We had the good fortune of connecting with Julie Diaz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julie, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I had always considered myself to be someone who wanted to stay safe. Make the safe choices. Do what was expected. Keep to the middle of the road. Even as a younger adult I considered myself to NOT be a risk taker. Though as I look back at many of the choices I have made, I was indeed a risk taker. I have moved all over the country just because I wanted to, often without a job lined up. I have traveled to Europe alone, not knowing exactly where I was staying yet trusting that It would all work out. And of course I have started my own businesses with NO business experience. In each of those choices I felt a desire deep in my heart that gave me the nudge to trust that all would be well. Not everything turned out perfectly, though I always learned new things, especially to continue following my heart. While I may not jump out of airplanes or climb the highest mountains, my risk-taking is still putting myself in unfamiliar situations and living my life in the unknown. I wouldn’t want to live my life in any other way.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The work of A Cooking Revolution is to inspire people to connect to their food, to the people that grow it, to where and how the food is grown by creating simple meals together. This sharing of meals connects us to ourselves and our health, with each other and with the earth. I am not a typical cooking instructor; I am more of a mentor. I don’t teach you how to follow elaborate recipes, in fact, I use recipes as guides. I encourage the people I work with to cook intuitively with the food they have in their kitchen. I help them to be creative with food, preferably fresh and local when it is available. Even though I am plant-centered, I don’t tell my clients how they should eat. I encourage them to learn about where their food comes from, how it is produced, and how it makes them feel when they eat it. What makes me most excited is when a client tells me that they feel a sense of freedom and are enjoying being creative in the kitchen. I have not always been a cooking mentor. I actually started as a research biologist, then a writer, a stay-at-home mom, and a preschool teacher. While I was a teacher I started teaching kids cooking class which lead to a food business, One Fresh Meal where we sold organic vegetarian soups and salads at farmers markets. Since 2016 I have been mentoring people one-on-one and sharing cooking videos and recipes on social media and by email. Transitioning to online has been challenging, though learning to ask for help with what I don’t know has been game-changing. My vision is always evolving. I see the need to bring people together with food. Cooking and eating together and sharing stories, whether locally or globally, will enable us to create peace in our communities and in the world.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
What makes San Diego magical is the variety of Natural beauty. From the oceans to the desert, the mountains, and the canyons. And since I am interested in fresh locally grown food, San Diego County has the most small farms and organically certified farms in the country! San Diego also has a vibrant fishing community, wineries, and the most craft breweries than any other county in the nation. So I would start at the Farmers Market – Little Italy Mercato on Saturday and Hillcrest or Leucadia on Sunday. They each have their own vibe so would want my guest to experience them all. On Saturday we would first head to Tuna Harbor Dockside Market right on San Diego Bay. Here we would get the freshest local fish available purchased right from the fishermen. We could buy a whole fish and have it filleted right there and even provide ice to put it on for the ride home. After Tuna Harbor, we would go to Little Italy to pick up our vegetables for meals during the week. Some of my favorite farms are Indian Summer Farm and JR Organics for vegetables along with Jacy Farm and Heritage Family Farm for fruit. Of course some locally produced, single sourced chocolate from Nibble or vegan cookies from Maya’s Cookies would top off the trip. Before leaving LIttle Italy we would grab a pizza from one of the local restaurants, then go stash our farmers market goodies, and head to Balboa Park for a picnic and listening to some of the street musicians. After visiting a museum or two, like the Nat or the Museum of Us we would head home to cook our fresh seafood and sit back on the patio to watch the sunset. The ocean is a favorite place, so Sunday would start with going to have brunch at Pannikin in Encinitas. After a visit to the Leucadia farmers market for some snacks for the beach we would head to Moonlight Beach to spend the afternoon and wait for sunset. The rest of the week we would definitely go to a different beach every evening to catch the most beautiful sunsets . The beach at Coronado, Sunset Cliffs, Torrey Pines, La Jolla Shores, Pacific Beach just to name a few. Of course during the day we would have to go to San Diego Zoo or the Safari Park, hike in Mission Trails Park, or even go to Julian and Cuyamaca. There are so many things to do that my guest will have to come back again to see the rest.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people who have influenced my life starting with the love and support of my parents, my husband, and two children. I was previously a preschool teacher and had two very inspiring directors during my teaching career. One of them, Becky Candra, even challenged me to create an afterschool enrichment class. This was the beginning of my kids cooking classes which progressed to a food business and my current ventures in inspiring people to cook local food and share meals together as families and communities. None of that would have been possible if I had not read Jane Goodall’s book “Harvest for Hope” which changed the way I look at food. And finally my involvement in Slow Food Urban San Diego has given me more support and encouragement to continue on the path to good, clean, and fair food for all.
Other: email- firstname.lastname@example.org