Meet The Evolved Foodie:
Some background: I’m Rachel Weingarten, and while you might recognize me from someplace else*, for the purposes of this blog, I’m an avid home chef on my ever evolving journey toward food enlightenment. In a previous incarnation I founded (and ultimately sold) a wildly popular low-fat mini muffin bakery; one of – if not the first business of its kind, approved by the FDA. A few years ago I informally launched a small batch jam, jelly, and preserves company specializing in corporate gifting and local events.
It runs in the family:
I come from a family of phenomenal cooks, bakers and food professionals and one of the things I love to do most is cook and entertain. My earliest memories are of sitting on the kitchen counter next to my mother while she whipped up something delicious, either for family or guests. My parents encouraged this budding foodie by eating just about everything I ever prepared for them- runny eggs, half-cooked meat and all (I still cringe when I think about that dish).
I’m so fancy:
While my dream has always been to attend culinary school, I’m not formally trained. I have however, have been incredibly fortunate to have cooked or baked with some of the most creative, innovative and internationally recognized chefs in the world in private classes, one on one events or their home kitchens. Learning how to make edible dandelion greens from Adam Sobel of the Cinnamon Snail was a blast; debating Hanukkah sufganiyot vs. Cronuts with Dominique Ansel, put a whole new perspective on the humble doughnut. Talking chocolate development in depth with Godiva Executive Chef Chocolatier Thierry Muret inspired me to want to cover everything in chocolate; preparing an almost entirely vegetarian friendly Thanksgiving feast with Peter Berley was more of a challenge though. Baking and discussing the future of cookies at the Nestlé headquarters in Solon, Ohio alongside eight internationally acclaimed chefs including Michael Laiskonis (check out our group’s cookies in the pic), Lior Lev Sercarz, Johnny Iuzzini, Karen Demasco, Lucien Vendome, Maura Kilpatrick, Rickard Capizzi, Robert Fedorko and Sherry Yard (who generously shared her recipe for Arancini) was pretty much a culinary high point! I’ve also interviewed many an award-wearing professional toque wearer and learned some of the lesser known tricks of the culinary trade. And I once hung out in Rachael Ray’s dressing room schmoozing with Valerie Bertinelli while Rachael filmed her show, that was strangely satisfying in a way I can’t quite describe…
Cooking and baking have always been part of my off-hours meditation, but I’m even more mindful of ingredients and balance these days. While I cook most often for my fella and I, I also cook or bake for family or friends several times each week.
I started The Evolved Foodie, because while I once followed every food trend- the more outrageous or exotic the better- I now work hard to eat and cook more healthily. My daily meals include a constantly evolving menu, interesting ingredients, and involve far too many gadgets. I’m not anti-meat, but am mostly a vegetarian, though from time to time I might include meat or fowl dishes I’ve prepared- usually for others. Some of the ingredients I don’t cook or bake with are: sugar, flour, artificial or processed sweeteners, sugar alcohol sweeteners or anything like Stevia or monk fruit- I’ll probably blog about that at some point.
*I’m the author of 3 award winning non-fiction books- Ancient Prayer: Channeling Your Faith 365 Days of the Year; Career and Corporate Cool, and Hello Gorgeous! Beauty Products in America ’40s-’60s. It’s possible that you know me as a prolific writer and columnist contributing to top tier outlets including The Guardian, The New York Times, Esquire, Fortune, CNN.com, Forbes and a regular contributor to amNew York, Parade.com, Ladders, the Bowflex Insider and food related features for TheKitchn and CommunityTable. Or maybe you’ve seen me quoted in outlets/appearing on new programs ranging from ABC News, Good Morning America, The Today Show, the AP to the Wall Street Journal, Glamour and many others. It’s possible that you’ve heard me speak, seen me lecture in my work as a Beauty Historian or taken one of my undergrad or graduate level classes at NYU, FIT or Parsons School of Design. Then again, it’s entirely possible you remember me from the show I created/wrote and acted as on-air talent for on CNN, “Enterprising Women” which profiled female entrepreneurs. And in my guise as a female entrepreneur, I’m the founder and president of 729 Marketing and Cannabuzz.NYC and have consulted for, created or implemented marketing strategies and promotions for clients including American Idol, Christina Aguilera, Irish Board of Tourism, Rakuten, Dansko Shoes, Shu Uemura, Macy’s, The Gossip Girl book and TV series and many more.
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