May 27, 2020 | Newsletters
Perhaps this edition finds you cooking in your kitchen, as so many of us are spending much more time there these days. The kitchen has always been a natural gathering place for families, and we all know good home-cooked meals do wonders for the soul.
We recently shared some recipes perfect for getting kids more involved in the most important room in house. Today, we’re switching gears as we begin to share steps on how to get more comfortable and confident in the kitchen. After all – food should be fun!
No one knows more about demystifying the kitchen and making good, healthy food accessible than Alfia Muzio. Alfia is a maestro when it comes to helping people build organized kitchen spaces, smart shopping lists and new cooking skills. This week, we’re kicking off a multi-part series with Alfia in which she shares a bit about her background and her thoughts for more enjoyable cooking.
Take it away, Alfia!
Meet Alfia Muzio!
Food writer, chef, small business owner and lifelong lover of food!
Can you share some background on your professional journey?
I’ve always loved to be in the kitchen, and I ended up going to culinary school at night while I started a legal career! I guess I couldn’t make up my mind! Eventually, I hung up my business casual outfit and started working in restaurants. From there I did a lot of cooking – in restaurants, as a caterer and as a private chef. I also wrote for food magazines. When I became a mom, I went back to restaurants for a little bit, but I knew I needed to start my own business because the professional kitchen lifestyle was really hard to make work with motherhood.
Tell us about your business – Vestal. What is your overall mission, and what kinds of projects are you currently working on for clients?
My mission is pretty simple! I love eating, and I love cooking. Even more than that, I think that the everyday act of sharing a meal with our families is so important. With Vestal, my goal is to help busy people make that happen with as little stress as possible. As I became a mom and talked to more parents in my community, I realized that there were a few things holding people back from feeling good in the kitchen. It was time, and space, and know-how. So at Vestal, I’m really trying to solve those problems with organizing, efficient grocery and pantry strategies and cooking lessons with personalized recipes.
How did you first get interested in nutrition, cooking and succeeding in the kitchen?
I grew up with an amazing mom who cooked dinner almost every night. I loved to watch her cook and help make dinner. I also weirdly always loved to grocery shop! My favorite thing to do in a new place is to check out the grocery store to see what’s new or different than I’m used to. My interest in nutrition was just a natural extension of cooking every night! I played a lot of sports growing up too, so I could see the connection. How I was eating could really change how I felt and how much energy I had on the field.
How did you discover Olivia’s Organics? What are your favorite products?
I found Olivia’s at my local organic food store. Even though I live in New York City, there is still a little mom and pop health food store in my neighborhood that I go to all the time. They always have Olivia’s products, so I always have Olivia’s spinach in my fridge! It’s such a versatile green. It’s a nutritional powerhouse, you can eat in raw in a salad, cooked, or throw it in a smoothie. And my kids find it way more palatable than kale. Basically a perfect food!
What’s the #1 thing you wish more people knew about prepping their kitchens and cooking at home?
I wish people wouldn’t be so hard on themselves! It doesn’t have to be perfect or complicated.
How would you describe your kitchen philosophy in one sentence?
Clean as you go!
How has your business shifted in light of COVID-19?
Well, people are cooking a lot more, but they’re also cooking a lot differently. I’m getting a lot of requests for healthy baked goods, and obviously doing a lot of video lessons! A lot of people are also living with parents or grandparents right now and are having to cook for more people at one time. So some lessons have shifted from how to feed smaller, nuclear families to feeding not just more people, but more generations! That’s a different kind of cooking all together.
Thanks so much, Alfia!
Stay tuned for more good stuff from Alfia in the weeks ahead. How do you get comfortable in the kitchen? We’d love to hear your tips and tricks, especially these days. Connect with us on Instagram by following @Olivias_Organics and using the hashtag #oliviasopenmic. Or send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks so much for making Olivia’s part of your fresh, happy kitchen! Stay healthy!