This month marks 13 years in business and to celebrate this landmark, we sat down with Chef Liz, Executive Chef and Owner of The Pickled Beet to ask her 13 questions:
1) What’s your earliest food memory?
Hmmm, that’s hard, there are so many. I grew up in an Italian/Irish household where food was always a focal point. I guess It would have to be watching my great grandmother Lucia making pasta and bread from scratch. There’s nothing like fresh bread coming out of the oven. My mom and I used to fight over the little mini loaves she’d make.
2) When did you start cooking?
I started helping my mom and grandmother in the kitchen pretty early on. I’d help roll meatballs, feed meat into the hand-cranked grinder to make sausages, spread the butter for garlic bread, that kind of thing. I started cooking on my own around 7. I remember making fried baloney sandwiches, pastina with butter, hamburgers, omelets, grilled cheese, and popcorn on the stovetop.
3) What’s your favorite cuisine to cook now?
I get asked this question a lot. I really like any dish that has many layers of flavor. My favorites would include Italian, Mexican, and Thai, but at TPB we cook everything from scratch so there’s always time to add flavor along the way.
4) What’s one food you don’t like?
Papaya. Except in Tahiti – there it’s great.
5) Why did you decide to focus on serving clients with special dietary needs?
A little over two years ago I started working with functional medicine doctors to try to put my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis into remission. The first thing they had me do was change my diet. It was really remarkable how much better I felt and how quickly it happened after I removed gluten, dairy, soy and my other trigger foods. I wanted to help others experience the same transformation I did.
6) What’s one of your favorite meals you’ve prepared at The Pickled Beet?
It would have to be one of the AIP meals we’ve created. When someone is going through a super strict elimination diet and you can still provide them with food that’s tasty and nourishing AND conforms to all their restrictions, it’s really satisfying. Our AIP Turkey Meatloaf with Wild Mushroom Gravy is free of gluten, dairy, and grains and is often requested as a repeat.
7) What’s something that most people don’t know about you?
I didn’t attend culinary school. I have an innate ability to combine flavors and textures to create tasty food. I taught myself techniques by watching cooking shows on Saturday mornings long before there was a Food Network.
8) If you could have a celebrity chef on your team, who would it be and why?
Michael Symon because he makes great food and he laughs all the time.
9) If you didn’t own The Pickled Beet, what would you do for a living?
I’d probably go back to writing and editing; that’s what I did for my career before joining the personal chef industry. I’d love to edit cookbooks.
10) What makes a meal special?
The ambiance, the company, and quality ingredients with a preparation that allows them to shine. And wine. Some really good wine.
11) What do you foresee the future holds for TPB?
We’re going to keep expanding to help as many people as we can to use food as medicine and live their best life. We’re looking at adding some new locations in Florida and we’re getting lots of calls to ship nationwide.
12) What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not in the kitchen?
Travel. I love traveling all over the world, meeting new people and learning about their cultures and sampling their food. You can learn a lot about a place by the food they make.
13) What’s a funny food story?
One December I wanted to surprise my mom with roasted chestnuts because she talked about how they would roast them when she was a kid. I bought them and put them in the oven. A little while later I started hearing what sounded like firecrackers exploding in my oven. I didn’t realize that I needed to score them first! They exploded all over my oven – it was quite a mess.
Great Lisa. Your Mom would be so proud of the woman you have become.
I remember those wonderful pumpkin pies you girls made!