Elana and I met in 2011, on the beach of Playa del Carmen. We were attending a food blog camp with so many fabulous and creative people. It was a once in a lifetime experience and I was fortunate to meet Elana and so many others that remain my friends.
A large group of us had just finished a “session” with one of the chefs of the resort. She and I decided to leave, but with no where to go. We found ourselves sprawled out on this very large lounging mattress, surrounded by cascading and flowing white, sheer drapes of fabric. We talked for hours. It was almost as if we had known each other our whole life and it was just two really good friends, on vacation.
She expressed her dreams and what she wanted to accomplish when she got back. With a little defete in her tone, I told her that if she really wanted it, she could do it. Well…she returned and almost immediately – she had created a cooking school curriculum, marketed her program and quickly had a large following. We have stayed in touch, virtually for years. However, I had reached out to her and told her how much I loved watching her career unfold. She’s the true definition of a Trailblazer and I am excited to share a little bit of her with all of you.
Born to parents who defrosted Lean Cuisine for dinner, Elana began cooking as a young child because the kitchen was the only place in the house her mother couldn’t find her. In her 20’s she had an epiphany which took her to Italy for 5 years. There, she worked in bars, fell in and out of love, ate her way through the peninsula, and garnered life experiences that she would one day write about. While devouring every aspect of the local culture, she learned to cook from an Italian mamma in a Tuscan villa.
In 2010, back in her hometown of Los Angeles, Elana founded the Meal and a Spiel cooking school out of her parents’ kitchen, and now travels the country teaching people how to make phenomenal food, easily.
Her ultimate dream is to live in a world where everyone shares love with one another through cooking.
What is your greatest weakness?
I”m not naturally organized.
What living person do you most admire?
Meryl Streep- she has access to every aspect of humanity inside of her/
What/Where is your next vacation?
Peru to work with shamans is high on my list.
What’s always in your bag/purse?
What career would you choose for your next life?
Mezcal Margarita oon the rocks, no sugar, no salt.
Salty or Sweet?
What is your “Uniform”?
Ripped jeans with sandals, sneakers or stilettos.
What inspires you?
The traditional cooking of grandmothers around the world.
What do you most value in your friendships?
The ability to vulnerably share true feelings, particularly if they get hurt.
Who is your all time favorite movie?
Young Frankenstein by Mel Brooks
What are you binge watching?
I don’t miss an episode of Stephen Colbert or Bill Maher
What is on the top of your bucket list?
Spend a couple months each in Japan, Peru and Turkey looking for easy delicious, healthy recipes and stories
What is your Mantra?
I grow gently to fully embody the beauty of my strength and truth as a woman. (I sing this mantra daily.)
What did you want to be when you grew up?