Photo Credit: BFA/Carl Timpone
A small town outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania, is where I grew up, on the edge of suburban and rural living. We went to the local dairy farm for milk and visited the farmers market for produce. I made ice cream on the back porch with my Dad and grew herbs and vegetables in my garden.
After surviving a childhood bout with cancer, I struggled with weight and other health issues, finally turning things around in my early twenties when I began consuming a mostly plant-based diet rich in whole foods. The improvements in my health and well-being were so profound that I was inspired to quit my job on Wall Street and enroll in the Chefs Training Program at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts. Since, I've worked in the kitchens of high-end restaurants, cleanse companies, school cafeterias, private homes, pop-up events and, for the last three years, an organic farm. Farming has completely changed the way that I think about food -- and life, in myriad ways.
There are two things that I tell each and every one of my clients on a regular basis: no single diet is right for everyone and everything in moderation.
Though I strongly believe in a diet based on leafy greens and fresh fruits and vegetables, we are all unique beings requiring different foods to look and feel our best. What we choose to build upon that plant-based foundation with, depends on many different factors. I strive to support clients' unique needs and goals through highly personalized menus comprised of whole, real foods that are local, seasonal and organic whenever possible. Ingredients are sourced from local farms and purveyors, natural foods markets and, when animal protein is requested, grass fed, pastured, sustainable and compassionate practices are what I look for.
Not only is no single diet right for everyone, but adhering to a strict regimen at all times is unsustainable and often leads to burn out and binge-eating. There are also many a marketing campaign and "wellness guru" that will try to persuade us to consume the latest "superfood" or partake in the trendiest health-food craze. The best advice is this: everything in moderation -- and, yes, that includes kale.
In addition to the services I offer to private clients, I'm also the chef at Bhumi Farms, a not-for-profit, certified organic farm in East Hampton, NY, where we host hyper-local and seasonal dinners in the field at 131 Pantigo Road.
I'm also a public class instructor at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health & Culinary Arts. Upcoming classes listed below:
September 13, 2017@6:30PM: DIY Detox, Fall Menu
November 7, 2017@6:30PM: Autumn Vegan Farm-to-Table Cooking
December 6, 2017@6:30PM: Holiday Harvest