Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Meet Laura / Real People Wednesdays

Good Morning! 

We have gotten amazing feed back about our Real People Wednesday series! Thank ya'll for all of your sweet comments about my interview last Wednesday. Today for our Real People Wednesday Interview Series, I interviewed the other author of our blog, Laura! I'm excited for ya'll to get to know Laura more as I have really enjoyed getting to know her myself over the past few months. Laura and I met at this intensive course in Las Vegas that we have mentioned a few times on our blog. I attended the conference with a friend who wasn't as interested in eating at all of the amazing Las Vegas restaurants as I was. So, the first day when I saw a girl who looked around the same age as me and also looked fun I was set on introducing myself and hanging out with her during these 8 days of craziness. She was super fun, so so sweet, and definitely a foodie. My husband (really just me mostly) and I hard core critique all of the restaurants we go to, the service, the food, the atmosphere. Laura did the same thing probably more so than I did. I knew for sure we would be friends at that point. One thing Laura and I both relate to, is the juxtaposition of living a wholistic lifestyle that is so important to both of us and also being extreme foodies. We both love talking about food, eating food, and making it. We are slowly finding our way with how those things go together and aren't completely separate, but that has been a part of our journeys as well. Anyway, Laura and I are still good friends after our Las Vegas trip and chat everyday, really. Ya'll will really love hearing about Laura's life growing up-- both of her parents are chiropractors! -- And also about her life as an office manager at a restaurant that provides locally sourced French cuisine in the heart of downtown Saint Paul.

                                                                                          Q: Tell the readers about yourself: 

Three "P's" in a pod
A: I am a happy twenty six year old that lives with her cat, Matilda, in Minneapolis, MN. I was born and raised in the actual city of Minneapolis and have not yet found a reason to leave. I grew up in a really gigantic blended family. I am one of 5 children and we are all very close. My mom has always been my rock and taught me everything I know about being a functional adult. :) I have two sisters who are my best friends. We are "three P's in a pod" and have the tattoo to prove it! I also have two wonderful older brothers and an almost sister in law as of this coming September. I would be nowhere without the support and love all of my parents and siblings provide me. Outside of my home I am surrounded by my wonderful work family. I spend a lot of time with my co-workers in and outside of the restaurant. They have become an equally important piece of my everyday existence. I am extremely social and really enjoy educating, counseling and talking with others.

The Goofballs that help inspire me

 Q: Tell the readers where you work. What is it like to work in the restaurant industry and how is it different than what people would expect? Are most of your friends in the restaurant industry as well? 

A: I have spent my whole professional life in the food industry. It all started when I became an ice cream scoop at Pumphouse Creamery when I was 15. I eventually moved on and in college was a line cook and pastry chef at the Turtle Bread restaurants and after graduation I worked as a baker at Birchwood Cafe.

Fruit Tart :)
I have finally found my professional home at Meritage. I have been an office manager for the past three years and spend six days a week in the beautiful Hamm building in downtown Saint Paul. Meritage is a French bistro and in the past week just opened another restaurant in downtown Minneapolis called Brasserie Zentral.  It's weird for me to explain how working in the food industry is different than any other job because realistically I have been in it for over 11 years. Being in an administrative roll is a tiny bit different than you would assume a normal restaurant job would look like... About 50% of my job is communications.. I am either responding to emails, answering phones or directly addressing staff. The other half of my job is split into varying sections. I spend a lot of time filling in where is necessary.

  The restaurant I work for is owned by a married couple and they have created a certain culture at their restaurant that brings us, their employees, together as a cohesive group of individuals that strive to provide excellent service to any guest that steps foot into the restaurant. That being said we all really work as a team to execute that level of service and sometimes that might mean working outside of your hired job title. I am a woman of many hats at Meritage from event planning to human resources. Wherever and whenever I am needed I will report for duty.

Outside of my family most of my friends are in the restaurant industry. We work long odd hours and depend on each other to be successful, so some of my strongest friendships have come from my time spent in the food industry.

Q: How did you learn to cook and what is one of your favorite things to make? 

A: I come from a very food-centric family. I was taught at a very young age that entertaining and food can be the key to happiness. All of the women and most of the men in my family really take pride in the food that they cook and prepare for each other. My mom and step dad have always had full time jobs but entertain most weekends. I know that once I am married and old enough to own my own house I will fill in once my
parents want to pass the torch. But realistically everyone in my family from my grandmother to my youngest sister have played a part in my passion in the kitchen.

I would also like to mention the lovely kitchen family I was accepted into at Levain. I had always been a big part of the kitchen in a home setting but Adam Vickerman, Remle Colestock and Alan Hlebaen really taught me what it takes to have professional kitchen chops. I really learned the ins and outs of fine dining. Working at Levain I became aware of just how detail oriented the life of line cook is...I think it was the first or second day on the job when I was cutting a bunch of parsley that I learned that knife skills are no joking matter and that herb cutting is an art!
Cafe Levain circa 2008

I would say that my favorite thing to prepare would be a traditional fresh Italian tomato sauce. I had the very rare opportunity to venture to Italy my a senior year of college. At that time Turtle Bread was on it's way to opening a Tuscan Italian restaurant and we got sent to learn about their food traditions to help authenticate the menu. Our first day in Lucca we ate at this spectacular family owned rustic bistro where I ordered this incredibly simple tomato sauced pasta. It was so bright, clean and the flavor of tomato just radiated in every bite. I think it has taken me over three years to perfect my sauce but I have finally produced something that I think might be comparable to that sauce that I had in that tiny little restaurant.

Q: What is your favorite place you have eaten at this year / or favorite meal you have had? 

A: Hands Down! Oysters at Island Creek Oyster Bar in Boston, MA.  Last July I traveled to Boston over Independence Day. I am telling your right now that I think one of the reasons why this is such a strong food memory is because if you have traveled to Boston in the summer you will know what I am saying when I say, "WOOOOOOH it is HOT" We were on our way to a Boston Red Sox game and decided  before the game we would venture to the oyster bar. Meritage, the restaurant I work for, sources oysters from both the East and West coasts daily so actually being at the source was a huge treat. We were staying in Cambridge at the time and the trip to that side of Boston was about an hour. By the time we reached the restaurant we were sweating... 90% humidity is absolutely dreadful. Once inside the combination of air conditioning, cold seafood and excellent cocktails really hit the spot. We were so excited that we went back a few days later just to enjoy it one last time before heading back to the Twin cities.

Q: What made you want to start blogging? 

A: After coming back from Las Vegas and graduating from CNHP with such a head full of knowledge I really wanted to have a path to explore the natural health world. I felt like goal setting would be much easy if I created deadlines for myself. I also thought it would be really fun to work with someone I respect and relate to on a professional and personal level. Danielle and I work really well together. We both have our certain strengths and it has made launching a blog a lot easier than I feel like either of us thought it would be if we tried to tackle this project on our own. 

Q: What does being healthy and living a natural lifestyle mean to you? 

A: Growing up with three Chiropractors for parents, I was taught at a very young age the importance of wellness. Like I said before my family has always been very food-centric but we have always put a strong emphasis on being healthy.

I graduated with a bachelors in Science and Nutrition at the University of MN and have always worked for restaurants that have a moral belief in sourcing local. In the last year I have visited a wonderful natural doctor that inspired me to take the nine day natural health certification through CNHP. I feel that the skills that I have learned working in the hospitality industry and my educational background in food and nutrition served as a great foundation for this field.

Now getting closer to the stage in life where I will have to be making decisions for not only myself but eventually my family I really think leading a natural lifestyle has become a lot more important to me outside of my professional life. I think that this is one of the biggest reasons I wanted to start this blog was just to gain a stronger knowledge into the realm of living a healthy and natural lifestyle. 

Q: Do you feel as though you have to sacrifice eating well in order to be healthy?

A: I think this is a HUGELY important question. I have always felt that there is the deep disconnection between the health world and the food industry. Being one of the unique individuals that has sort of grown up along both sides of these worlds I sometimes struggle to find a balance. Being around people in the food industry six out of the seven days of the week does sometimes make it hard for me to keep myself on a healthy living track. I work long hours and a lot of the time I forget simple things like drinking water or eating vegetables. But I find it hard not to want to enjoy the finer things in life. I have tried really hard to find the sweet spot between indulgence and restraint. I think that if you play the game of give and take you really can achieve a happy and healthy lifestyle.

Q: What's one of the most common questions you are asked?

A: Most of the people I have been approached by right now are people that are in medical crisis. People that are going through bouts of pain or mental strife and really just want some guidance as to how they can find the path to wellness.

I have also been working with Bach Flowers since my return and find that people seem to really be interested in their personality types and how Bach Flowers can help with personality weaknesses and emotions. I think that working with these flowers has slowly helped me discover the true nature of counseling.

Q: What is a few funny facts about yourself? 

A: HMMMMM... Well I am VERY clumsy. I was born with twisted femurs and in turn it has robbed me blind of any and all of my grace. My mom used to tease me and tell me I could not both chew gum and walk at the same time. But mostly I am just plain goofy. I love to have a good time and bring a smiles to faces.

Q: Interview is over, is there anything else you would like to say to your readers? 

A:I just want to say thank you to all of you who have supported us thus far. I am always open for questions and I hope that you will seek me out whenever curious. I am always looking for new topics to explore and I would love to hear some suggestions from you.

Now that it will soon be summer in Minnesota I have some really fun blog topics to share with you and hope that you continue to read and share us with your communities. 
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