Tricia Williams is an accomplished chef and the founder of Food Matters, which delivers customized “haute healthy cuisine” to clean-eating New Yorkers and celebrities.
Interestingly, the passionate locavore, who opened her business in 2008, used to be the pastry chef at City Bakery (land of the pretzel croissant). While earning a degree in holistic nutrition from Columbia’s Teachers College, she did a 180 in the kitchen, and moved her focus from rolling out dough to massaging kale.
She’s now a master at rewriting recipes and has a brilliant column called Junk Food Makeovers for Bon Appetite. (You have to check out her healthy pop tarts and good for you Nacho Cheese Doritos. Not kidding!)
While Williams is set on improving the eating habits of others, we had to see just what the healthy foodie stocks in her own uber-organized fridge:
Your fridge is insanely well stocked and neat, wow. Tell us about what’s in the glass containers? The first thing I want to say is that I made the recently made the full transition into using glass containers. I’ve seen so many people with aluminum toxicity in my practice.
In the top shelf jars, that’s garlic ginger chicken soup. [Second shelf] There’s blanched kale, chopped kale, and cooked up black beans because I always like to have black beans around. Then there’s dairy-free lobster bisque that I made with cashew milk. It’s really good. [Third shelf] There’s quinoa pasta. I like the Andean Dream brand. [Fourth shelf] There’s strawberries and citrus sections (a grapefruit and orange mix—great for a snack). Then there’s whole grain pancakes. Last, brussels sprouts.
Where do get those gorgeous veggies you have in your drawer? We belong to a CSA called Quail Hill. They have a green house so even during the winter we can get lots of great greens and root veggies. We also have lots of citrus in the drawer that we use for salad dressings.
Fresh squeezed citrus is so good as a dressing. Is that homemade bread on the top shelf? Yes! We make it every week. It’s gluten-free and has its roots in the Paleo movement. There are no grains in it, and it’s super filling.
What is that huge jug labeled Zana? It’s a living ginger probiotic. It’s from a local company in Long Island. Not only does it have the good bacteria, it has the nice bite of ginger so it’s anti-inflammatory, too.
How do you take the probiotic? I take two ounces, twice a day, and on an empty stomach. I like this better than a probiotic supplement because probiotic supplements are freeze dried. You’re not getting the full benefit of the living bacteria. With the Zana, you see that it’s living. There’s stuff floating around in it!
Give us an idea of something you’d have for breakfast. I usually start the day with a green juice, ideally one that’s been made with a Norwalk press. It maximizes the nutrition that comes from the vegetables.
What’s your favorite dinner to make? I love challenging myself with the ingredients my CSA gives me. I’m always trying to make a 100 percent local meal. But my signature dishes are probably vegetable lasagna and yellow watermelon quinoa tabouleh.
On the Food Matters website, you talk a lot about bio-individuality. What do you mean by that? When I work with clients, it’s all about paying attention to them and listening to the signs of their bodies. You know, I have a client who comes and says, at 4 p.m. I have a crazy sugar craving. My go-to response is that she’s not getting enough protein during lunch. Or if a client is having a tough time losing weight and isn’t terribly active, I’ll take him off grains entirely for the time being.
I also pay a lot of attention to health history. I believe in the idea that you can turn on and off the expression of certain genes through your diet and lifestyle.
We’ve heard that from functional medicine doctors, too. Do you have any advice for generally healthy people with nutrition smarts? Hmm. The biggest mistake I see people making is that they get taken in by “healthy” packaged food labels. Don’t forget to read the ingredients. Evaporated cane juice is just another way of saying sugar. And not all gluten-free products are created equal. Some contain thirty or more ingredients that are usually highly refined. —Elizabeth LaRosa and Rosa Levitan
For more information about Tricia or Food Matters, visit www.foodmattersnyc.com