“I THINK IF MORE PEOPLE LISTENED TO WHAT THEY WERE ACTUALLY CRAVING, THEN WE WOULD EAT SO MUCH HEALTHIER,” SAYS LAUREN GERRIE WHILE POURING CARAMELIZED GOODNESS OVER A HOMEMADE TARTE TATIN IN HER EAST VILLAGE APARTMENT. “I listen to my body and soul, therefore, I might have a beautiful pastry in the morning and follow it up with a big salad and a cup of broth with snack of nuts, juices and water throughout the day.” It’s this intuitive approach coupled with expert chef skills that has made Gerrie a star in the culinary world. As longtime personal chef to Marc Jacobs, it’s hard not to want what Gerrie’s got. (When she’s not whipping up delectable grain bowls and mouth-watering desserts, she’s teaching the cult MOVES dance class at Sky Ting Yoga.) We caught up with the SoCal native over homemade lemongrass water (!) who talked seasonality, growing up on the west coast and “healthy desserts.”
Photos by Jeffrey Rose
Having a career where your job is to nourish others, how would you describe your approach to nourishing yourself?
Seasonality plays a huge role in our cravings, during winter months I tend to follow Chinese, Japanese, and Korean techniques for cooking vegetables. Then in summer months I follow Vietnamese and Mexican cuisine with lots of fresh herbs and tons of spice.
What healthy yet indulgent dish do your clients request the most?
All of my clients are different, but for the most part people request “healthy desserts.” I am a firm believer that butter, dairy and gluten are essential to delicious desserts, however, I think it is so fun to challenge myself to use alternative fats, milks, and flours. The key is that the original will never taste the same as its substitute, but the alternative can be just as delicious and so satisfying.
Growing up on the West Coast, what healthy habits do you pick up growing up that you now try to instill in your day to day life?
I eat a shit ton of vegetables!!!! My mom is a health nut and eats like a bird so I learned quickly about the success of eating clean and in moderation. Southern California instilled a deep love of citrus, avocados, seafood and ethnic diversity in food.
With late fall and winter coming up, what vegetables and ingredients do you tend to favor?
KABOCHA SQUASH!!!! I love all squashes and pumpkins because they walk the line of sweet and savory. But Kabocha, Japanese Pumpkin, is rocking my world these days. I also love noodles, especially soba and rice noodles. In the winter I swap out chips/salsa/guacamole/
Favorite places to eat out in the city?
Well that has to be a trick questions because it depends on what I am in the mood for. I cannot dare choose one so here are my top five (in no order or rank) in Manhattan and top 5 in Brooklyn:
If your clients are looking to eat light/on a cleanse, what types of dishes do you tend to favor?
I always suggest adding more ancient grains and heirloom beans to supplement empty carbs like potatoes and pasta. I think offering full flavored vegetarian dishes is what surprises people the most. Vegetables are far more flexible than most animal proteins when it comes to taking on textures and flavors. The key is to find the flavors that people are comforted by or offer nostalgia and then altering them to be more healthy. When all else fails make bomb ass salads and mind blowing grain bowls. Also, juicing is not the answer, especially in colder months when our bodies and souls need warmth. Temperature and heat from spice and chilis is what’s up!
What are 3 things that are always in your kitchen?
FRIDGE: almond milk, eggs, arugula (and A LOT of hot sauces/mayo/mustards)
When you’re eating day to day, are there certain things you avoid in your own diet? What do you replace them with?
I am not a big dairy person, so I substitute coconut yogurt, goat’s milk soft serve, nut & seed milks. I love sweets, but try to stay away from refined sugar so I use a lot of maple syrup, honey, and coconut sugar. I love gluten and it doesn’t affect me and I’m not afraid of it and I think more people should get over the fad bullshit and eat delicious bread!
We noticed rose water on your kitchen counter. Which clean beauty products can you not live without?
In the past three years I have altered most of my beauty products to be all natural things. I use apple cider vinegar as deodorant, this is after making my own coconut oil and baking soda deodorant for years, but the cider works miracles. I use coconut oil for everything… face cleanser, mouthwash/pulling, hair, body, etc. Geranium oil on my face in the morning is the best wake up call and Cedar Oil in my hair right after the shower is the scent that people most often ask me about/compliment me on. I don’t really wear a lot of makeup, but I do wear Bareminerals BB Cream, Nars cream blush, Glossier Boy Brow.