Farming for Health Podcast #16: Chef Stephanie White

Farming for Health Podcast #16: Chef Stephanie White

Chef Stephanie White possesses more than a decade of professional experience with roles in small businesses, high-end catering, pop-ups, high-volume cookery, farm-to-table restaurants, culinary education, and much more. Integral to developing and launching Escoffier’s Plant-Based Culinary Arts program, she shares where it all started with Dr. Amy Sapola. 

During pockets of her childhood, Stephanie was super into food with a foodie mom. A cherished memory is helping her grandparents to harvest their raspberries, enjoying them warm from the sun, and selling them at a roadside stand. Her earliest restaurant memory: an amazing carrot cake. The bigger lesson she took away from all of this is how food connects us with visceral meaning for everyone. 

Chef Stephanie shared a life event with Amy that she doesn’t normally talk about. After becoming upset with the American diet, she transitioned into vegetarianism/veganism—and then kept pushing it. Falling into a restrictive cycle, she wasn’t eating enough. So, food was freeing before becoming self constrictive. Because food had become intertwined with her self identity, reconnecting with food again presented challenges. 

Then, one semester, she was away from home during high school for an ecology-related work- -and-learn project. She performed farm chores at an organic food camp, including harvesting vegetables. Volunteering in the kitchen, the camp’s chef became a big influence in her life as she appreciated the vibrancy of just-harvested vegetables and those from the root cellar. During this time of her life, Stephanie appreciated the experience of the farm, including when she created food for the other campers to enjoy. Through this, she learned to be okay around food again—not letting it control her anymore. 

Returning to the concept of vibrancy of vegetables, Chef Stephanie says that, although grocery stores try the best they can to present good produce, because of the supply chain, the food is already removed from freshness. The vegetables just aren’t the same as when they’re fresh.

To learn more about Stephanie’s experiences and insights, listen to her in-depth story in her own words in podcast #16: Romanticizing Food, Seasonal Eating, and Shamed Spinach.

Past Episodes of our Farming for Health Podcast

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