It was about time to get a female character representing and there couldn’t be a better off to start-off with than Olga. She is badass. You would never know it by looking at her but this woman is fierce and brilliant. I can’t remember exactly how we came to meet, I believe I probably email harassed her for a while and eventually we got to chatting while at Bien Cuit (we love their Miche!), and apparently we talked about “my ink,” which I don’t remember but knowing Olga, we would have because she is the type to just ask questions and say what is on her mind and I mean this in the best possible way. That meeting was a couple of years ago and since then, she has become a fast and true friend. I kind of idolize her, just a bit. She is no bullshit and believes in cutting as much out of it of her life as possible. She gives tough love and she often seems to know what is good for me way before I do. She is so incredibly cultured that I often feel stupid in comparison and makes me remind myself that I should be reading a lot more. Like me, she is a big dork and she owns it. Unlike me, she knows how to budget, has self-discipline, a love of pastry, and now a real job!! I am so excited to share the news, which she just shared with me on Wednesday morning over good coffee, pastries and some really tasty egg salad (a lot of calories for breakfast….NOT), that Olga accepted a job as a project editor in the cookbook division of Phaidon Press. #dreamjob for her. To think that when we met she was only just starting out in the world of food, having left the finance world to take a huge risk and pursue her dreams of writing cookbooks, which she has done incredibly and independently, thus far for the likes of Marc Forgione and Marc Murphy, among others and now she lands the #dreamjob. That is straight-up Olga for you. I am so proud to call this woman my friend/fake older sister I could ever want. If you want to get your weekly dose of Olga insight and Friday Link Love news highlights, check out sassy radish and sign-up for her newsletter. In the meantime, you can get a pretty good sense of her in all of her glory, below:
How do you want to be described in introduction? I will be writing a little tidbit about you, but if have preferable title, etc. please let me know. Also please send along a preferred picture to be used if you would like one.
Oh boy – no idea. I write about food? I live in Brooklyn w/husband and cat? No preferred picture (I’m low on self pics) but can dig up one for you.
How do you know BigBellyBloch?
I have no memory of how we met. But I remember that our first meeting was at Bien Cuit, and we talked about your ink.
Do you have a nickname and if you are willing to, can you share its origin, please.
I seem to have many, but they’re all used by different people. Most often it’s “Olgs” or “Olgies” though my husband has been known to come up with such gems as “Olgsmobuick” and “Bang and Olgufson”.
What do you do in life?
I write about food. And I cook.
What is your theme song?
Anything by Led Zeppelin.
What food or drink most closely represents you and why?
I think if I had to be a food or drink, I’d be a roasted chicken. But, maybe, because I’m Russian I should say herring? I asked Andrew (my husband) and he said “a radish with butter and salt” – that sounds good too.
Favorite herb or spice:
I can’t pick one. In the winter there’s a lot of sage and thyme in my kitchen. In the summer, there’s dill, parsley, cilantro, tarragon, mint, basil. I love fresh herbs so much. I don’t have a favorite spice either. There’s a lot of cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, clove, star anise. There is not, however, a lot of caraway – I’m not a huge fan of that, so maybe it’s easier to say what I don’t like more than what I do like because I like a lot of things.
Build a sandwich that represents ultimate deliciousness and describe it here:
Depends on my mood. I love open faced tartines especially one with fresh ricotta, honey, black pepper and mission figs. I went through a prosciutto-persimmon sandwich phase. But I think my favorite everyday sandwiches are full of really good, fresh vegetables: tomatoes, avocados, cucumbers, etc. all bound with a homemade herb mayonnaise on really good bread.
What is the biggest challenge you face on a daily basis?
Balancing a part time PR job, book writing, a blog, and a life. I think what I most acutely lack is time to think – to come up with new ideas, inspirations. Lately, I feel like I’ve been just trying to swat away a swarm of bees. But what I’d like to do is just sit and think and read, or go for a walk and take some pictures.
How do you overcome it?
Not in the healthiest of means. I work long hours, have little free time. It’s not particularly balance and I need to do some thinking this year. I listened a podcast by Grace Bonney (creator of Design*Sponge) and she had her wife, food writer Julia Turshen, contribute to the episode, and they were discussing, among other things pertaining to work/life balance, that you have to be “off” in order to be “on” – in other words that need to unplug not just because, but in that it makes you do your job better. That podcast stuck in my mind. I listened to it and took copious notes.
3PM snack, go:
Apple, peanut/almond butter, cheddar. Banana + peanut butter. Things with nut butters do well here – and it’s a good protein boost.
What are four things you are grateful for?
Health, family + friends, good coffee, art that inspires and challenges me (books, music, visual). And, as this winter draws to a close, the promise of spring!
What are you doing for dinner?
Tonight, for a change, I’m cooking. I met a demanding deadline and my reward is something delicious. I’m hoping to make lamb meatballs, this carrot avocado salad I had at ABC Kitchen, Ottolenghi cauliflower fritters I spied in Food & Wine. And I want to play with a marshmallow recipe.
Thoughts on leftovers?
Depends on the dish, but I’m generally very pro leftovers. Not everything lends itself well to it though. If I have leftover pasta, I put it into a frittata, a trick I learned while working with Chef Marc Murphy. I don’t like leftover pasta on its own – it gets too gummy. Boeuf bourguignon or channa masala, on the other hand, are leftover gods that only get better with time.
Please feel free to share a favorite BigBellyBloch moment if you have one.
The time you insisted I take some bottarga. It disappeared almost overnight. Andrew doesn’t like bottarga so he just watched me in horror as I shaved it on everything in sight.