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Liza de Guia
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"All good food has a story. I tell it. On video."
Food. Curated. is an inspirational, online video storytelling series about the people, passion and magic behind good food. Founder & Chief Storyteller, Liza de Guia, takes her camera behind-the-scenes into kitchens, onto boats and around farmlands to give you an up close and personal glimpse of the true life of food artisans so you can see for yourself where good food comes from and make a point to seek them out. For food passion deserves to be discovered...

Entries by Liza de Guia

NYC Has the Cronut, But the Craze in London: Bread Ahead's Custard Grenades (WATCH)

(0) Comments | Posted October 10, 2014 | 10:19 AM

"The donuts give our bakers a chance to be naughty, really. We literally carpet bomb them with sugar."

Meet Justin Gellatly, the head baker of Bread Ahead Bakery located at the popular food stalls in London's Borough Market. Good fortune brought me to Bread Ahead early one morning in England. A wave of heavy rock blasted from the kitchen, while an army of men in white danced to the beat of their own bread making. But, I wasn't here for the bread this morning, I was here for Justin's legendary custard-filled donuts - a menu item so famous and so blogged about, sometimes, even Justin admittedly can't cope with it.

My local journalist friend, Felicity Spector, suggested this story and I am forever grateful. Justin is a modern day Willy Wonka of sorts - a true craftsman who delights in the wonder of his creations. Watch as his eyes light up when talking about the experience of eating his donuts. There's a cheeky amusement to it, a sense that he's recreated the magical experience of being a kid again.

I tried to share one of his donuts. A novice mistake, as these are not made for sharing. In one bite, you instantly want to be alone. The gush of cream is surprising, and it ends up everywhere! On your nose, on your cheeks, all over your fingers. Moments later, you find no matter how much you've licked and wiped away, there is still more custard. An everlasting memory of the most famous donuts in London. Enjoy his story.

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Meet the 5 Food Truck Finalists for the 2014 NYC Vendy Cup Awards (WATCH)

(1) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 2:22 PM

Every year, the NYC Vendy Awards picks food truck finalists to battle it out for the best of the best in New York City street food. This year, the finalists span not only cuisines, but many of the boroughs. As the official storyteller for the fourth year in...

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Food Curated: A Dressing That Makes You Wanna Eat Your Vegetables

(0) Comments | Posted June 24, 2014 | 10:19 AM

"Processing and preservatives kill flavor. We restore the flavor with fresh vegetables."

Meet Masaki & Yukimi Momose, the husband and wife team behind MOMO Dressing, a small-batch, Japanese dressing company based in New York City. MOMO Dressing isn't big, but it should be. I've never had a dressing that altered the way I eat. Usually, a bottle of dressing takes me a month or two to finish. MOMO's roasted sesame dressing takes me a few days. Or less. I find myself buying more salad ingredients just to eat more dressing. I now crave salads at every meal. I know it might sound crazy, but is that really a bad thing?

When I explain this to the Momoses, they laugh. Apparently, this is something they hear all the time from customers -- especially moms who claim MOMO Dressing is their secret to getting their kids to eat more vegetables. So, it's kid tested. Adult approved. And there's a reason for it. It has something to do with the freshness. Their particular flair for Japanese ingredients. The creaminess. The perfect balance of salty & sweet. It's fantastic. Just like them.

Right now, they produce 3 dressings: Roasted Sesame, Non-Oil Shiso and Ginger Carrot. In addition to finding them at Smorgasburg & local farmers markets, you can buy their products online at Good Eggs, a Brooklyn delivery start-up that delivers farm-fresh groceries and local artisan products to your door. This is first in a series of videos in which I'll be collaborating with their artisans. I've used their service a ton. It's certainly a friendly way to guarantee real food made from real farmers/fishermen/artisans make it to your kitchens every week. I hope you enjoy their story.

Thanks so much for watching food. curated.! Happy...

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The Standard Which to Measure Every Churro: La Vara's Churros (NYC)

(0) Comments | Posted June 20, 2014 | 2:24 PM

"The window of opportunity to eat a freshly fried churro is actually very short."

Meet Alex Raij, the co-chef and co-owner of La Vara, a bright and beautiful Spanish restaurant in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. To me, Alex is a Saint. A Churro Saint. She saved me. She single-handedly absolved all the sins of New York City churro makers by creating, in my opinion, the Holy Grail of Churros. Just one bite will transform even the strongest skeptic into a believer. Trust me, from street food vendors to Zagat-rated restaurants, my crusade for the perfect churro has spanned years. I've chewed on cinammon-starved cardboard logs. I've suffered sponges full of dirty oil. I've sat alone, hungry and hopeful, awaiting the arrival of someone's "favorite churro" only to be left disappointed, dejected and exhausted, with nothing to show except cinnamon & sugar in the deep lines of my hands. So come you tired churro masses, come cake your weary lips with sugary heaven. Your search is finally over.

La Vara's churros are ONLY available on weekends on the brunch menu.

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Tea Lovers, You're Drinking Tea All Wrong

(2) Comments | Posted June 13, 2014 | 1:18 PM

Meet Timothy Hsu, the founder and tea connoisseur behind The Mandarin's Tea Room, an underground, semi-secret, tea-speakeasy lost in the heart of SoHo. The first time I met Timothy, he got me tea drunk. Sip after sip, I could sense my serious mood slowly vanish. I left giddy....

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Food Curated: Dock to Dish, Bringing 'Fishermen's Fish' Back to the Community

(1) Comments | Posted May 21, 2014 | 1:14 PM

"It's a win, win, win, win, win."

Meet Sean Barrett, the co-founder of Dock to Dish, the first community supported fishery in Long Island, New York. A few years ago, during a trip to San Sebastian, Spain, Sean noticed a very different practice occurring among local fishermen. They were selling their day's catch directly to restaurants that lined the harbor. Diners were experiencing the freshest fish, straight from the sea to the table. This inspired Sean's idea of Dock to Dish, a revival of an old way of life, where customers buy their fish directly from the source.

In today's model, the chain of custody isn't as direct as you might think. Sometimes a single piece of fish can pass through a surprising number of supply chains, even reaching other countries before it arrives in a customer's hands. Sean's idea is to eliminate the number of hands that touch a piece of fish to preserve its quality and freshness. To give people what he believes they've been missing: a fisherman's fish. A fish so fresh, members prefer to eat it raw, no matter the variety, because each fish is guaranteed to be less than 24-hours to your table.

Dock to Dish is always growing, and is currently making plans to accommodate new members. To find out more, click here. Recently, Sean launched a new restaurant supported fishery program in New York, with the help of Blue Hill, Le Bernardin, Telepan, The Spotted Pig, Breslin and Nick & Toni's. Find out why "New York's largest fishing port is undergoing a return to awesome."

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The Regal Vegan: Fooling Jewish Grandmothers w/Faux Gras

(3) Comments | Posted September 19, 2013 | 5:10 PM

"I wanted to make something bigger. Something better. Where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts."

Meet Ella Nemova, the Founder and Chief Faux Gras-preneur of The Regal Vegan, an artisan food company in Brooklyn focused on decadent vegan treats. Ella is a force to be reckoned with. Spend just a few hours with her and you immediately get swept up into her whirlwind of ideas and epiphanies about vegan food. Her opinions are fiery, and her suggestions eye-opening. All stemming from a mini-diet experiment that changed the way she ate forever. Before I knew it, I found myself picking apart my own diet, wondering why I didn't talk about "feeling amazing" or "feeling energized" as often as she did. This is what I love about exposing myself to passionate individuals, the belief in what they do is so strong, you feel this pull become part of it. Like osmosis. And just being around Ella, I started to feel good already. Try it yourself sometime!

As Ella explained to me, "decadent and vegan are not usually used in the same sentence." She wants to change that. Starting with her Faux Gras and Basilicotta vegan spreads, she wants to help satisfy our cravings for meat and dairy with alternatives that actually tasted rich - introduce food items that wouldn't make you second guess a meat replacement. Enjoy her story! I hope it convinces you, not to stop eating meat entirely, but to peer into the food landscape and see what you're missing. I've never had cardoons. Now I'd like to know what they taste like. Thanks Ella. Thanks for sharing the exciting possibilities of a vegan diet. The plant world awaits us all.

Thanks so much for watching food. curated.! You can find out where to pick up or buy Faux Gras online here. Have fun eating your...

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WATCH: NYC Vendy Awards Finalist, Luke's Lobster: Ambassadors of Maine

(0) Comments | Posted August 30, 2013 | 6:07 PM

"Making this lobster roll is like making a peanut butter sandwich for anybody else."

Meet Luke Holden, the president and founder of Luke's Lobster, a sustainably focused Maine seafood company based in New York City. Luke is a proud Mainer, or "Mainiac." Out of his Nautical Mobile, a.k.a The Naughty Mobile, he shares with New Yorkers a taste of his hometown: fresh, simply prepared Maine-style lobster rolls. This is his story.

The NYC Vendy Awards, celebrating the best of New York's mobile food community, will be held Saturday, September 7th, 2013 at Industry City in Brooklyn, NY. I hope you can make it! Tickets for the event can be purchased at Eventbrite here.

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WATCH: NYC Vendy Awards Finalist, The Chipper Truck: The Last Stop in Woodlawn

(0) Comments | Posted August 30, 2013 | 6:05 PM

"Our customers are always #1. We always look out for our customers."

Meet Alice and Valentino, the co-owners of The Chipper Truck, a late-night only, Irish food truck based in Woodlawn, NY. In this mini Irish community tucked away in the Bronx, eager night owls come hungry to The Chipper Truck for addictive Irish comfort food. Here, chips are king. This is their story.

The NYC Vendy Awards, celebrating the best of New York's mobile food community, will be held Saturday, September 7th, 2013 at Industry City in Brooklyn, NY. I hope you can make it! Tickets for the event can be purchased at Eventbrite here.

Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy...

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WATCH: NYC Vendy Awards Finalist, The Cinnamon Snail: A Happy Clappy Vegan Food Truck

(3) Comments | Posted August 28, 2013 | 9:22 AM

"We keep all our workers on a high dosage of donut juice and silly stuff."

Meet Adam Sobel, the chef and founder of The Cinnamon Snail, a playful, vegan food truck serving New Jersey and New York City. With donuts names like The Ultra Right Wing Conservative Bearded Lady Bop or the Hulk Hogan Transvestite Fudgie Wudgie, you can see there's a playful sensibility to the mission of this very special vegan truck. This is Adam's story.

The NYC Vendy Awards, celebrating the best of New York's mobile food community, will be held Saturday, September 7th, 2013 at Industry City in Brooklyn, NY. I hope you can make it! Tickets for the event can be purchased at Eventbrite here.

Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy...

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WATCH: NYC Vendy Awards Finalist, King Souvlaki of Astoria: You Don't Burn, You Don't Learn

(0) Comments | Posted August 27, 2013 | 5:56 PM

"Astoria likes its kings."

Meet Lampros & Kostas Tsampas, the family behind King Souvlaki of Astoria, a Greek-street food truck based in Astoria, Queens. "Grilling fast and grilling good" is the name of the game at this meat-on-a-stick street food stop. Here, it's all about family. This is their story.

The NYC Vendy Awards, celebrating the best of New York's mobile food community, will be held Saturday, September 7th, 2013 at Industry City in Brooklyn, NY. I hope you can make it! Tickets for the event can be purchased at Eventbrite here.

Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy...

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WATCH: NYC Vendy Awards Finalist, El Olomega: Putting Salvadoran Pupusas on the Map

(1) Comments | Posted August 27, 2013 | 9:34 AM

"This is the best. You have soccer. You have pupusas back here. What else can you ask for? This is like being in heaven!"

Meet Janet & Marcos Lainez, siblings and co-owners of El Olomega food truck based in Red Hook, Brooklyn. For over 25 years, El Olomega has been spreading the love for their family's secret recipes for pupusas, a traditional El Salvadorian-style street food. This is their story.

The NYC Vendy Awards, celebrating the best of New York's mobile food community, will be held Saturday, September 7th, 2013 at Industry City in Brooklyn, NY. I hope you can make it! Tickets for the event can be purchased at Eventbrite here.

Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy...

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Grazin's Grassfed Burgers: A Small Diner Aims to Make The Cleanest Burger You'll Ever Eat

(8) Comments | Posted August 2, 2013 | 11:50 AM

"It's an artificial cheapness that's associated with meat in America. I rather you spend your money on a good burger and just do it less frequently."

Meet Andrew Chiappinelli, the owner of Grazin', the world's FIRST farm-to-table direct, 100 percent Animal Welfare Approved grassfed and finished burger joint based in Hudson, NY. When it comes to burgers, Andrew is a proud man. He's so thick with pride you can see it, especially while rolling out and portioning his specialty, pasture-raised burger blend. It took him six long years to get his vision for Grazin' up and running, and now he finally feels like people are catching on.

Here, what looks like a diner and smells like a diner is far from the norm. As Andrew will tell you, he has to be ok with disrupting certain expectations. The 1947 stainless steel facade might lure people in, but, it's not unheard of for new customers to walk out once they find the colas are all made to order and the homemade mayo costs an extra buck. For me, it's well worth it. And I wasn't going anywhere. This is a place to come for clean eating. A place where burgers don't sit like bricks in your stomach. A place where a healthy respect for animals, sustainability and local agriculture can be found in every single bite. Watch Andrew's story and see for yourself!

I hope I convince you to take a trip upstate to support good food makers. Though burgers are the mainstays on the menu, you can also find great egg options, soups, salads and sandwiches daily. I highly recommend starting with the plain Grazin' burger, just to taste the nuances of the grassfed meat. For something more adventurous, ask about the burger special of the day or splurge on the "Uncle Dude" -- the layers of jalapeno relish w/house-made chipotle mayo over bacon and local cheddar is a flavor bomb worth coming back for. Truth be told, I ate an Uncle Dude with a side of fries and felt great. You'll see it in the piece, it's no small burger. It was a wonder I didn't slip into my usual burger coma, a satisfying feeling that'll keep me coming back to Grazin's thoughtful, clean food.

Thanks so much for watching food. curated.! Happy Summer...

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Drawn to Fire: A Fire Starter & His Sustainable Meat Shop

(3) Comments | Posted July 26, 2013 | 11:12 AM

"We honor meat every day, it's why we're here."

Meet Jeremy Stanton, the chef and proprietor of The Meat Market, a sustainable butcher shop and one-of-a-kind, fire-roasted catering business in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. If there's one thing Jeremy loves, it's a show. A fire show. Ask him about grilling outdoors and his charisma will overwhelm you. For him, there's no other place he'd rather be then strapped into his flame retardant leather chaps, BBQ tools in hand, surrounded by the crackling sounds of burning wood and the scent of locally grilled meats. This type of cooking is his calling. He just has a way with fire.

Jeremy opened The Meat Market a little under two years ago. It was his way of giving back to The Berkshires community, a community proud of its farmers and farmland. Before The Meat Market, there weren't any options for locals to buy fresh cuts of animals raised in the area. Jeremy saw this disconnect and, for years, worked on a plan to solve it. He asked The Universe for help and this is his story.

Right now, Jeremy is happy to say he works with over 20 farms to showcase their meats and produce to hungry locals, offering a variety of grass fed meats, in addition to, homemade pates, hams, flavorful charcuterie and delicious sausages. If you're not in the mood to cook, he'll be more than happy to grill the meats for you outback. Every Thursday-Sunday, the shop builds a few fires on their specialty grills and invites the community to partake in the best of what The Berkshires has to offer. It's a great concept, a lovely staff and certainly a nice addition to the neighborhood. I hope you stop by one day, it's a fun reason to get out of town and into the woodshttp://www.berkshirefarmandtable.com/.

Thanks so much for watching food. curated. and supporting local farms! Happy Summer...

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Food Curated: Bell & Anchor, A Little Bit of Brooklyn in the Berkshires

(0) Comments | Posted July 1, 2013 | 12:49 PM

"I just want to eat well and keep it unpretentious."

Meet Mark Firth, the owner and chief farmhand of the Bell & Anchor, a farm to table restaurant located up in Great Barrington, MA. I came to the Berkshires looking to get away from the city - to get out into nature and get a little closer to my food source. Mark, a long time Brooklyn resident, had the same idea a few years back. Except, once he discovered the Berkshires, he knew he'd found his home.

I met Mark at a James Beard House Cure-All dinner in NYC last winter, and was impressed with a lot of the food being showcased by chefs in his area. The dinner pretty much inspired my week-long road trip. I wanted to see for myself what restaurants were up to upstate, to see the caliber of food coming out of small towns known for the farm-to-table movement; towns that also supply NYC and Boston with a lot of farmed meat and produce. To say the least, I was impressed. The creativity, the inspiration, the passion were all there; added to that, a sense of camaraderie between all the farms and restaurants - a real sense of community around food. I filmed at a couple of restaurants that you'll get to know over these next few weeks - some thick with history, some riding on new ideas. I hope it inspires you to escape the city. There's a level of excitement building amongst all the chefs I met, you could sense it, you could see that summer was everyone's favorite food season.

So, enjoy this little piece on the Bell & Anchor. Mark co-founded two of my favorite restaurants in my Brooklyn 'hood: Diner and Marlow & Sons. He has a knack for creating very special spaces. And the food by Chef Stephen Browning is as comforting as food can get. I think the shot of the burger in the video, visually, says it all.

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Sky Ice: Daring New Flavors in Ice Cream (VIDEO)

(2) Comments | Posted June 25, 2013 | 10:50 AM

"I make ice cream for two reasons: I want to introduce these wonderful things we have in Asia and in Thailand to people, and I also miss these flavors. So, I make them because I miss them too."

Meet Sutheera Denprapa, the ice cream designer and co-owner of Sky Ice, a small, artisan, all-natural ice cream shop based in Park Slope, Brooklyn. When Sutheera was a young girl, she hoped her parents would one day own an ice cream shop. That was her day dream, her little kid wish. It also tells you just how much she loves the stuff. As her husband, Jonathan explained, "few people are as passionate as Sutheera on ice cream." I believe it. Get her talking about new flavors she's inventing, and she could go on and on.

I came across Sky Ice on a food message board one day last fall, someone was flipping out over an ice cream flavor they'd just tried, and it immediately piqued my interest: Sky Ice Black Sesame Seaweed. As soon as the words rolled off my tongue, I was half way out the door ready to taste it. It seemed so daring -- such a curious, savory idea for a flavor. And I had to know it. I had to understand it. So off to Park Slope I went, to this little, corner ice cream shop that smelled, oddly, like Thai food.

Sky Ice, you see, doubles as a Thai restaurant, explaining the scent confusion and the unique flavor selection: lychee rose, mangosteen, Thai iced tea, Thai coffee, toasted coconut, cherry blossoms and green curry, to name a few. They even carried a hard to find durian flavor -- the fruit my Filipino mom says, "smells like hell and tastes like heaven." Right away, you understood that someone making the ice cream had roots, a more tropical taste vision. A new take on flavors based on a childhood somewhere far away. This wasn't going to be a normal ice cream experience. This was something different. And it was Sutheera's plan all along.

So enjoy her story! Some new flavors that'll blow you away: wasabi peanut butter, dark chocolate campfire and their white miso with sliced almonds, you won't want to miss. Definitely my new favorite ice cream shop. I hope you make it out there!

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A Decorated Cookie You Won't Want to Spit Out: One Tough Cookie

(1) Comments | Posted June 4, 2013 | 10:12 AM



"My cookies are better than ordinary. It's a decorated cookie an adult wants to eat."

Meet Gail Dosik, the founder and cookie aficionado behind One Tough Cookie, a specialty, decorated cookie baking business based in New York City. Gail is a walking talking cookie library of sorts. Ask her anything about cookies, and she could talk to you for hours. She's one of those people who has to know anything and everything about cookies. No cookies go unturned with her, if you ask me, and I think that's why her cookies are so great. She does the research.

So, over eight years ago, when she decided to launch her own decorated cookie company, after spending over 25 years in the fashion industry, you can bet she started with really high standards... for herself most of all. Gail explained to me that there really are only a handful of people in the city who do decorated cookies right, five to six well-known cookie makers of her pedigree. When I asked, then, what makes hers extra unique, she was quick to say that of all the decorated cookies out there, she knows her recipe "is the best" in flavor and texture. It's a pretty cookie, you won't spit out. In fact, you'll eat the cookie and kinda nudge Gail for another, like me.

I had a hoot of a time filming with Gail, mostly because, I liked that she called me: Toots. You'll love her not only because she's got a healthy serving of New York sass, but also because she's got a ton of heart. So enjoy the video! Have fun getting lost in cookie world.

To work with Gail to design your own personal cookie or "cookies on cake" for a loved one, for your kids, for an event or holiday, please visit her website One Tough Cookie.

Thanks so much for watching and supporting food. curated.! Happy cookie...

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GoogaMooga Sneak Peek: Joseph Leonard's Fried Chicken Sandwich

(0) Comments | Posted May 17, 2013 | 3:57 PM

"A good fried chicken comes down to being seasoned all the way through the meat. Ours is more than an 11 herbs and spices recipe."

Come see a behind-the-scenes peek into the prep work and concepts behind some of the unique foods offered at The Great GoogaMooga food and music festival this weekend in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Meet the cast at Joseph Leonard, a West Village neighborhood restaurant claiming to have perfected the fried chicken sandwich. This one's got quite the crunch too. I hope you're hungry... Enjoy!

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GoogaMooga Sneak Peek: Northern Spy Food's Egg Begley, Jr

(1) Comments | Posted May 17, 2013 | 10:01 AM

"We're planning on selling close to 3500 egg sandwiches in 3 days."

Come see a behind-the-scenes peek into the prep work and concepts behind some of the unique foods offered at The Great GoogaMooga food and music festival this weekend in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Meet the cast at Northern Spy Food Co., a farm to table restaurant in the East Village, serving up a soft yolk packed, eggy chimichurri sandwich bomb for those looking for a delicious, meatless option. I hope you're hungry... Enjoy!

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GoogaMooga Sneak Peek: Landhaus' Melt-in-Your-Mouth Bacon Sticks

(1) Comments | Posted May 16, 2013 | 1:37 PM

"I like to make food worth lining up for. It's too much work to make food that's just average."

Come see a behind-the-scenes peek into the prep work and concepts behind some of the unique foods offered at The Great GoogaMooga food and music festival this weekend in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Meet the cast at Landhaus, a farm to sandwich operation in Brooklyn, serving up high-quality, herb infused, melt-in-your mouth, thick cut bacon on a stick. Enjoy! I hope you're hungry...

Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy...

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