B.S. Environmental Studies w/ minors in German and Law | Certified Culinary Nutritionist (Rouxbe, Culinary Nutrition Program) | Certified Nutritionist (e-Cornell, Plant Based Nutrition Program) | Novice knowledge of herbalism and aromatherapy |


Growing up in the East Village, I went to my grandfather’s shop, Rays’s Candy Store, religiously. That was my childhood, my happy go-to place in the city; it was my second home; my home away from home. I lived every American kid’s dream: eating ice cream ENDLESSLY for FREE. The food wasn’t necessarily healthy but this place inspired who I am today. I have learned many life lessons over ice cream, Lime Ricky’s and Belgian fries.

I started cooking as a therapeutic outlet. It started when I was young I would like to mix different ingredients time to time and have my mom try the weirdest (and really bad) concoctions. As I got older, I started to work at my grandfathers shop. Many of the customers were in fact familylike friends. I had a blast working here. Every shift was the same but it was the company that helped brighten my day. I didn’t imagine that I would want to continue cooking as a job. I pictured myself doing something else to help the environment but I didn’t know what or how that looked like. It took me some time but I realized I could continue cooking and help the planet at the same time. It checked off so many of the boxes of what I would like to do with my life.

A special thank you to my grandfather, Ray.  Working at his shop, Ray’s Candy Store, ignited my career to revolve around food & cooking. To be honest, I did not see myself working in an office in a 9 – 5 job, behind a computer. I don’t even like being on the computer let alone for leisure, except when I need to buy cooking ingredients or unwind after a long day (most likely playing Skyrim. #SkyrimNerdAlert). Working at Ray’s was not always easy but I learned many life lessons and made many countless friends. One of the lessons I have learned due to the variety of people I would encounter (it ranged from celebrities to homeless) was to never judge a book by its cover, which in this case, human. Another being…Working in the kitchen is not easy, it has more hours than a 9-5 job but I love that I have the freedom of creativity and that I can share my passion and enthusiasm of plants, environment, and health. 


  • Cooking is a creative outlet for me. Once you learn the basic techniques of cooking, the sky’s the limit to what you can make.
  • It teaches me the virtue of patience. I was raised by my mother who always cooked home-made meals. The secret to her cooking being so good was being patient.  If you keep at it and be patient with learning, you’ll be able to make delicious meals in no time. Anyone can cook. Don’t give up.
  • I believe food is one of the many things in life that brings people closer together, like concerts or movies. If anything, it is when we have the most intimate moments with loved ones and where we can also make new friends (I have made countless friends from all over the world while working at Ray’s Candy Store & sharing delicious Belgian Fries we made at the shop).
  • Food is the icebreaker for a conversation starter (at least for me). Whenever I am hosting, a great way to break the ice with new friends is gushing over how good something tastes and or comparing how the other person makes it, and voila! New recipe or suggestion from a friend.   People are always amazed by what you can make from plants! Cauliflower crust? CAVIAR made from BELUGA LENTILS? ‘Chicken’ fingers made from seitan and tofu! BUTTER from CHICKPEAS! SOUR CREAM made from CASHEWS! MILK made from NUTS! NO WAY you can make that from plants! MINDBLOWN! It is a gateway to conversations. 🙂
  • Most of all, plant based cooking aligns with my way of compassionate living. It is not perfect but it is a step forward to living in a world where we live in harmony with one another and with our planet. I believe it is a requirement to helping the environment.

If I am not in the kitchen, I am snuggling with my fur baby boy, Jägermeister, walking in Central Park with my husband or with London, painting, reading Orthodox Christian books, or flipping through all kinds of cookbooks and food magazines finding new inspirations to try and create new memories over a new dish I made (you will always find me doing something food related).

I have been on this plant based journey for about 8 years now (and counting!) and I keep learning how to be creative with plants. It blows me away! 

With lots of love and peace,

xo Anastasia