Hey guys! Today I have such a treat for you! About a week ago, I was lucky enough to spend some time on the phone getting to know the crazy talented Gaby Dalkin (pictured above). If you don't know her yet, you are going to want to check her out! Gaby is the author of the popular blog What's Gaby Cooking and of the cookbook Absolutely Avocados.
She is exactly as she seems on her blog, bubbly, full of life, and has such a passion for food. Her style of cooking has a southwestern flair and is relatively healthy using tons of fresh ingredients straight from the farmer's market! Her one exception to her healthy dishes is the occasional indulgence of a decadent dessert! Her dishes are super colorful and very doable for anyone!
In addition to being an amazing chef, Gaby is a lover of travel and experiencing culture through the food that she eats. She's the best friend that you want to hang out with on Friday night! I could not have had more fun talking with her and I hope you guys will enjoy getting to know her also!
You have to go check out her cookbook and her blog, you will not be disappointed!
Here is the interview, enjoy!
So tell me a little about yourself and your background:
I went to college, and I loved cooking for people. After college I had plans on going to medical school, and while there I decided I was not cut out for it. I started watching an obsessive amount of food television, and went to culinary school.
From there, I met a family who was looking for a private chef. I ended up working for them for three years while I was in pastry and culinary school. I started the blog at the same time, and didn’t have plans on it working out as well as it has. I had a really good friend who was a food photographer and I started working as a food stylist. Jessica Simpson called and asked me to be her personal chef and I worked for her for a little under two years. I really did not want to stay in the private chef business, but I couldn't turn down that opportunity. In the mean time, my blog was growing, and about a year in for working for Jessica, I got a cookbook deal for Absolutely Avocados.
What made you decide to start What’s Gaby Cooking?
I started the blog because no one else in my life liked to cook, and I was like I’m going to brag about what I made for dinner and be like this is what I made, what did you make? I had no idea there were other bloggers before I started, I did it for myself. From there, other bloggers started talking to me, and I was like whoa there are other people like me? I started making friends through twitter and at food conferences and it continued to grow.
What’s a typical day look like for you?
I don’t know what a weekend is, I'm a total workaholic, so all of my days are different. I was recipe testing yesterday from about 7-12, doing different versions of each recipe. Some days I spend less time testing because of meetings. It’s a fluid thing though, whatever comes up really. If there is a lot to do for clients, I am in the kitchen a lot. It's always changing. It’s definitely taught me to live more freely. If something comes up, it comes up and I make it happen.
Tell me a little bit about your creative process when you are developing new recipes and material:
I test all recipes at least four times before they go on the blog, and I try and plan my editorial calendar a quarter at a time. I don’t know exactly what recipe I want to post when, but I know the type of recipe. For example, I want to do a pizza recipe or a spring recipe. I will start testing after that. I try and get recipes done a week or two before they go up on the site, of course it doesn’t always happen. Sometimes I’ll photograph the food, and then test it one more time just to make sure.
Even though most of your recipes are relatively healthy, there is a large amount of recipe testing and tasting involved I’m sure, what are your tips on staying fit while still eating what you love?
I am in the gym at least an hour everyday. I try and do some sort of exercise, spin, pilates, or yoga every morning, and then run with my husband in the afternoon. I like to eat, so being active is really important.
What do you consider the most frustrating part of your job, and on the flip side what is the most rewarding?
The most rewarding part of my job is the people who I have met, some of my best friends are through blogging and I can’t imagine my life without them. The frustrating part would be juggling everything myself. The recipes, the client work, you have to be very organized.
What is your favorite way to eat an avocado? And what is the most unique way you have used them?
The only way I didn't care for an avocado was when I tried the baked egg inside an avocado. It’s a great idea, but I tried it and I don’t even know how to deal with it.
My favorite way to eat avocado is in guacamole form. I can eat chips and salsa until the cows come home.
What is your favorite kitchen tool that we all need to invest in?
An immersion blender. I think it’s the best.
There was once where I put a soup in the blender and it hadn’t cooled enough, and it exploded everywhere.
What is your number one ingredient that everyone should keep stocked in their kitchen?
Besides avocados, lemons. Ok, salt and lemons. I put lemon on everything If a recipe is missing something usually a little citrus fixes it. And I love using different salts.
What is your current food obsession?
I just started experimenting with pizza dough. I have been playing around with a recipe. I have almost mastered it. So currently I cannot get enough pizza.
Favorite adult beverage?
It depends on the time of year, if it is summer I am a margarita girl through and through!
Any other time of year, I order a glass of champagne.
Do you tend to crave salty or sweet?
Salty. Give me chips and salsa any day.
What’s one guilty pleasure outside the kitchen?
Reality TV without a doubt. Maybe just TV in general. I have recently have become obsessed with Game of Thrones.
I am loving your and Aida’s Domestic Partners YouTube series that you are currently doing right now, how did you all decide to partnership and how did this particular idea come to mind?
Aida is one of my dearest friends in the whole wide world, and we spend more time with each other than we do with our significant others. With blogging, sometimes it’s very two dimensional. We wanted our audience to get to know us and hang out with us, and we decided to do it and wing it. We had no idea what would come of it. Aida came up with the name, because we both worked in the domestic field and it was a play on words. We wanted people to see our silly side.
In five years, you see yourself where and doing what…
I would like to have some sort of show, a travel or talk show. Not a cooking show. Food will be involved. I would love to be doing something like that. I would love to be traveling more, experience the world through food. If I could find a way to combine those things together...
You have been traveling to South America recently. Tell me about that.
I travel with a couple of other bloggers, we all have different kinds of blogs so we each brought a unique perspective to the trip. I have been twice on a press trip. The first time I was in Chile and then the second time I was in Brazil. I am obsessed with South America. I had never thought about going to South America before, and it has so much to offer. It is kind of amazing!
Finally, what is your advice to those readers who are intimidated to get in there in the kitchen and try their hand at cooking?
I would say to just go for it. I am a big believer of just trying it. Have a fire extinguisher nearby! I love to see a person try something in the kitchen and be amazed by it. Get over the initial fear, and use what flavors you love...go from there. Just keep trying.
I want to give a HUGE shout out and thank you to Gaby for taking time to do the interview! I had such a blast!
And I hope y'all will go and follow along with Gaby and her cooking and traveling adventures!