When did you first get in to cooking and do you remember the first recipe you tried?
My dad is a great cook, and I learned a lot from helping him in the kitchen. One of my earliest memories is making pizza with him, and he had me dole out the toppings. Later, in middle school, I started watching The Food Network and learned a lot that way. I loved watching Barefoot Contessa and Everyday Italian, and going to the farmer's market with my dad and trying out recipes with all the gorgeous produce available in Southern California. I was in charge of the salad - roasting peppers on the fire, making vinaigrette, cleaning the lettuce. My signature salad was one with greens, mandarin oranges, feta, and balsamic vinaigrette.
What's your kitchen like and how do you keep organized when cooking?
My kitchen is an open layout in my cozy Brooklyn apartment. I'm admittedly not an organized person -- but a few things I recommend are keeping your knives on a magnetic knife board so they stay sharper longer, and keep your flour/sugar in jars so they stay fresh longer. When I'm making something, I measure out my ingredients beforehand and then combine as the recipe calls for it, so that I don't mis-measure. Also have a partner who is willing to do the dishes after you cook for them (thanks, Bryan!)
What tips would you give to someone wanting to become a better cook?
If you're an absolute beginner, give yourself permission to be a beginner at something. Always read a recipe the whole way through before starting it. Start with easy recipes with ingredients that are hard to mess up (like salad) and work your way up to more complex recipes/ingredients. When you're baking, use a scale for precise measurement.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and what would you cook for them?
Rihanna! I'd make her a really decadent, baller meal like truffle gnocchi, steak, and flourless chocolate cake.
Do you do any other crafts and what are your hobbies?
My main hobbies are cooking and baking, but I also love to paint and I'm getting better at photography. In my free time I love to go on adventures to different neighborhoods in NYC, read, and go to the beach.
Which cooking blogs do you love to read?
For baking, I trust Stella Parks on Serious Eats with my life. For healthy/seasonal cooking, I love Le Petit Eats. For Whole30/Paleo recipes, 40 Aprons. For decadence and just lovely recipes in general, Broma Bakery.