Author: Dr. Monica Y. Jackson, Ph.D. | August 2015
Look up the word food and you will find nourishment, sustenance and nutrition. However, with so many fast food and chain restaurants around, one has to wonder if there is true food. I had the pleasure of speaking with Chef Talia Zimmer, Executive Chef at True Food Kitchen, Newport Beach. This is the venue where I will host my next booksigning (Eat Healthy Without Sacrificing Taste) on June 6, 2015. For those who will be attending this event, this is an opportunity to get to know Chef Talia, who responded to questions as follows:
Tell our audience about Chef Talia
I grew up in Reseda, CA. I am married and have one puppy. When I was 12-years-old, I worked in a bakery in the San Fernando Valley. I loved it. I attended Culinary Institute of America in New York. I have been a private sous chef and an executive chef at Hillstone for nearly six years. I have been with Fox Restaurant Concepts for a year and a half and I love it.
What is the greatest misconception that the public has about food?
That food has to be store bought or prepackaged for it to be good. Another misconception is that healthy food has a negative connotation. The public flocks to fast foods because they taste good. However, healthy food can taste good too.
What advice do you have for those who want to become a chef?
First, individuals must understand that it is not the Food Network. It is hard work. You must be an “all trades” person. You must know plumbing, electrical, dishwashing, accounting … You must know everything. The higher you go up the corporate ladder, the farther you get away from food. You just do not play with food or create dishes at the topmost level. It involves a lot of tasting, office work and supervising.
What is organic? What is sustainable? What is true food?
Organic is a process of farming that is all-natural and absolutely does not use chemicals. Organic allows for the waste and will often use the unused produce for fertilizer.
Sustainable is using an interconnected network so that few products are used to sustain the farm. An example of this would be using a compost to fertilize future food and reusing excess run-off water, which is filtered and re-used. At True Food Kitchen, we use clean and clear flavors that are emulated through Dr.Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet.
Tell us about True Food Kitchen?
We offer clean, real food with little processing. We are a sustainable establishment. We recycle, use metal utensils for tasting, air dryers in bathrooms, use glass chillers and decrease our carbon footprint.
What would you like to see changed about food choices, consumption and creation?
I would like to see more reaching out to local businesses. I would like people to purchase organic, not necessarily just those with the organic seal, because that process is very expensive. Visits should be made to farms to see their produce, even if they do not have the organic seal. I would like to see smaller famers supported. Consumers should eat small meals and in moderation, instead of three course meals, aim for texture and enjoy food!
What’s next for Chef Talia?
I am currently enjoying being pregnant with our first child. I look forward to growing my family along with the restaurant over the next few years. I am excited for the chance to do more outreach in the community to educate and inspire a healthy lifestyle.
Congratulations Chef Talia! We look forward to you educating us about true food so that we learn, build, inspire, model and promote excellence in our food choices and love life! ♦