MEET PRIVATE CHEF EMILY BAIRD
Emily Baird has us drooling over her Instagram feed. As the chef behind Everything You Want to Eat, Emily is serving up colorful ways to enjoy real food.
Emily has cooked her way around the country, working for high profile clients and celebrities, but her favorite job is being mom to her two children. We sat down with Emily to find out more about her love of food, her sobriety journey, and how she balances mom life and a career.
Hometown: Piedmont, CA
Current city: Los Angeles, CA
Alma Mater: McGill University, Montreal
Currently reading: To the Last Bite by Alexis deBoschnek
Currently watching: Winning Time
Favorite food to make: summer salads
Favorite food to eat: pizza, gelato, grilled sardines
Tell us a little about your background—what inspired your love of cooking?
I grew up in the Bay Area of Northern California during the ‘80s, when “California Cuisine” was legitimately becoming a real thing, not just a fad. It was about eating organically, locally and seasonally. My mom worked for (the godmother of California Cuisine) Alice Waters, so I was fortunate to have been surrounded by good food from the beginning. In elementary school I made my own lunch every day—it was more goat cheese on baguette, than PB&J. My mother was (and is) a great cook and loved entertaining—she made the culinary world very appealing to me and I threw my first dinner party for her friends when I was 14 years old. I remember I made bouillabaisse from a Gourmet Magazine recipe.
As a private chef and mom of two, how do you make time for yourself? How do you cultivate balance?
I have two kids (ages 4 and 6) who are 19 months apart. When I first became a mom, finding that balance honestly seemed impossible. I felt I had zero time for myself and while I didn’t have postpartum depression, I developed postpartum hyperthyroidism which made me feel like I was constantly on fast forward motion. I think it's so important for women to check in with their doctors when things feel out of balance.
Ultimately it took spending a big chunk of my income as a private chef on childcare in order to get some balance in my life. We have a part-time nanny that I adore and her presence in our family helps us all tremendously.
The time I do have for myself I try to use wisely. Hiking is a big stress reliever for me and luckily I live right next to Griffith Park. And this may sound counterintuitive, but my cooking Instagram @everythingyouwanttoeat also helps me feel balanced. I started it when the kids were young as a creative outlet and I love the connection it has brought me with other people who enjoy cooking.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
My biggest inspiration is walking around a grocery store or farmer's market, and the weather. When it’s warm I want something light and fresh; when it’s cold I crave cozier, heartier dishes. Before kids I would have said eating in restaurants, but that doesn’t happen as much as it used to.
The culinary industry often goes hand-in-hand with cocktail + wine culture. As a chef on your own sobriety journey, how do you navigate that perhaps difficult space?
It took a while for me to get comfortable with sobriety in all aspects of my life, especially the professional one. Unfortunately the hospitality/restaurant industry is rife with alcoholism and addiction. I worked in that environment and it wasn't a healthy place for me. As a private chef I've been able to remove myself from the worst of it, although my partner owns a wine bar (Tabula Rasa Bar) and a divey cocktail bar (The Silverlake Lounge) so I'm far from completely removed. For me it took time to grow into my sobriety and be comfortable with it: to look at it as something to be proud of, rather than ashamed of. Interactions that may have felt awkward to me years ago don't even make me blink now. Ultimately I think being vulnerable and open about sobriety/addiction opens doors to better and more interesting connections with people.
Where do you see the no- and low-alcohol industry?
Much more mainstream. Now that I'm a mother I know a lot more women who want better no- and low-alcohol choices for all kinds of reasons. I'm so grateful for it!
What are some ways we can collectively support women in your industry? Universal/affordable childcare. Vote for people who support it and will work towards it.
What’s one piece of advice that has helped you most in your professional career?
Know your value. This can be hard for women because we've been traditionally raised to be malleable. To shape shift ourselves to other people's needs and desires. I think it's only when you start to understand your intrinsic value (your time, your skills, the uniqueness of YOU) that you can truly flourish. Don't lowball yourself and don't be afraid to ask for what you're worth. Also do what scares you. Say yes to career opportunities, even if they make you nervous. The magic happens when you step outside your comfort zone.