My culinary education started at two years old in my mother’s and grandmother's kitchens. There I am (right) at 14 months old with a spatula in my left hand and a bunch of celery in the right hand, eyes wide, and tongue licking the vegetable. This depicts my early affinity for vegetables and possibly a premonition of my future as a vegetarian chef. My love for eating developed into a love for cooking as I used food to attain good health and overcome obesity. As I connect with what provides fulfillment and purpose to my life, I always come back to food. This interest has developed through a dedicated passion for food and strengthened by years of cooking with family and friends who introduced me to their cultural roots through American, Indian, Persian, Brazilian, and Vietnamese cuisines. As a self-taught chef, I have had the flexibility and freedom to develop my own palate and style in the kitchen while always being receptive to learning new recipes and techniques. Cooking has always been in the backdrop while I got my bachelor’s degree in accounting, worked at a public accounting firm for several years, studied for the certified public accountant (CPA) exam, and tried to follow the professional path. In May 2017, I earned my Masters degree from the University of Pennsylvania with a concentration in Interdisciplinary Studies in Food and Culture. This academic focus enabled me to see food beyond the kitchen and has inspired me to continue to cook while exploring the complexity of food, tradition, culture, and identity. This website will begin to document this new journey. I am excited for what I will discover, taste, and prepare.
This name was initially inspired by the song Green Eyes by Erykah Badu, my favorite musician. While listening to this song, in 2013, probably for the thousandth time, the introductory lyrics “my eyes are green because I eat a lot of vegetables it don’t have nothing to do with your new friend” resonated with me and I said, “that’s it, Green Eyes Food!” I later changed the name to Green Eyes Kitchen as it better represent the direction I want to develop the business.
Green Eyes holds other important meanings for me: the green is a nod to produce and eyes refers to the colloquial phrase, “eat with your eyes”. More notably in connection with the Heart Chakra (energy center) which is represented by the color green and symbolizes health, prosperity, abundance, love and compassion. My personal journey through yoga practice has connected me with the significance of this belief system.
Green Eyes Kitchen is developing as organically as the produce which inspires my cooking. It is my goal to share my enthusiasm for produce and passion for
cooking with people who are open to making healthy changes in their diet and lifestyle and curious about plant-based2 cooking. Cooking has been fundamental in supporting my own experience in losing weight and eating better and such relatability helps me connect with other’s challenges and experiences in the same journey.