Meredith Baird is a cookbook author & vegan chef. Her works include “Everyday Raw Detox”, “Raw Chocolate”, “Plant Food” and the upcoming “Coconut Kitchen”. All of her works are laced in the most alluring aesthetic design — as she is also the ultimate creative maven. Meredith was truly a pioneer in bridging the health movement with clean, modern visuals.
We met up with Meredith in her Venice abode where she casually whipped up the most delicious salad.
What inspires you to create?
Everything! Nature, people, places, architecture, photography, fashion, etc. - but more abstractly, colors and shapes. I have this thing where I’ll see color combinations or have dreams in color and that can inspire me in just about every way.
How did you get into vegan food?
I became vegetarian when I was very young. Partly from rebellion, and partly from some innate logic that eating animals all the time didn’t make sense. When I was in high school I became very passionate about researching and studying different types of vegetarianism- including veganism, macrobiotics, raw food etc. If you don’t eat animals it made sense not to eat animal products. It was all a natural progression. I’ve evolved to be a bit more open over the years.
Coconuts are one of natures most unique and useful foods + skin care ingredient. I really can’t think of any food that rivals them. Over the years I’ve come to recognize the huge importance of saturated fat in our diets- and coconuts are an amazing vegan source. And, as gross as it sounds, a jar of coconut oil can easily bounce around from the kitchen to the bathroom on a daily basis… Plus they taste amazing!
What is “Coconut Kitchen”?
All about eating and utilizing coconuts in their most pure form. Coconut oil makes a great cooking oil- but in the book I focused on using coconut- raw, clean, and unheated. There is also a great Skin + Body chapter.
In your point of view, what is the quintessence of aesthetics?
Heady question. Aesthetics is a bit of a controversial term you know? My simple answer is anything that visually moves you. Your perception and judgement are your own.
What are your future endeavors?
I’m working on so many things and I’m so grateful for every single one of them! My career has been primarily as a Creative Director and with that I am launching a new company alongside a creative partner of mine. TASTE Creative for Edible Brands- we are a creative agency to help people brand and conceptualize their culinary endeavours- restaurant concepts, food products etc. anything health and wellness related. taste-creative.com - Amoung other things! (PS. A coconut skincare line is also part of it!)
If you could have choose to see anything, what would you choose to have seen and why?
The beginning of planet Earth and the birth of mankind - because that would be so intense and cool.
If you could have anything, what would be your birthday meal?
I can have anything and my birthday is coming up so…. whatever I’m in the mood for then. Kippy’s Ice Cream will probably be involved. I don’t really deprive myself ever - but I am boring in that my favorite foods are genuinely avocado, sauerkraut, nori, coconuts, and raw chocolate.
What are you most proud of?
Having a passion. Being passionate. Or maybe I was blessed with that. I feel so grateful to the universe for having a vision and drive. So many people don’t even know what they like.
If you could only keep five possessions, what would they be?
Sunglasses. Hat. A big warm sweater. Avena Botanicals Lung Tonic for asthma . and a jar of coconut oil.
Favorite eats in LA?
I love Gjusta and go there all the time because I live down the street. I could probably eat there for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day for a long period of time if I had to. As far as Venice goes I do go to Superba, Moon Juice, Shima, and Gratitude in an ongoing rotation. Otherwise, I’m open to exploring. There is so much great food in LA these days.
If the world ended tomorrow, what would you want to do today?
Curl up on the sand on the beach with my family, warm blankets, a bottle of rose champagne + watch the sun set and tell everyone how much I love them.
The beauty of using high quality ingredients is that you rarely need a recipe. That is what I enjoy most about the artistry and creativity of raw, plant based cuisine. If you start with a base of high quality greens and fresh crisp vegetables you don't need much more than a drizzle of olive oil, squeeze of lemon, and a pinch of sea salt- but... sometimes the flavor of the day calls for something a little more exotic. When House of Citrine visited my kitchen, I couldn't bring myself to just do the usual so I decided to conjure up some inspiration from my new book that will come out this summer Coconut Kitchen.
Coconut Oil is natures most rich source of vegan dietary saturated fat. Saturated fat is just now (after being shunned entirely) starting to be recognized as a crucial ingredient in maintaining health- from heart to brain to skin - it is a must. Most of us don't reach for the jar of coconut oil when we think of making a salad, but the truth is coconut oil makes a delicious dressing and lends a surprising twist to your creations.
Here is a 'rough' recipe for the salad we made together. I encourage you to use your creativity! The unanimous verdict on this salad was "delicious" and I actually even surprised myself a little!
- 4 to 6 big handfuls of fresh greens, we used a mesclun mix of baby greens, arugula, endive
- 1 C shaved radishes
- 1/2 C pumpkin seeds, preferably sprouted and dehydrated
- 1/4 C coconut flakes
- 1/4 C currants
- 4 TBS coconut oil, melted
- 1 TBS apple cider vinegar
- 1 TBS fermented chili sauce or chili sauce of your choice
- Pinch of salt
Whisk dressing ingredients together until well emulsified.
Toss together salad ingredients. Lightly dress lettuce with vinaigrette, making sure not to wilt or bruise the lettuces.