“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/margaritas for noodles and soups. Making broths has become an obsession because I think they can be so filling, yet light and easy. I make larger batches of vegetable, chicken, fish stocks and freeze them. This way I can reheat and add veggies, proteins, noodles, rice whatever the hell I want and I’ve go a meal in under 10 minutes.

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:

NYC- Cervo’s (I am an investor and consult on desserts with head chef Aaron Crowder), Via Carota, Cocoron, Estela, Cafe C&B, Pastries from Flora Bar

BK- Diner, Hart’sPizza Moto, Casa Publica, cookies and cakes from The Good Batch

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)

PANTRY: Coconut Oil, Granola, Hand Pulled Cous Cous

You mentioned you love Ume Plum vinegar, what other ingredients do you love that really take dishes to the next level?
Citrus! High Quality Olive Oil! Kosher and Maldon Salt! Herbs!

Favorite place to shop for produce/exotic spices in the city?
Here are some of my favorites; Kalustyan’s, SOS Spice, Dual, Carmel, Eataly, Essex Market.

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.

We noticed your fridge stocked with supplements! What are your top 3 that you live by?
Chelated Magnesium, Vitamins C & D, PB8 Vegan Probiotic(I also use this with coconut milk to make yogurt)



LEMON POSSET (served atop)
INGREDIENTS: Yields about 1 Quart
600ml Heavy Cream
200g Sugar  *maybe try only 100g if you thought it was too sweet?*
zest of 3 lemons
75ml Lemon Juice
-In a medium size pot, bring cream and sugar to a simmer, dissolve sugar, and allow to bubble for 1minute
-turn off heat and stir in lemon zest and juice
-cool to room temperature then cover and chill for at least 3 hrs., but 24 is better
INGREDIENTS: Yields dough for 1x 9″ tart
***Make a three times batch of dough, but do each batch separate. Dough will keep for 4-5 days wrapped in fridge.***
260g AP Flour
1.5 Tsp Kosher Salt
2 Tsp Sugar
225g (8oz) cubed cold Butter
115ml Yogurt (full fat)
1/8 or 1/4 ground dried Piri Piri Chili
-Whisk together flour, salt, sugar in a medium bowl
-With your hands work the butter into the flour mixture until you have a course meal with some chunks of butter throughout
-Add the yogurt to the flour/butter mixture and incorporate it with a fork
*** the dough should be marbled and just comes together with pressed with hands***
-form dough into a disk and wrap, refrigerate for at least 1 hour …overnight is better
-make caramel and apples
*once your apples are ready and the caramel has cooled slightly precede*
-once completely chilled, remove dough and allow to sit at room temp for a few minutes
-place dough onto a piece of parchment and then top with a piece of plastic wrap
-roll the dough into a circle that is about 10-11″ in diameter and about 1/4″ thick and chill again while you make caramel + apples
-remove plastic wrap and invert dough onto caramel coated apples in tart pan
5 Jonagold or slightly sour green apples
113g(4oz) butter
1 c sugar
1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt
-make dough, see above
-Heat oven to 375˚, line sheet tray with foil, then a piece of parchment and place tart pan in center of foil/parchment
-Peel, core, and slice apples. Keep them whole and slice horizontal
-toss apples with lemon juice and line the entire base of tart pan. Making sure the first layer of apples covers as much surface area as possible then fill in the blanks as you stack and layer the apples
-Caramel time:  In a small-medium size pot melt the butter on medium to medium-high heat, then stir in the sugar. It will be grainy and clubby at first, then it will dissolve into a syrupy liquid.
-the minute the caramel bubbles pour it over the prepared lemon apples and sprinkle salt on top of butter
-allow to cool slightly so the caramel isn’t liquid magma and you can lay the dough on top. about 5-8 minutes
-place rolled/chilled dough over caramel apples and press edges
-pull the sides of the foil/parchment up around the prepared tart to make a little foil bowl. because we are using a tart pan and not a skillet the caramel will ooze out the bottom and this will prevent it from going all over the sheet tray and burning. once the tart is totally cooled and inverted, said caramel can be poured over top.
-bake the tart for about 20-25 minutes until the crust is golden brown
-allow to COMPLETELY come to room temperature before inverting. Avoid caramel burns, they are the fucking worst and they will pull your skin right off!
-slice tart as needed, will make 12 slices