Babe alert! Megan has brains, humor, looks, some killer recipes and culinary tips to wow your pals with this summer. I sat down with Megan last week to discuss food, Los Angeles living and beyond. You can thank me later. Read on.
The Vibrant Beet: Being a native Michigander (I cannot take credit for that term ~ it was Abe Lincoln who originally said that), what led you to The City Of Angels?
Megan Mitchell: I had always wanted to live in sunny CA. I went to college in Chicago where it’s like the Arctic 9 months out of the year, so I was ready for a change. I also decided to go to culinary school out here.
TVB: You grill and cook like a boss! How old were you when you started cooking? And what made you want to do it as a career?
MM: Hardly a boss of anything, maybe of my dogs. I’ve always enjoyed cooking ever since I was a youngin’. I remember baking with my Grandma Mitchell when I was a little girl and I would get so frustrated because she made me read the directions the entire way through before we started baking or measuring anything! Now I don’t even think about trying a new recipe until I’ve read through it at least 2 times.
I didn’t even know my job existed until I started doing it. Food stylist?! What the crap is that? A food shopper? Don’t they shop for their own food? A personal chef? Who are these people and why can’t they cook for themselves? During culinary school different chefs opened my eyes to the endless possibilities available in the cooking world.
TVB: Tell us a little bit about what led you to styling…food!
MM: It happened during my last semester of culinary school. The show Guy’s Big Bite was looking for interns. One of my chefs recommended me and I got the job. From there I met more and more people looking for food shoppers and culinary assistants which led to food styling and food prep. It’s a small little community of people.
TVB: Where do you get your produce and cooking tools in Los Angeles?
MM: Farmers markets (insert mandatory shot of me hiking in LA whilst sipping on a green juice in yoga pants). I love Surfas in Culver City for hard to find ingredients and a large selection of just about everything. Restaurant Depot for large amounts of produce or dry goods. Melissa’s Produce for, you guessed it, produce. Another great place to find culinary or styling tools is online or at art supply stores.
TVB: What is your favorite style of cooking?
MM: I really love baking and grilling. I would say I’m influenced by Italian cuisine with Californian mixed in. And then a little mid-western comfort sneaks it’s way in when I’m not paying attention.
TVB: Are you currently working on any shows (your own or others)?
TVB: Living in Los Angeles we are always on the go, in the car, etc. How do you keep your energy up throughout a normal work day?
MM: I have a huge problem when I don’t eat or drink water, especially when I’m working or on the go all day. I turn into a 5 year old with an ear infection. Whiny and irritable. I always make sure to have breakfast to keep me going, even if it’s a smoothie or banana. I drink tons of water, I keep almonds in my car and I’m totally cool with myself when I stop for lunch, alone, and inhale my food. Food is my energy.
TVB: What are you favorite ways to decompress in Los Angeles?
MM: To get out of LA. (pause)
I like to hike, play with my pups, cook (what!?!), go out to delicious dinners, grab drinks with my friends, go and see concerts and take advantage of friends that have pools and amazing houses.
TVB: What are your favorite healthy places in Los Angeles for you to get your eat on? What about Detroit?
MM: The best part of LA is pretty much anywhere you eat you can find something healthy, gluten-free, non-dairy, free-range or hold the everything. Some of my favorite places to eat when I’m looking for lighter fare are Stella Barra for their kale pizza and kale salad, Little Fork for their oysters and lobster frittata and Sqirl for their breakfast bowls.
The best part of Detroit is the amazing Greek food everywhere. I miss it out here in LA.
TVB: Can you share a healthy summer recipe or two with us? Pretty please?
MM:Check out my website for these two recipes that I just tested...
Grilled Salmon with Radish, Orange and Hazelnut:
Grilled Heirloom Carrots with Herb Dressing:
TVB: Last question. What does living a vibrant lifestyle mean to you?
MM: It means being vibrant in every aspect of your life: in love, friendships, work and family. I want to get the most out of everything in my life, and I luckily get to do a lot of that through cooking. Find what makes you happy, and do it every second you can.
Okay, I'm hungry! Off to make those carrots!