side dish - what's stirring in indie kitchens

Side Dish!

chef/owner: wendy landiak
location: balasia, emmaus, pa
recipe: miso stew

Audio Clip why vegan?

Opening Statement
I would like to start by saying my experience is constantly changing, therefore my answers may be totally different tomorrow, but because we would like this to be semi-interesting I will answer, for the moment, knowing that tomorrow something may happen to change my mind entirely on a subject/person/place etc....

Culinary influences?
Any person who has ever cooked a meal for me & every flavor/flavor combination that these taste buds have touched —entire countries and cultures.

Where did you learn to cook?
I think that I was born with this. I learned that I could do it when I did it, which is a little different than learning by doing. I love to experiment and explore. Right now I am doing this through food.

Favorite cookbook?
The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Yamuna Devi. This book is amazing. I love Indian cooking and this book is a complete exploration. I also view cooking as an art form, I love to make the food look as beautiful as it tastes. I also love ASIA-The Beautiful Cookbook …well, simply, for the pictures —the recipes are good too.

What's the one ingredient you could not live without?

Favorite Microbrew beer or wine?
I love champagne. I love Asti's. —for beer I love Lambics. I have a sweet palate when it comes to beer and wine, it may be because I view it as its own cuisine and generally drink it on its own. I see it in the same light as dessert, enjoyed entirely and not too much, but not to be hypocritical you must have sake with Japanese food.

Favorite music to listen to while cooking?
I love Indian folk music- it gets me in the mood I love The Cat —Cat Stevens that is. Generally, as long as the music is going I am alright. I love sung mantras. I love independent music. My neighbor just produced a cd- and it is great it is called The New Earth- Circle of Stones Ritual Theatre Ensemble produced by Scott Eggert (my neighbor) and River Guerguerian.

What is your favorite type of food?
I love all food, therefore, I love fusion done well.

Most memorable meal?
Samosas in India from a roadside stand, and an Indian Thali served at The Krishna Ashram in Gangotri India. It was the most perfect meal —the setting, the people, the intention, the love.

Most memorable dinner guest?
My parents.

Most irritating celebrity chef?
WE (people) are all annoying in our own way; therefore i will not call anyone out on their stuff. I must admit that I do watch all of the reality chef shows when I can. I actually love Anthony Bourdain's show No Reservations.

What makes indie food better?
Indie food has personality. Indie food has real flavor. Indie food is a true expression of one's art, it is their personality on a plate. Their passion/love/energy being passed on to the person who receives it. As a diner, your food has a story and you can and do make that story a part of your life just by walking in the door. You become a part of something special, you become a part of a dream.

Know a chef that would be great for Side Dish?
Contact Robyn Jasko, Side Dish Editor, at [email protected]