We're kicking off a new series at Foodista.com called Foodista Five, in which we'll interview some of the leading minds, bloggers, chefs, tastemakers and influencers in the food industry, and who better to start with than Sheri Wetherell, founder and CEO of Foodista? Before Foodista, Sheri worked in the marketing departments of heavy hitters like Microsoft, Amazon.com, Nordstrom and eBay. Read on to learn more about Sheri's love of fresh, healthy foods and cooking for her young daughter Emery.
1. How did you get involved in cooking/baking? What's your food background?
My maternal grandmother's kitchen was always buzzing (she has five daughters!). From a young age, I started baking cookies and bread with her. I had my own baby loaf pan and she'd always make me my own special loaf. To this day, that yeasty smell of rising bread immediately takes me back to her big kitchen in Sonoma. She and my grandfather also had a huge garden and we'd make fresh tomato juice -- her version of V-8 -- or just slice them and eat them with salt and pepper. Nothing better than warm tomatoes right off the bush!
2. What inspires you to create?
Perusing through my favorite cookbooks and/or magazines, or watching travel shows, always makes me want to jump in the kitchen and start whipping up dishes. On weekends, I love going to Pike Place Market or my local farmers' market to buy fresh, local fish, fruits and vegetables from my favorite vendors. Also in the Market is my favorite spice shop, World Spice, where I'm always discovering something new and inspiring. Recently it was Tasmanian Pepper Berries! I'm going to infuse some olive oil and also some vodka!
3. What is your favorite thing to prepare?
Oh, that's a tough one as it changes day to day! Right now I love creating and introducing healthy dishes to my 18-month old daughter. Her favorite thing right now is halibut sauteed in a little butter with tarragon. Super easy!
4. What's your fondest food memory?
When I was 20 I studied in Siena, Italy. Our language school was above this fantastic bakery that, every morning, baked the most amazing raisin bread. That earthy and sweet aroma of yeast, raisins and cinnamon baking was out of this world! The loaves were ready by our mid-morning break and we'd all run downstairs for a slice and a caffè macchiato. By the end of the term, the owner/baker would always have our slices (slathered with buttered) ready and waiting for us! That was heaven!
5. Everyone's got a handful of favorite ingredients. What are yours?
In the pantry, I always have to have Murray River salt on hand. It has a wonderfully subtle flavor and is the perfect finishing salt. I also love smoked paprika and fennel pollen. In the fridge, a selection of good cheeses! Always a good sharp white cheddar and Parmigiano-Reggiano.