I have so many amazing talented friends in my life, ranging from hair dressers to nurses to dietitians and brewers. One of my favorite types of friends is a good cook – c’mon, everyone likes to eat! While I have a lot of friends that are exceptional chefs, one of my nearest and dearest friends, Lila Rose, falls at the top of the list.
Lila and I have been friends since birth. We honestly didn’t have a choice in the matter since our parents were good childhood friends that remained close. The best way to describe the day we realized we were best friends was similar to the moment in the movie Step Brothers where Brennan and Dale name their favorite things at the same time. While they were shouting things like their favorite dinosaur, we came across the realization that we had the same middle name…Rose. What? Did we just become best friends? Yup!
So, naturally when I started to embark on this blogging journey I reached out to Lila to get her thoughts. After a couple minutes of chatting I realized that we should have our own platform together… Roses & Rose´. So, here’s a little more about my partner in crime who helped create our new platform that brings food enthusiasts new and easy recipes to make in their kitchens.
Tell us a little about YOU.
I was born and raised in upstate New York but moved to Charleston, SC in 2008 for college and I never looked back! Most of my family still lives in NY and I try to get back every year for a visit. I love spending time outside by the water, playing volleyball and have recently taken up watercoloring, which is such a soothing escape for me! I used to work in the food and beverage industry, which was my minor in college. Charleston is a fantastic foodie city and I love exploring downtown and trying out new restaurants! I’m currently on a quest to find the best Aperol spritz in town.
Where does your passion for cooking stem from?
Cooking was a big part of my upbringing on both sides of my family. From a very young age, I can recall trying to help my grandmother in her kitchen. My mom has this air about her when she cooks that I’ve always admired. She just makes it look so easy balancing cooking while entertaining guests and having so much fun doing it. My dad would always blast music so loudly while he was cooking dinner that you could hear it from the road sometimes! Both my parents are excellent cooks. It is just something I’ve always been around and some of my best memories stem from being in the kitchen or sitting around a table eating.
What is your favorite part about cooking?
I really love the last moments of cooking where everything comes together for the dish, putting those finishing touches and combining it all on the plate to create the whole meal. I also love the reaction when someone is really enjoying the flavors of something I’ve made for them. It’s all about the love and when I see them enjoy eating it as much as I enjoyed making it– that’s my favorite part!
What is your favorite dish to make and/or enjoy?
My favorite dish is chicken marsala. It’s so simple to make but the rich, tangy flavors from the butter and the marsala wine make my taste buds sing! It’s always been a staple dish in my family and sometimes I am lucky enough to get it when I go back to NY for a visit!
Who do you mostly cook for and which do you enjoy more, the actual food preparation or receiving their feedback on your creations?
My boyfriend is my #1 customer and I cook for us most evenings. We have a great friend group and some of his family lives in town as well, so I try to host dinner parties every now and then. I recently started preparing lunches to sell for my coworkers in my office as well (@lunchesbylila). I try to do that 2x per week and sometimes throw a breakfast dish in there as well to keep them on their toes. Depending on the day, I usually serve 15-20 people per meal.
There is something so comforting to me about the food preparation. It’s like you are conducting this symphony and you have total control over how each part of the dish performs. That’s a very corny analogy but it works!
Tell us what we can look forward to from your kitchen.
A lot of my cooking is for the regular working person. I have a demanding job which keeps me in the office for long hours on a daily basis, so the food I prepare usually has few frills but I try to balance delicious flavors with health in mind.
Any advice to all the home chefs out there?
Do not be afraid to deviate from a recipe! That’s how I started to learn how to really cook for myself. I started with a recipe and every ingredient with their measurements listed out as a guide but then I would put my own spin on it and add this spice or omit this ingredient and substitute that herb. You have to find your own flavors and you won’t be able to do that if you follow someone else’s recipe completely.