Hi there! I am so happy you are here in my kitchen. This is my favorite place to hang out. I imagine all of you love to hang out in the kitchen at every gathering you attend as much as I do. I want to be in the thick of it. I want to help the cook, be the cook, or just be around the art of creating delicious food with friends and family. The place where stories are shared, memories are created, and love is shared through food. I believe that families & friends that cook together stay together. I imagined this site a few years ago and now it’s finally a reality, and I couldn’t be happier. I get to do what I love most… create plant-based recipes and share them with you. So you are invited to hang out with me in my ChickfoodTV kitchen as often as you would like. I hope to see you often.
A little bit about me and my backstory… the short version.
For the past 17 years, I have made my living in the Film/Television industry as an actress, stand-in, and double. Although I love being on set and around creative people, I also love to spread the word about plant-based food. On one of my last full-time TV gigs for the HBO series, “The Newsroom,” I would carry a cooler to work everyday with all my vegan food. I wanted to make sure I was getting all my organic produce and fermented foods in each day. It sparked a lot of conversations on set, and I loved it. After 16 years of working full-time 12-15 hour days, I decided I wanted to take my plant-based food passion to the Internet and make it my full-time gig. Although I still audition from time to time and take an occasional stand-in gig, I have pretty much traded in my studio ID card for an apron and couldn’t be happier.
I love fruits and vegetables. I am vegan and love the fact that our amazing planet grows everything we need to thrive. Yes, including enough plant protein.
I love cooking. The kitchen is always the place that makes a house feel like a home. Everyone gathers in the kitchen… and I love that.
I love entertaining. Inviting friends and family over for good food is something I have done since I got my first apartment in Seattle many years ago.
I love learning and sharing. I constantly take classes and workshops, and I love to share what I’ve learned with my family, friends, and online community.
I love being healthy. Without our health, we have nothing. What we eat matters.
I love traveling. I am lucky to get to travel a lot with my husband and his business. It’s always an adventure and fun to explore new vegan restaurants all over the country and the world.
I love this guy. Meet the hubs. He is my best friend and inspiration. He is doing such great things in the world with his non-profit, Every Monday Matters. He inspires me everyday to show up for myself and to make a difference. We met in 2009 and got married in 2013 at Bridlewood winery in Santa Ynez, CA. It was the best day of my life, thus far. We often joke that he is spreading the word to people about how much and why they matter, and I am out there trying to make a difference for our furry friends. Together, we’ve got it covered. Check out his personal website here Matthew Emerzian.
I love being outdoors. I see beauty in nature and want to do all I can to help our environment.
I love animals. I don’t see any difference between my beloved cats or a dog and a chicken, cow, pig or any other animal. They all share the capacity to feel love, pain, and fear, just as we do.
Now for the longer version.
It can be challenging to sum up your story in just a few short paragraphs, especially when you are the queen of run-on sentences; but, looking back, without question there were some key moments in life that played a big role in my inspiration to launch ChickfoodTV. So if you are still interested? I thought I would share.
Life in Longview
I became a vegetarian at the age of 14, living in a small mill town in Washington. I had cats, bunnies, and a black lab named, “Mac.” I loved horses and just about every other critter I came in contact with. Many of my friends and some family members had farm animals that they raised for food. I remember when I realized that the cow I played with and loved was now in our freezer. This was not ok with my young self, so, at the age of 12, I asked my parents if I could stop eating meat. The truth is that they just ignored my request, thinking it was just a phase I would grow out of. Nope.
With that, I spent the next few years hiding meat in napkins or passing it to my cat under the table. It was a crazy thought for my family. They thought, “Who is this child and where did she come from?” There were no vegetarians, let alone vegans, that I knew of in my family. So it was “crazy talk” territory to my family when I announced that I was no longer eating meat and wanted to become an actress at 14. Yes, I always had a flair for the dramatic. I like to call it, “Colorful.”
My First Recipes
One of my first jobs was in the one and only health food store & cafe in town. We juiced carrots and served nut-pate sandwiches. Very forward thinking at the time for my small town. I loved it and wanted to learn everything I could. I started reading every health and nutrition book I could get my hands on and my plant-based culinary journey officially started. I soon moved to Seattle to study acting and it felt like my whole world opened up. There were a ton of natural food markets and vegetarian restaurants. I was in the right place for sure! This is also where I found my love for entertaining. I often cooked large vegetarian or vegan meals on a small budget and invited my theatre friends over to experience my food. This always gave me great pleasure.
On my father’s 65th birthday, he came to visit me in Seattle. My father had terrible heart health. I made him dinner and told him I could help alleviate many of his health issues through diet, if he would let me. I never got that chance… less than a month later (4 days after I moved to Los Angeles) my father unexpectedly passed away from Congestive Heart Failure. This was the most heart-breaking and life-changing event of my life. It changed the direction of my life and my passion grew to learn everything I could about healing and prevention through a plant-based diet. I wanted to help as many people as I could live healthier, happier lives.
The good news was that Veganism was already starting to change and become more main stream… especially in the last decade. It wasn’t just the Birkenstock-wearing, tree-hugging, peace-loving types anymore. (Not that there was anything wrong with that. I’m quite fond of tree-hugging and peace-loving, but I skipped the Birkenstocks and went straight for the high heels.) People started becoming more aware that a plant-based diet was better for their health, the environment, and the animals. Every year a new documentary came out that touched on one or all of these three benefits and the public was becoming more aware of their health, the food industry, and animal agriculture. At the same time, many top performance athletes, bodybuilders, and celebrities started to become vegan and the word spread even more.
In 2011, I started my first blog, “Lalaraw.” The idea was that I could help people live a healthier, happier life through raw food and a plant-based life style. Launching Lalaraw was an exciting time for me. I love creating plant-based recipes, photographing them, writing about them, and then shooting videos on how to make them. Phew! That’s a lot in one sentence. There was shopping for new foods, learning new “un-cooking” techniques, and really embracing the creative process that it was… and I loved every bit of it. I mean, what the hell is a daikon radish and how can I use it? It was a blast (my passion) and my Lalaraw community started to grow fast. I was so excited to get followers, feedback, and amazing emails from women all over the world. But something was missing.
Since Lalaraw was only focused on raw food, I realized that it excluded too many amazing recipes that were still healthy and vegan, just not raw. I mean, a life without potatoes wasn’t going to work for me. Plus, I loved to cook, so un-cooking all the time wasn’t enough.
At the same time, I started advocating for animals and volunteering for many animal welfare groups. All the pieces started to fall into place. Yes, I wanted to help people get healthier. Yes, I loved cooking great food. But, I realized that so much of my passion was also tied to my love for animals.
A Voice for the Voiceless
In 2012, I started watching every documentary about animal agriculture and the treatment of animals across the globe and it was like someone punched me in the face. I was shocked. I thought I knew so much, but realized there was so much more to learn. And, once I knew the truth, I couldn’t turn back. I couldn’t un-see what I saw. I continued making recipes and kept my animal activism on the down-low in fear of losing my community.
I slowly started posting more about animal welfare on my social media accounts to interject a little more about what was going on in my animal advocacy life and, honestly, just to test the waters. At the same time, I started writing a children’s book series. I know, what? It just made sense at the time. I thought I would spread the word about animal compassion through a series of books. Even though it didn’t always feel like it, things were starting to make sense. I was starting to understand my “Why.”
The Non-Dairy Icing on the Cake
I took the last year off from the Television industry to start to build on my idea for ChickfoodTV and this also allowed me the time to travel with my husband. My husband is an author, speaker, and inspiration to many people. And, because of him, I have had the great fortune of meeting and spending time with some of the most inspiring and life-changing people in the world. From TED events to conferences to corporate events and so on, I have met people who have helped me prepare for the launching of ChickfoodTV. In the past few years, I have been so lucky to travel all over the country watching my husband keynote with some of the most inspiring people out there today. I attended an all-day small group workshop led by, now dear friends, Ken and Margie Blanchard. I got to walk on fire with Tony Robbins. I mean, literally two inches from him as he’s yelling in my ear, “Get in state!” I became a graduate of Rouxbe’s professional plant-based cooking school, that I completed Dec. 2015. And, most recently, I completed Marie Forleo’s B-School. What a great time it was for self exploration and building my passion called, “ChickfoodTV.”
Through all of this, I have developed the courage to believe in myself. To know I have something to share that is good for the world and that the only limits are the ones I put on myself. And, because of all these moments in my life, ChickfoodTV is now a reality. It is a place where everyone is welcome, a place I am proud of, a place to tap into my creativity, a place to share my plant-based recipes, a place to help people, a place to help our planet, and a place to help animals. I can’t wait to share my recipes and what I have learned with you. I hope ChickfoodTV inspires you and becomes a light in your life.
ChickfoodTV is a non-judgmental, fun, creative place to experience great food that is good for your health, our environment, and our fury friends. I am so happy you are here.
And that’s a wrap on this long bio, let’s eat….
Chick in Charge,