Tell us about your background and relationship with food growing up.
My California upbringing is the foundation for my connection to nature. Growing up in a space that prioritized where our food came from and how it was grown made protecting our planet a top priority for me, especially as I came into my own as a chef and entrepreneur. Nature and the supernatural power of plants are my guiding lights in both my personal and professional lives, and that all stems from my very own roots here, in California.
How would you describe your food philosophy and the type of meals that you create?
I have always loved food and its power to forge connection and nourish community. My approach to food is intentional in how I care for myself, my family, customers, and loved ones. I truly focus on where and how my food is grown. Whether I’m foraging in my own backyard or taking a weekday trip to the farmer’s market to support our local farms and artisans. I aim to reduce food waste wherever I can by cooking with seasonal ingredients and using them from seed-to-stem any chance I get. I believe that small actions can collectively make a significant impact on our planet’s well-being. I know it’s hard to find the time to do all of your own research, so it’s important to look for products that are regeneratively grown, certified organic or carbon neutral.
What inspired you to create west-bourne?
west~bourne was inspired by my California upbringing – surrounded by fresh produce, global flavors, and intentional living – and the core belief that grew within me as a result of that. I wholeheartedly believe that we can make a remarkably positive impact on people’s lives and our planetary health through the way we eat and consume. west~bourne began as NYC’s first zero-waste, mission-driven restaurant, dedicated to piloting conscious capitalism in the food industry, advocating for our industry, and caring for our community. In turn, came the west~bourne of today, which I founded specifically to address the challenges I saw firsthand in the food industry, throughout my career as a chef and restaurant owner. And because of my background, our food philosophy is chef-driven. I believe in collaborating with farms that share my passion to preserve our natural resources and grow without compromise using regenerative methods which yield more nutrient rich and delicious foods. I created the company to utilize foods that taste good, feel good to eat, and are good for the planet.
We know undeniably that regenerative agriculture works to solve the climate crisis, as the single biggest impact we can have is to decarbonize our soil. It’s the last and only frontier available to us to pull down carbon in time. west~bourne is crafting packaged products that source regeneratively and are made with the latest sustainable methods, materials and technology to ultimately drive demand back into this emerging system that will be the way forward for how our food is grown.
Tell us about the biggest challenges you’ve faced in establishing and building your business?
Like so many other restaurants and small businesses that were turned upside down by the pandemic, the closing of west~bourne on Sullivan Street in SoHo forced me and my team to adapt and evolve at an intense speed. Three years in the rearview mirror, I view that unprecedentedly challenging change, as an opportunity to rethink growth and push west~bourne to new heights. Since that time, we have created the west~bourne I always dreamed of, forging a new operating system for food, one easy yet elevated, delicious but discerning, climate positive provision at a time. A forever uncompromising work in progress that will change the way people think about the connection between food and climate crisis intervention. Challenges are opportunities if we can shift our perspective, and I’m grateful to be on this side of our biggest one yet.
Where do you get your energy and drive to persevere?
I firmly believe you can’t pour from an empty cup. As a founder and mom of three, I prioritize taking care of my physical and mental well-being by practicing meditation, exercising regularly, and spending time in nature. In terms of self-care, whether it’s starting the day with clean skincare, a quiet moment with an espresso, or unwinding with a bath, I find it essential to take time to care for myself. By prioritizing ourselves in both big and small ways I find I can show up better, clearer, and more wholeheartedly for myself, my family, my team, and my community.
What is your go-to dish that you turn to regularly during the summer season?
My go-to is a personal and guest-fave: my Big Salad. Served in my beloved standing salad bowl from Holland Bowl and Mill, this leafy green salad is the perfect starter, side, or main for a warm summer gathering. Thanks to the light and bright dressing and a bit of crunch (courtesy of a homemade walnut pesto).
How can the Furthermore Ventures community best support you?
We make more decisions about what we eat and drink in our daily lives, and I believe there’s a tremendous collective impact we can make by putting intention behind those decisions. Every person in our community builds our voice and reach, so sharing west~bourne in any way you can is important and means something. We are growing to scale our impact, and each person is a relevant part of that journey to transform our food system.