Mango and Pineapple Stuffed Chicken Burgers, Dried Cranberry and Apricot Braised Lamb Chops, Raw Truffle Balls—just reading Stephanie Stock’s recipes have us licking our lips. Luckily, she’s part of the Made In Nature Team putting delicious, done-in-a-snap meals, snacks and treats at anyone’s fingertips. What inspires her creativity in the kitchen? She shares how she became comfortable behind the stove and tips, tricks and tidbits for igniting your inner chef.
How did you become a foodie?
I come from a family of foodies. My Mom has always been an amazing naturalist cook and lets ripe, simply prepared fruits and vegetables speak for themselves. I grew up tasting the flavors of her Puerto Rican upbringing. My Father has a master’s degree in animal science and has been working in the meat/poultry industry for over 40 years. I was raised with an understanding of various cuts of meat thanks to him. I realized at a young age how food bonded my family together and made us feel good.
How can we get creative in the kitchen?
Take baby steps. Embrace what you love be it an ingredient or cooking method and use that as your starting point. Involving your family is another way to light the creative spark. When you’re eating something you particularly enjoy, be present to totally enjoy it. How does it smell? How does it feel in your mouth? Does it incite a particular emotion?
In my kitchen, creativity stems from cultural exploration. I bring friends, family and even co-workers into the kitchen to hear about the foods that remind them of home. That inspires me. The best reward is the look on people’s faces after the first bite.
What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
Our Made In Nature dried bananas and almond butter. Either together or on their own, I’m in heaven.
Best number of guests at a dinner party?
Infinity! I love to entertain and share my passion with others. You can’t go wrong bringing any number of people together over good food. Think Thanksgiving parties but all the time. Am I right?
Do you have a must-have kitchen utensil?
A sharpened chef’s knife. It’s essential when preparing really any dish–especially when I need to dice dried fruit and obviously to showcase my ninja skills.
Go to ingredient?
Hands down, olive oil. If you were to walk into my kitchen, you would quickly notice a bottle sitting pretty next to my stove. It’s the base of many of my cooking dishes. I also use it topically for its health benefits. I think it’s one of the greatest gifts from Mama Nature.
Apron, or no?
I wear a chefs jacket when cooking, apron when baking and cocktail vest when drink mixing. What can I say, I’m a girl who likes options. Dressing up is fun and can be motivating when working in the kitchen. Do it!