Who is Ashley?

IMG_6578 copy(Salinas, CA – August, 2013 – Photo by Johnny Diaz)

Hey there. I’m Ashley Pardo. And I cook every. single. day.

The amount varies. I’m private chef here in Miami, FL. Usually, I pump out enough food to overflow 32 stomachs, while going about my day smelling like fritanga. Other days, I austerely roast vegetables in my pajamas with hair so tangled it’s a nest. Either way, my hands transform food into what it should be: delicious, fresh, sustainable, and simple.

I want you to cook, too. Because cooking is a lot of things, but it’s not hard. If you can read, (which you can; seriously, i just caught you red-handed) you can cook. You can follow directions. You can maneuver your body around a bit. Most importantly, you can eat. Who am I kidding, you love to eat. You must, or else… uhhhh…surprise! you’ve just said sayonara to being alive. 

I grew up with ethereal cooking made by my grandmothers and mom. But once I started to cook on my own, I found it complicated, emotionally draining, tear inducing (what? you’ve never cried from a failed recipe? lies!), and warranting 87 weird-ass ingredients.  My food-life began to change when I quit my corporate job and got a Masters in Gastronomy plus certificates in the culinary arts, wine, and cheese from Boston University. It made a 180 when I moved to Piedmont, Italy to work on two organic farms. Religious-like, best-food-of-my-life lunches and dinners were daily occurrences, took 10 minutes to prepare, and rarely had more than 5 ingredients. This stupefaction left my mouth agape for two months, solidifying the only truth I know about good food: it’ll make you close your eyes from deliciousness (obviously the best marker) when you have real, whole, honest, unfussy and unprocessed ingredients that are allowed to speak for themselves.

IMG_9791(Being a creep next to Jacques Pepin – Boston, MA – May, 2013 – photo by Sandy Campo)

Total bummer, but I’ve recently discovered that I can’t tolerate gluten. (WHAT, YOU’RE NOT MAKING YOUR CAKES ANYMORE?! OR EATING BROWNIES, PIZZA, BREAD, & PASTA? WAIT WTF IS GLUTEN?!) People, gluten absence does not equate to lack of taste. Trust. Most of the recipes going forward will be gluten-free. No worries, I will not remove my previous gluten-containing recipes nor will I refrain from still posting some from time-to-time, because I recognize its deliciousness and some peoples’ stomachs do okay with it. I kind of hate them.

I’m all about BRUSSELS SPROUTS (yes I love them so much it warrants yelling), travel & culture, comedy, teal, creativity in all of its forms, San Francisco, languages (I’m trilingual and fluent in spanalianglish), coziness, fancy cheese, chocolate, bacon, peanut butter, dulce de leche, anchovies (underrated), figs, and laughing so much I cry. Oh yeah, and being a real human. Whatever that entails.

I’m not cool with rosewater (go to Perfumania if you want to eat perfume!), eggs, closed-mindedness or rudeness.

This is a lot more than a food blog.

((PS – Five years ago, I was 50 pounds overweight. Obviously, my relationship with food was different then. While I believe diets are a futile, hateful black hole, I feel compelled to share my thoughts about hunger, body image, and why we eat. Let’s be real, it can be tough to feel comfortable in our own skin as women nowadays. My musings are a hope to make others feel less alone their struggles.))

16 Responses to Who is Ashley?

  1. We love your kitchen. Mom and Dad – - from Berlin, Germany!

  2. I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It all looks exceptional!

  3. Thank you, Tere!!! I hope you follow along and that you’re doing great! :)

  4. very very nice, I’m proud, isn’t taking that leap of faith the most amazing feeling?

  5. Ashley,

    I love your kitchen. Don’t forget… If it’s goya, it has to be good!!

  6. We will welcome your goodies any time, day, or place! Adrian mentioned you could teach us how to make baby food?! Can’t wait :)

  7. LOVE IT SWEETHART

  8. Can I ask what lens you use on your Canon T2I? Your photos are beautiful.

    • Wow, thank you so much! I’m still a beginner but I’m lucky that my best friend is a photo journalist. I use the basic lens, 18-55 mm. I am going to get a macro soon, though, since I tend to lean towards up-close, in-your-face images :)

  9. Ashley,

    I had to find a recipe for a project in my computer skills class, and your website was the first to come to mind. As I went on it, I fell in love with everything. The pictures were as if it was right in front of my face. Love you and take care.

    • Rach! :D:D that means so much to me! I hope you visit often. Tell your friends about it! Love you too hun. Miss you, see you at the end of May xoxo

    • I did tell my friends that were sitting next to me and they were almost drooling from how good the food looks, especially the desserts. See you later. :*

  10. HEY SWWETHEART HOW ARE THINGS IN TORINO
    LOVE DAD

  11. Ashley.. your Grizzly Kichen and Life is amazing. Can’t wait to try more receipes. Keep the great recipe’s and photos coming!!! Jd