Photo of Chef Lauren Kretzer

by CHLOE. CONTRIBUTING CHEF

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Q+A with Chef Lauren Kretzer

We are so thrilled to welcome Chef Lauren Kretzer to the by CHLOE. family!

Chef Lauren Kretzer will be collaborating with by CHLOE. to bring you even more delicious menu items and monthly specials at our by CHLOE. locations, and they’ll be sharing their cooking, health, and life tips with you right here on the blog.

Lauren is a plant-based personal chef and recipe developer who brings a passion for food, health and wellness to everything she makes. She not only attended the Natural Gourmet Institute and worked in top kitchens, but also has a certificate in plant-based nutrition from Cornell!

We sat down with Lauren to hear more about her passion for vegan eating and wellness. Check it out!

 

by CHLOE.: Introduce yourself. 

Lauren Kretzer: Hi, I’m Lauren, happy to be here!  I’m a vegan personal chef and recipe developer, mom to an amazing little girl, and unabashed travel addict.

 

bC: Why are you excited to partner with by CHLOE.?  

LK: by CHLOE. is bringing delicious, whole vegan food to the masses, which proves that you don’t need animal products to have a really satisfying meal!  I’m so excited and honored to be a part of the by CHLOE. family.

 

bC: What inspired you to become a chef? 

LK: To me, food is an expression of love.  My earliest happy memories center around the foods that were prepared for me by my mother and grandmothers.  I wanted to learn how to cook on a professional level to bring that sense of love and comfort to anyone and everyone that eats at my table.

 

bC: You graduated from the Natural Gourmet Institute and have worked in restaurants. What led you to become a private chef? How does that experience differ from working in a restaurant kitchen? 

LK: I absolutely loved my time at the Natural Gourmet and cooking alongside Anita Lo at Annisa was incredible, but I craved intimacy in my long-term career.  I love connecting with my clients, getting to know them and their families on a deeper level, and serving them in a very customized, personal way.  It’s a huge perk of the job to be able to form genuine relationships with my clients.

 

bC: When did you first decide to become vegan? 

LK: I have been a vegetarian practically my entire life, but became a vegan about 3 years ago.  I  (completely by chance) found & started listening to Colleen Patrick Goudreau’s podcast, “Food for Thought”, and realized that there is, in fact, life after cheese, and a delicious one at that.  I feel better than ever on every level, and haven’t looked back.

 

bC: Your food is so amazingly delicious and healthy. How do you manage to pack so much flavor into such healthy food? 

LK: Using high quality ingredients, cooking with what’s in season, and letting natural flavors shine through is my “secret sauce” to a good dish.

 

bC: What’s your fav thing you’ve ever cooked? 

LK: Anything that my husband, Mark, loves.  Thai curries, spicy tacos, vegan pizza – that’s what’s on the table most at home, and that’s what makes me happiest.

 

Lauren Quote

 

bC: Your heritage is Argentinian and Sicilian. How much do these amazing food cultures influence your cooking? 

LK: My heritage is practically inseparable from my cooking.  Both cultures taught me everything I know about flavor, keeping things simple, and cooking from the heart.  The cuisines of my ancestors is the original “farm to table” style of cooking – seasonal vegetables are often the focus of the dish and flavors are enhanced by little more than fresh herbs, a squeeze of citrus, good quality olive oil, and few spices.

 

bC: What’s your favorite dish at by CHLOE.? 

LK: The Spicy Thai Salad – yum!!

 

bC: What does “Eat well. Eat with purpose.” mean to you? 

LK: To me, this means eating food in its purest, unadulterated form.  It means eating in a compassionate, sustainable way.  It means eating food that will bring you joy and let you thrive and live your best life.

 

RAPID FIRE:

1. Nickname? No nicknames here!

2. Cocktail of choice? Old Fashioned.

3. Go to snack? Smashed banana with peanut butter and Maldon salt.

4. Name one food you can’t live without? Pasta!

5. Kitchen appliance that you most identify with? I could be the official spokeswoman for Vitamix.

6. Song lyrics you most identify with? “Vacation’s all I ever wanted.” – The GoGos

7. Early bird or night owl? Early bird – I go to bed dreaming of my morning coffee and the peace & solitude that only morning can bring.

8. Weird personal fact? I am a classically trained cellist.

9. Choice super hero power? Flying – I want to see the world (for free).

10. Dream getaway? Lately I’m dreaming of Scotland and Japan, but my travel bucket list is ever growing!

11. Stranded on an island, what 3 things do you bring? My journal, garlic, and good coffee.

12. Kitten or puppy? Puppies, all of the puppies.

13. Favorite board game? Balderdash

14. Juice or smoothie? Smoothie

15. Gym rat or couch potato? Depends on the season of my life, but I love to run whenever I can, so I’ll leave it there!