Q: How did you get involved in cooking to begin with? Was it something you learned to love early on or did you come to it later?
I hated the kitchen growing up. I had three brothers who my mom let play outside while I was made to peel carrots. I envied their freedom and didn’t like being stuck inside. I learned a lot about cooking, but since I hated it so much it didn’t do me much good. It wasn’t until 2005 that I got into the Paleo diet and quit eating processed foods. It was then that I finally started cooking.
Q: Why is eating grass-fed meat and sustainably-caught fish different? How does it affect your cooking?
I used to be a vegetarian because I didn’t agree with factory animal farming. Once I learned that there were actually animals out there who lived out their lives on real grass farms (yes, there was a time when I didn’t know that) I started eating meat again. Cooking dishes with meat in them was somehow more satisfying than cooking pastas and rice. Grass-fed meats and fish allowed to feed on their natural diets offer more nutrition than their grain-fed counterparts. They are different to cook with because they offer a richer flavor and they are somewhat lower in fat.
Q: Is it just about health? Or is there more to it than that?
Obviously the nutrition that grass-fed animals offer is important because we require nutrients to be healthy but there are other factors which are important to me too. The impact on the planet from the animal’s acidic excrement, the danger of GMO grain crops spreading, and the suffering of hundreds of thousands of animals living their lives out in ill health is not something I want to support.
Q: How did you learn about grass-fed meat?
I don’t even remember but I think it might have been a friend in college.
Q: Why is it so important to have the right ingredients?
For me it’s all about nutrition. If I didn’t have to eat to stay healthy (and alive) I probably wouldn’t even bother. Animals fed their natural diet (grass for cows, bugs and worms for chickens, etc.) have more nutrients inside their tissues. When I eat healthier animals I eat more nutrients and that keeps me healthy.
Q: What are the most important keys to success for the home chef?
I spent years cooking fancy meals even though I didn’t like cooking. I wanted to offer my family healthier food but I also was desperate to recreate many of the dishes I had given up after going Paleo. A lot of people will burn out after a while of this. I sure did! I didn’t give up the diet but I quit cooking my food and ate a raw primal diet for a couple of years. I cook again now, but I typically keep my meals very simple. Unless it’s a special occasion I don’t cook with more than five ingredients at a time.
Q: What are your best tips for home cooking?
- Keep it simple most of the time.
- Don’t worry about the size of your kitchen and the quality of utensils.
- Prepare the foods you love, with love.
Q: What is your favorite recipe using grass-fed meat?
Beef Carpaccio hands down.