When I think about how I came to enjoy cooking, I immediately think of my grandpa. He’s Italian and an amazing chef. Growing up, I was always in the kitchen with him, watching him make tomato sauce from scratch or searing chicken cutlets and simmering beans for our whole family each and every day.
I also think about grocery shopping, a routine before cooking that I thoroughly take pleasure in. There’s something so relaxing about it! Although, now that I have a 2-year-old who comes with me and wants to open every can and box he can get his hands on, it’s not quite as relaxing.
I love living in Los Angeles because of the abundance — the flourishing produce, the incredible farmers’ markets. They make the everyday so much more lively, and I would miss them so much if I lived anywhere else. We have a number of fruit trees in our yard at home: a persimmon tree, a fig tree, and a lemon tree. I tend to pair seasonal fruits with a cup of coffee every morning, such as oatmeal and ripe persimmons in the fall and fresh figs and almond-butter toast in the summer. It’s a ritual I’ve come to dearly appreciate.
I love living in Los Angeles because of the abundance — the flourishing produce, the incredible farmers’ markets.
Coffee and all of the places I’ve visited have absolutely shaped my relationship with food. Traveling introduced me to new cultures and cuisines I had never tried before and allowed me to experiment more in my own cooking. When my partner, Casey, and I first visited Japan, we were in awe not only of their coffee-making but also of their patience, mindfulness, and willingness to take the time to perfect all that they do. Their rituals and approach to life inspired our own professional and personal endeavors.
Their rituals and approach to life inspired our own professional and personal endeavors.
I grew up in Long Island, about an hour outside the City. I started modeling right after high school, and was fortunate to have that grow into a career (while my role with Canyon Coffee is full-time, I still book jobs here and there). But I had always wanted to do something more that I felt passionate about — something more purposeful, that I could start on my own.
Casey and I used to travel frequently for our respective careers. We would send each other coffee bags from shops we’d visit in different cities because we both loved coffee so much. That sparked our passion, which continued to grow over time and eventually culminated in the idea of creating our own coffee company. We wanted to share the quality of coffee we had discovered, and do so in a way that conveyed all the warmth the coffee ritual brought to our lives.
We hadn’t built a business like this before. We didn’t really have a business plan. We just started with our values, designed a bag, made a website, and began to sell our coffee to local stores and friends. This was 2016.
Now, seven years later, we have our own shop in Echo Park and a team of 25 people. I’m grateful we were able to keep up a steady customer base through the pandemic and onward with our consistent newsletter, social media presence, wholesale partners, and great direct-to-consumer sales.
Work and the baby definitely impact how I cook at home. Namely, they’ve pushed me to become much better at planning ahead. I like to dedicate Sundays to making a big pot of soup or a main dish that Casey and I can eat for a couple of days. We like to keep it simple: warm soup, brown rice, roasted veggies, and a quick dressing.
I like to dedicate Sundays to making a big pot of soup or a main dish that Casey and I can eat for a couple of days.
Today I decided to cook Alison Roman’s spicy white-bean stew with broccoli rabe — one of my favorites. It’s so good, so easy, so hearty, and so affordable. You can add more harissa if you love the spice! I used Dutch Baby to make the stew — it’s wonderful! It’s the perfect size for our home and cooks so evenly.
This year is the first time Casey and I are hosting our family for Thanksgiving in L.A. To be honest, I have no idea what we’re making yet, so I’m excited to start ideating right now! As I don’t eat meat, I usually take charge of cooking the veggies and sides. Roasted squash with cilantro and tahini is a tried-and-true recipe of mine. You also can’t go wrong with a classic green-bean casserole.