Louise gets most excited about creating FASTER and SIMPLER ways to cook and eat nutritious, gourmet food. As a former attorney and physicist, she understands how easy it is to run out of time and energy, even when you really want to eat better or lose weight. For that reason, AncestralChef.com focuses only on the most important changes to your diet and your life that will make the biggest difference for your health.
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 have always enjoyed food and eating, but I used to HATE cooking. It seemed like a hassle and a waste of time when there were frozen meals and take-out so readily available. Besides instant ramen noodles, I barely cooked anything until I was in my mid-twenties.
That’s when I started trying out low-carb and Paleo lifestyles, which forced me to start preparing some of my own meals. I wasn’t too happy about it at first. Bacon and eggs got a bit tiring after a few weeks, so I started experimenting more and more.
It was thinking about my mother that inspired me the most. Even though she works full-time as an engineer in Silicon Valley, she still finds time to come home and cook from scratch every single night. This has been the case ever since I was born, and she has always worked or studied full-time.
Eating out at a ton of fantastic restaurants in California and in New York really helped to inspire me to go beyond traditional recipes and to really experiment with different ideas. And coming from a scientific background, it was this experimentation and discovery process that really led me to love cooking. There’s still a ton of ideas I want to try out, and I feel like I’m just starting on this exciting journey.
Q: Why is eating grass-fed meat and sustainably-caught fish different? How does it affect your cooking?
For the most part, I’ve found that grass-fed meat and sustainably-caught fish can be cooked in the same way as grain-fed meat and farm-raised fish. And this is a good thing.
I can easily pick up any recipe I love (or that I just want to try out) and simply replace the meat with grass-fed meat or sustainably-caught fish.
That’s not to say that grass-fed meat and sustainably-caught fish don’t taste different sometimes, but that’s less important to me than the fact that I’m still able to cook amazing dishes without having to modify them every time.
Q: Is it just about health? Or is there more to it than that?
While I started eating grass-fed meat, organic produce, and sustainably-caught fish for its nutritious value, I soon realized that it goes beyond that.
It’s fantastic to be in a position to make a choice to support and grow the sustainable farming community so that it reaches a wider audience and gains greater traction globally. It makes every bite taste even better!
Q: How did you learn about grass-fed meat?
I recall meeting someone who told me I should buy an entire cow direct from a grass-fed farmer and store it in my freezer. I was really shocked at the concept of an entire cow in my tiny 500 square foot apartment.
I never did that (we simply couldn’t store even a quarter-cow), but I did start buying mostly grass-fed meat shortly after that.
Q: Why is it so important to have the right ingredients?
I have always believed that great food can only come from great ingredients.
Every single top-notch restaurant I have ever eaten at served food with amazingly fresh ingredients. You just can’t get that fresh flavor without it. My latest restaurant visit (to the 3-Michelin-star Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa, CA) reinforced this point even further — many of their ingredients were sourced from their own gardens (they even had a forager on staff to go out and forage at 3am in the morning!).
Q: What are the most important keys to success for the home chef?
A slow cooker. Patience. And a willingness to try something new.
Q: What are your best tips for home cooking?
Get a slow cooker. I know every great chef will cringe at hearing my words, but in order to get dinner on the table without slaving away for hours every night after a full day’s work, I need a bit of help. And a slow cooker really helps (especially when it comes to cooking delicious fall-apart meat effortlessly).
Q: What is your favorite recipe using grass-fed meat?
I love steak, and so any good grass-fed steak recipe is amazing to me. Personally, I love just pan-frying a seasoned filet mignon in a bit of olive oil (and sometimes a bit of butter) with a stalk of rosemary. It’s simple yet always delicious!