Yes...we've got a lot of catching up to do...but I'm not quite ready to write about it all. So, I thought I'd send you a super inspiring interview I did a few months back with the lovely, talented Rebecca Minkoff. I met Becky for the first time years ago in my early twenties, she was maybe 20 at the time...and already had a successful women's wear line and a long list of celebrity clients. She has created a seriously powerful, beautiful brand by doing what she loves and I find that extremely inspiring. We talked about, what's new with her line & her life, food, self care, doing good in the world and following your dreams. Read below for the full interview! Rebecca Minkoff Interview:
First have to start by saying I think you’re absolutely fabulous and so extremely inspiring! Can you share with the readers a little bit about what you’re up to right now? What’s new with business? I saw Cupid just launched…. beautiful!
It’s an incredibly exciting time for REBECCA MINKOFF right now. We’ve just begun a brand expansion onto the west coast with a beautiful new shop-in-shop opening inside of the amazing Los Feliz boutique Confederacy. My ready-to-wear collections have really taken off along with my men’s line, BEN MINKOFF. We have so many thrilling initiatives coming down the pipeline in MINKOFF world, but my lips are sealed for now. I can’t give it all away! You’ll have to wait and see J.
The story of how you got started is very inspiring. I love that you got real world training, with your sewing and costume work and trusted in yourself and talents enough to not go the traditional schooling route? Do you have any words of inspiration for artistic entrepreneurs reading this?
After 12+ years of private sewing, costume and pattern making training in unison with my passion and determination, I was more than ready to embark on this path. I would tell anyone who has aspirations for greatness that your dream can be your reality, without compromise. I know it sounds like a cliché, but with so much doom and gloom happening on the international radar these days; it’s easy for our young adults to feel a sense of complacency. I would remind all ambitious entrepreneurs that their dreams are the future of the world. Make it happen!
I read that your ultimate goal with RM is to be a full lifestyle brand. Can you tell me a little bit about your view on food/health?
Fitness and diet are important to me, but I’m certainly not fanatical about it. I’m a firm believer in carbohydrates, especially since I’m 6 months pregnant. Through some trial and error along the way, I’ve learned that a keen sense of balance in terms of what I eat and how I exercise has always been very effective for me.
Does your desire to develop into a lifestyle brand come from a desire to see a brighter future for people & planet? If so, what is your vision for a bigger, brighter future and how will the RM brand support that?
Giving back is very important to me. Whenever we are able to contribute and give back, we seize the opportunity and do everything we can as a company. For example, when the earthquake and tsunami disaster hit Japan, I engaged my customers to purchase red REBECCA MINKOFF bags and then donated proceeds to the Red Cross. As we continue to grow and expand as a brand, so will our contributions for the people and planet.
I've heard you mention about your dinner parties with friends...how did these begin and why do they mean so much to you? What kind of food do you guys cook?
Well, I love food and I love my friends- so what better way to celebrate the two of them than to bring them together! Dinner parties have become a wonderful way to take some time away from the hustle and bustle of life and share some good laughs and make memories with loved ones. We cook all sorts of foods. I’m very infatuated with Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook, Plenty. It’s so wonderful and serves as the inspiration for most of what I cook when I entertain at my house. It’s great!
I heard you have a little baby boy on the way! Congrats! Have you noticed a bunch of changes in types of foods your body asks for now that you’re preggers? If so, what?
Thank you so much! My husband and I couldn’t be any more excited for our son’s arrival. Since my pregnancy, my body’s craving for carbs has increased exponentially. I’ve been doing my very best to stay balanced about it, but sometimes I gotta have a buttery croissant or a bagel with cream cheese or a slice of cheese pizza… You just gotta! To be honest, I do miss my glass of wine at the end of the day, so I’m excited for that to return to my life!
Do you have any favorite/cherished self-care routines during pregnancy?
Being pregnant has put a little extra stress on my muscles, my neck and back and my joints. Plus working through my pregnancy adds a little tension and stress that I want to eliminate as quickly as possible. So I’ve really taken to pre-natal massages. They are amazing at relaxing my body and mind and relieving the tension in my back- I always leave feeling so much lighter and happier.
What’s your ultimate, most favorite food?
This one’s easy for me; I can NOT get enough of the Spaghetti at Caffe Falai in SoHo. It’s SO delicious and rich and wonderful. OMG, I can’t rave about it enough!
Can you share your favorite recipe with us?
Ooh this is tough! I’d definitely go with the Herbed Mushroom Polenta from Yotam Ottelenghi. It’s quick, super versatile and soooooo comfy and warming.
Thank you Becky!
To hear more about Rebecca's adventures and get up-to-the-minute updates on what she's up to:
and her blog www.minkette.com
After I finished my interview with Becky, I contacted Yotam Ottolenghi to see if he'd be willing to share the polenta recipe that she was raving about & he very graciously did!
Here what he sent us!
Photo by Jonathan Lovekin
Yotam Ottolenghi, Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi, Chronicle Books (2011)
When cooking polenta my father always makes much more than he needs. Half of it he serves right away in the runny state, like a mash, with a flavorful sauce. The rest he spreads onto an oiled surface and allows to set. The next day he cuts out chunks, fries them in olive oil and serves with a chunky vegetable salad (tomato, cucumber, romaine lettuce) dressed lightly with red wine vinegar and olive oil. The dish here uses soft polenta, but you may want to double the quantity to follow my father’s idea.
Note that there are two types of polenta meal (or cornmeal) available – a quick or instant variety and the traditional, slow-cooking one. For most purposes I find that the quick polenta is good enough. Either one can be used for this dish.
4 tbsp olive oil 4 cups mixed mushrooms, very large ones halved 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon 1 tablespoon chopped thyme 1 tablespoon truffle oil salt and black pepper 2¼ cups vegetable stock ½ cup polenta (instant or traditional) 3 oz Parmesan, grated 2½ tbsp butter 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary 1 tablespoon chopped chervil 4 oz Taleggio (rind removed), cut into 3/8-inch slices
Heat half the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add half of the mushrooms and fry for a few minutes, or until just cooked; try not to move them much so you get golden-brown patches on their surface. Remove from the pan, and repeat with the rest of the mushrooms and oil. Off the heat, return all the mushrooms to the pan and add the garlic, tarragon, thyme, truffle oil and some salt and pepper. Keep warm.
Bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan. Slowly stir in the polenta, then reduce the heat to the minimum and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. The polenta is ready when it leaves the sides of the pan but is still runny. If you are using instant polenta this shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes; with traditional polenta it could take up to 50 minutes (if it seems to dry out, add some more stock or water but just enough to keep it at a thick porridge consistency).
Preheat the broiler. When the polenta is ready, stir in the Parmesan, butter, rosemary and half the chervil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the polenta over a heatproof dish and top with the Taleggio. Place under the broiler until the cheese bubbles. Remove, top with the mushrooms and their juices, and return to the broiler for a minute to warm up. Serve hot, garnished with the remaining chervil.
To learn more about Yotam you can visit his website at: http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/
& if you're ever in London stop by one of his many restaurants!
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Till next month...