Elettra Wiedemann is a modern day renaissance woman. The model, who happens to be Isabella Rossellini's daughter and Ingrid Bergman's granddaughter, is a designer, actress, DJ and restauranteur. The concept for the latter, her New York Fashion Week, pop-up restaurant GOODNESS that focuses on healthy, sustainable foods grew out of surprising beginnings - her London School of Economics masters degree. "My dissertation was about the future of feeding urban populations," Wiedemann explained, "With that and my history of modeling, I came up with the idea for GOODNESS. I am lucky to have so many chefs that want to be involved."
One of those chefs, Julian Medina of Toloache and Yerba Buena, was kind enough to give Wiedemann and I a cooking lesson in his Upper East Side restaurant. In honor of Fashion Week, we decided to cook flan, one of Medina's specialties. "Lots of sugar," Wiedemann said, "Very good for my model diet."
Although she doesn't work the runway anymore, ("I feel very relieved to be sitting watching a show. The first show space walked in was Frankie Morello in Milan, but I wasn't a good runway model. I'm not like a Karlie [Kloss] loping down the runway, I'm more like 'ummmm, hey guys.'"), Wiedemann, who has been the face of Lancome for over six years, still plans on attending Fashion Week: "I only go to a few of the shows now, like Prabal, Michael Kors. I am not going to be like in the old days when I was running around town."
Probably for the best, as GOODNESS which debuted last season, has become a huge success. Surprisingly, the model hasn't always been a huge foodie. "I only ate pasta and drank milk for like the first 10 years of my life," she exclaimed, "It’s been a blossoming since then." Now, Wiedemann's repertoire includes a homemade pesto from scratch, "my mom taught me how to make it, I am good with pastas, it's the whole Italian-ness," she continued, "And I do really good fish, like salmon. I am really good with salads and roast chicken. This Thanksgiving, I bought an amazing apple pie and then my fiancé [who owns Whitehall] left it in the oven for like 5 hours and it was burnt to a crisp. The rest of the dinner I cooked from scratch, and it was great. But, desserts are hard."
The flan, on the other hand, was a different story as it was completely easy and delicious. It was a good thing that Chef Medina was there to lead the way. Check out our slideshow below to see our cooking experience:
GOODNESS is located at the Museum of Arts & Design, 2 Columbus Circle, 7th floor.
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