Refrigerator Look Book: Ella Nemcova

The creator of The Regal Vegan catering company and food line stocks her Brooklyn fridge with fresh herbs, sprouted buckwheat, and a giant bag of cashews.
Ella Nemcova Regal Vegan
(Photo: Samantha Isom)

Before launching The Regal Vegan, Brooklyn-based Ella Nemcova left her job in copywriting and spent a year traveling around the globe.

“I was able eat my way through 30 countries,” she says. (Lucky her!)

What she noticed was that many people around the world are not as reliant on meat as Americans. “In Southeast Asia and in the Mediterranean countries, they’re using so much of the plant kingdom in so many creative ways. There’s so much flavor there,” she says.

The discovery launched her vegan transformation and led her to found her meat-free catering company and food line that makes Faux Gras (an alternative to Foie Gras) and Basilicotta, a cashew cheese spread.

“The plant-based lifestyle is a challenging one because people think you have to change everything. But just reducing the amount of animal products helps,” she said. “We’re giving people the freedom or the inspiration to make those small changes.”

Here’s how she applies those changes in her own fridge.

Is that parsley that you have sticking out of the glass jar on the top shelf? What are you using that for? That’s cilantro, actually. It’ for sandwiches that I make with the Regal Vegan Faux Gras. I add the Faux Gras and cilantro into the sandwich along with pickled carrots, Veganase, tamari, hot sauce, cucumbers, and any chilies that I have on hand, like jalapeños or serrano peppers.

Spicy! It looks like you’re storing some scallions in a jar, too. What benefits do you get from storing herbs this way? Scallions regenerate, so if I have a bunch, I usually throw them in a jar and put them on a sunny windowsill. You can get a little more life out of them if you do that. I do it with cilantro, too, because the best way to treat herbs is like fresh flowers. Change the water, clip off the roots, and let them drink!

Ella Nemcova's fridge Great tip! What do you have in the jar on the middle of the top shelf? That’s sprouted raw buckwheat. I try to sprout grains or beans because you basically bring them back to life. It makes them more nutritionally powerful, and you get a lot more enzymes, which help digestion. I toss sprouted buckwheat with agave nectar and cinnamon, and then put it all in a dehydrator to make a raw, sprouted granola.

Sounds delicious. It looks like you have a jar labeled as Ajvar on the second shelf. What is it? Ajvar is a red pepper and eggplant spread. Basically if you took a Middle Eastern salad with eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, spices and put it all in a blender, that’s what it is. It’s this delicious, thick, slightly sweet spread that I love to put it on vegetarian sandwiches.

What’s in store for the giant bag of cashews in the bottom drawer? I always have cashews around. I use them for desserts, cheese, smoothies, and stir-fries. It’s a nice way to add some healthy fat and some protein. I don’t buy cashews in little baggies. I buy them in 25- or 50-pound boxes!

I see you have stacks of your Faux Gras pate. What are you favorite ways to use it? I’m experimenting cooking with the Faux Gras. I wrap the Faux Gras into a little quarter of a ball of pizza dough with some fig jam and some left over veggies like kale or brussels sprouts. The Faux Gras, when it’s cooked, is really meaty. It tastes like pigs in a blanket. —Amy Eley

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