by Deniz Akiska
There’s nothing better than eating a warm, home-cooked meal at the kitchen table. During the fall, I feel more inclined to spend time in my kitchen, cooking, and eating comforting, nutritious food. Maybe I am biased, but fall is my favorite season all around. I love the sunny days and the crisp fresh air, the colors of the leaves changing, the anticipation of the holidays, and the shift from fresh raw foods that I enjoy eating during the summer, to the warm, comforting foods of the autumn harvest.
As a vegetarian chef, I feel that it is important to use the highest quality produce. This doesn’t mean that it has to be the most expensive; it means that my meals are seasonally inspired. Cooking with local, seasonal ingredients is something many of us aim to do more often. It makes sense to eat produce that is in season because it is the freshest and most delicious since it doesn’t have to travel far to get to the market. Our ancestors ate seasonally because there was no way for them to get food from across the world, and I believe that we should aspire to do the same. Although it seems difficult in the beginning to plan a menu around limited foods, it actually stimulates creativity! When I cook seasonally, I feel more connected to my food, which keeps me inspired. Instead of trying to come up with the perfect recipe, and force the ingredients into that recipe, let what’s fresh and available determine what you cook.