebrity cooking scene.

What makes indie food better?
Knowing you are supporting real people, not corporations. We are in jeopardy of losing our ability to choose which companies we support due to homogenization. Your dollar doesn’t make a dent in the bank account of the big guys but supporting your local indie restaurant makes a world of difference. And, by doing so, you are more likely to support your local farmers. Plus, you are experiencing food that is the passion of its creators, more intimate and interesting. Forming a relationship with the people who bring the food to your table is one major step towards community building; You’re not going to get an experience like that at a nationwide or worldwide food chain.

Who’s more your type---Aunt Jemima or Mrs. Butterworth?:
Orville Redenbacher or Quaker Oats?:
Know a chef that would be great for Side Dish?
Contact Robyn Jasko, Side Dish Editor, at [email protected]
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