One of the total powerhouses behind M.A.K.E—Santa Monica based raw food restaurant—Meredith Baird and I sat down to chat over their exceptional three nut cheese platter and kimchi dumplings about all things awesome. Meet this incredible author, blogger, and chef.
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP
Anderson, South Carolina—which, bizarrely enough, Edgar Cayce says is a highly 'vibing' place.
HOW DID AN ASPIRING LAW STUDENT FIND HER WAY TO AUTHORING A BOOK, RAW FOOD CHEF, AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF ONE OF THE LEADING RAW FOOD ENTERPRISES, M.A.K.E
I've been a passionate vegetarian since I was very young, and those passions sort of evolved into raw food. By the end of college I was completely obsessed with learning as much as I could about the raw food diet. I really felt like raw food was an amazing culinary art that had so much potential. At the time, it was very fringe and was mostly considered a hippie health food diet. Following my passion and not my path, I took a moment to attend a raw food culinary school—Living Light—in northern California. Coming from South Carolina I really didn't know what to expect and had moments where I thought it might be entirely crazy! Fortunately, I was very correct in foreseeing the growth and opportunity in the raw food world. My current position comes from the stars aligning, passion, and very hard work.
WE ENJOYED SUCH A WONDERFUL GLASS OF PROSECCO FROM YOUR PERFECTLY CURATED MENU. TELL US ABOUT YOUR STINT IN NAPA AND VITICULTURE
I was a tour guide in Napa for Domaine Chandon for two years. Popping bottles and pouring bubbles daily!
While I was there I studied wine and received certification from both The Court of Sommeliers and the WSET. I really love wine—both as a beverage, and as an academic subject.
M.A.K.E DOUBLES AS A RAW FOOD CULINARY SCHOOL AS WELL AS AN AMAZING RESTAURANT. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST INSPIRING ACHIEVEMENTS YOUR STUDENTS HAVE GONE ON TO ACCOMPLISH AFTER GRADUATING
We have had so many amazing students it’s really hard to point to just one thing. We've had students launch their own products, open restaurants, work as private chefs for some very high-end clients, and the list goes on. Our student body literally comes from all over the world. The diversity is amazing.
NEW PROJECTS YOU AND M.A.K.E ARE WORKING ON
Too many to name! Our online culinary school is something that I am very excited about. We currently offer 4 + courses, including an online cleanse, and we're launching 3 more programs early 2014. One of my projects has been our Culinary Nutrition Program. it's going to be very cool and exciting! The online school is a mix between written, audio, video and photography. It’s a completely unique platform for learning. We're really proud of it!
We are also opening another restaurant and culinary school in Miami Spring of 2014, so I am excited to get to spend some time in Miami.
BEST ADVICE YOU'VE EVERY RECEIVED
Recently, every other sentence in Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins.
AS A PROFESSIONAL HOST, WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR ESSENTIALS WHEN HOLDING A GATHERING
Wine, Music and good lighting. If you have those three things, your pretty good to go!
I asked my most fashionable friend how she defines my style, and she said, "An eclectic blend of classic and avant-garde, with a mix of bohemian elements. " I'll take it.
I love architectural elements in clothing—especially shoes. But I also love comfort and ease. I think that's part of the reason I love California so much—the mix between modern and carefree is really the ultimate vibe. I have a hard time with dressing too feminine or too "buttoned up".
FAVORITE STORES IN LA
Funny enough, I don't really love to shop (even though I'm visually shopping all the time). I actually get hooked more on specific designers or a specific piece. Outside of major purchases, a lot of my clothing is quick grab and go basics. I live off of Abbott Kinney so the stores there are always on the footpath. Guild and Heist both have great collections, and the restaurant is right around the corner from Fred Segal so I end up going there a lot too. There is also a new store that carries Australian designers called Aust. on AK that I also really like.
For the more hippie chic things, crystals, and tarot cards I was loving Pearl Drop on Lincoln Blvd. but they just moved. Wonder where?
I actually could go on and on about this subject!
FIVE PIECES YOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT
Sunglasses | My current obsession is my Garrett Leight Wilson frames.
Hats | If its sunny (hello always LA), usually a cowboy hat of some sort. I have this old one that I bought in middle school that I still wear—to my partners chagrin.
Exaggerated Heels | For some reason I kind of like a Goth vibe on my feet. My Ann Demeulemeester shoes are one of my greater extravagances.
Vests | I love vests.
I’m currently really into this pajama pant thing. Black and slouchy with elastic waste and ankles. Perfect for the holidays and they are surprisingly chic! Kind of Yohji Yamamoto.
Sunglasses, Hat, Clogs or Heels, loose tops, and either baggy pants or black skinny jeans.
Again, I inhabit the West Side 90% of the time. I go to Gjlina Take Away every single day for breakfast. They have an avocado smoothie that I like, and this Vegan buckwheat bread. I alternate between the two. For dinner, I love Shima on AK—it’s kind of undiscovered and all macro. They don't serve any dairy or meat other than fish, and all the rice is brown. We BYOB, and its right outside the door. The food at M.A.K.E. is amazing of course. Hm, I'm kind of a restaurant snob. Going to Osteria Mozza tonight.
TOP FIVE BEAUTY PRODUCTS
Sesame Oil- I use it to massage and moisturize in the a.m.
Moisturizer- I love Aesop and the Borage Brand from Whole Foods.
I love Living Libations Poetic Pits. Radiant Earth is the scent. Bf told me cardamom should never be in deodorant, but I still like it.
DIET AND FITNESS REGIME
In my book Everyday Raw Detox, I list my top 10 health rules and they go something like this:
1-Water + Lemon
2-Your not a turkey, don't stuff.
3-If you aren't hungry, don't eat.
5-Don't eat fake food.
7-Embrace the ritual.
8-Don't eat if you have to go to the bathroom. Go first, then eat.
9- Snack within reason. Some diet fads make it sound like you should be eating all day.
10-Take a seat.
I kind of live by these rules, and go into them in more detail in the book.
I try to do some exercise every morning. I rotate between yoga (either Bikrim or Kundalini. Totally different, I know), going to the gym (Golds), or just walking or running on the beach. I'm active, but not hardcore.
ADVICE TO BUDDING RAW CHEFS
Keep an open mind. In order for raw food to reach the mainstream we need people who understand food with an objective perspective. Dogma gets in the way of evolution. There is so much opportunity for growth!