Episode 36: Simone Miller, Expert Chef and Author, on Cooking Paleo and Gluten-free

Simone Miller is a well-known chef that has been cooking for two decades now. She worked in a variety of restaurants growing up on the East coast. She then decided to take her talents to San Francisco and focus on being an elite chef, recipe developer, caterer, and author. Her own food intolerances led her to turning her catering company, Zenbelly, into a gluten-free, paleo-style phenomenon.

- Simone started cooking at a cafe in Connecticut at the age of 19. She never thought to enter into the restaurant business; in fact she was adamant that she wouldn’t! In college she kept changing her mind about her career path; she loved food, but didn’t want it to be a career. Spontaneously, Simone moved to the Bay Area and became a personal chef and caterer. Through this time, she discovered her food intolerances, which led her to the creation of Zenbelly; a successful, gluten-free catering company. The past year or so she has stepped away from catering to focus on recipe development, cookbooks, and teaching others how to cook.

Simone’s Experience as a Vegetarian…7:30
- Simone is an animal lover! She didn’t feel great about eating animals; this choice was not for health benefits. Working at a vegetarian restaurant also prompted her to try out this particular cuisine. She ended up eating lots of gluten and soy, which completely disrupted her hormonal system. At the time of her health issues, she was living in upstate New York where there were really strong farm-to-table farmer markets available. Grass-fed, pasteurized, and humanely raised meats were readily available. This is how Simone slowly transitioned to eating meat again.

- Simone was feeling better, but she knew she could feel great. Hearing about the Paleo movement, Simone gave it a try. Through this she realized she was eating more carbs than she realized. Once she cut out grains and lowered her carb intake, her blood sugar was much more stable and she did not have the crashes she once experienced.

- Simone has three books available: The Zenbelly Cookbook, The New Yiddish Kitchen, and Paleo Soups & Stews. Writing a cookbook had always been a dream and it seemed unattainable. Being a part of the Paleo community allowed her to connect with people who she might not have come into contact with. 
- After The Zenbelly Cookbook, Simone connected with Jennifer Robbins, another Paleo author, through an online network group. As Jewish, Paleo bloggers, they realized a void of Jewish cultural recipes. Thus, The New Yiddish Kitchen was born. 
- Paleo Soups & Stews started with a conversation with her publisher. At first, she was not interested in it, but the recipes came quickly! In fact at the restaurants she worked at she was in charge of the ‘Soup-of-the-Day.’ It is safe to say that soups are her forte!

What do people ask you the most?…24:35
- Many people are looking for foods that they miss. They aren’t sure how to include the foods from their pre-paleo days into their new lifestyles. Simone wants people to feel more confident in the kitchen; that’s her goal!

Advice for someone who lacks confidence in the kitchen?…27:30
- Simone tells people not to feel like it’s all or nothing. Start small; cut out small amounts of processed food overtime. 
- Don’t let perfect get in the way of good. Figure out what works for you; don’t feel bad if you can’t do it perfectly right away.

- www.zenbelly.com

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