NEW YORK, NY
Insured since May 2017
A soy latte
I’m a big Bluegrass fan
Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks
“To do less than your best is a sin.” - Oprah Winfrey
FAVORITE THING ABOUT LEMONADE
How affordable it is!
Hey Lisa! Tell me what you’re passionate about.
I’d say my biggest passion is food and cooking. I’m actually a personal chef in NYC.
What was your journey into becoming a personal chef?
Well, I originally moved to NYC as an actress. I decided to take a break from show biz while I nannied for 4 years. Part of my responsibilities with the family I was working with was cooking elaborate meals. During the summers at their home in Maine, I learned so much about cooking for families – farmer’s markets full of fresh produce and seafood made everything taste better. During the school year, the kids went to school with the Sara Moulton’s children, who was Julia Child’s apprentice and the executive chef of Gourmet Magazine. Sara and I became friends through playdates and Birthday parties for the kids. She encouraged me to take my midwestern sensibilities and my valuable experience in the kitchen and start cooking for other families. So when I left my nanny job, she helped me put together my personal chef business!
What a great story. Who do you cook for now?
Families. Weekly drop-offs are my sweet spot. Picture this – you and your partner work hard, you come home, and the last thing you want to think about is grocery shopping and cooking. So I’ve done all the menu planning, shopping, preparation, and I’ve dropped it off, so you have magical food in your refrigerator right when you get home.
I want that in my life. What do you love about cooking?
My favorite thing to do is to bring spirituality and mindfulness into the practice of cooking. It’s my goal to help people do that more often.
Think about it this way. Let’s say you do yoga, or you go to temple – whatever your spiritual practice is. Once the class is over, or Sunday’s over, what happens? You move on with your life. I want to take spirituality off of the yoga mat and into the world. I want to help people bring it into their kitchen.
What are some ways you bring mindfulness into the kitchen?
There are a few ways. Let’s say I’m making a carrot orange ginger soup, and I’m peeling the carrots. Every stroke, I count my blessings, think about a loved one, or even just take time to reflect. It’s about dedicating activities, instead of mindlessly having to cut 1,000 carrots.
Something else that I do is think about my travels – so when I make tagine, I think about when I was in Morocco. It’s so transporting. A lot of my family hasn’t had the chance to travel – but if you open up your kitchen, you can open up your global map. Get online, pull up a recipe for tagine, and transport yourself there.
I love that. What advice would you give to someone looking to improve their skills in the kitchen?
If you can read, you can cook. If you don’t know how to do something, look it up. Everything’s available online now. And don’t be afraid to screw up – it’s just food, we’re not curing cancer. It’s not like you have only one opportunity to get it right. You can work on that stew a few different times to figure it out. Also, positive thought and intention are the real deal. Intend for it to be delicious, instead of being like ‘this is going to suck.’ You’ll be halfway there to making it delicious, just in your own thoughts. That’s just one piece of advice – I have many others!
You need to take pride in what you’re doing when you preparing food for someone you love, especially yourself. You’re nourishing a human, and be mindful of that. Don’t be like ‘oh this is no big deal, because it’s just for me.’ No! You’re a big deal. My mantra is that everyone is a VIP when it comes to food, and everyone deserves to have access to a good meal. That’s why hunger is an issue very close to my heart.
Do you ever do any work to fight hunger?
I sure do. I actually chose Citymeals on Wheels as my Giveback cause for Lemonade! When I was scrolling through and picking my cause, I was so happy to see you offer one I care about – feeding impoverished New Yorkers. Also, a few times a year, I donate my services to silent auctions at fundraising events. Everything I do goes back to my mantra: no matter who you are, everyone is a VIP when it comes to food.