Why focus on plant-based cooking?
When you’re just using raw, organic, plant-based ingredients you can feel good about what you’re serving. As a chef I prefer to cook from a daily perspective—creating meals that sustain you rather than dishes that are more like a treat and unhealthy to eat regularly—and that means I always need to be thinking of new ways to make food that’s beautiful but healthy. I try not to repeat recipes so it’s all about staying on your toes to keep dishes fresh.
What kind of shift are you seeing in regards to general healthy eating?
Gluten-free and paleo is asked for and appreciated a lot. It wasn’t that long ago that restaurants didn’t have gluten-free options. Now, people are starting to understand that there are major health effects to these allergens.
Any specific ingredients clients or guests have requested?
I’m getting a lot of questions about grain-free options, things like banana flour made from dried bananas or cassava flour. Those ingredients can open up a whole new world for those who need an alternative option.
How do you approach catering from a health and wellness focus?
When I’m cooking for events like yoga and health retreats, I’m able to create menus designed around a specific kind of therapy. So, if I’m cooking for a retreat focused on emotional release, where attendees will be working through some intense emotions, I’ll focus on comforting, grounded, root-based recipes. My goal is to pair food with the experience and cook for your well-being based on seasons, stress levels, etc.
Your new restaurant, Brim, serves plant-focused bowls. Do you have a mission for the restaurant?
People know vegetables are something they need more of and, if they’re seasoned and cooked right, they will. To make vegetables taste good, to help people eat and crave healthy foods—that’s the goal. Eating healthfully doesn’t have to be bland and boring.
Have you seen a trend in your clients’ health-focused goals?
Many of our guests are shifting away from ingredients that cause inflammation such as sugar, dairy, and wheat. We try to include as much turmeric, ginger, matcha, reishi mushrooms, apple cider vinegar and colorful organic produce in our dishes as possible.