Eileen’s passions are fresh food, global adventure and green living.
Eileen’s first job at the age of thirteen was at a locally-supplied farmers market and gourmet specialty store in Ohio where she prepared fresh produce, baked pies, and walked the store selling baskets of oven-warm bread. She also enticed customers to try exotic fruits and gourmet treats from far away countries, foods that most supermarkets did not carry. That first taste of sharing her love of food and culture was foreshadowing of many culinary and cultural adventures to come. However, at a young age she did not eat very healthy.
During high school, Eileen’s bus stop in the morning was across the street from a convenience store. She filled her back-pack with soda, donuts, and toaster treats. When afternoon classes rolled around the sugar-crash took its toll while she struggled to stay awake and excel in school. During her senior year, she became conscious of what she was eating and realized she felt better, her skin was clearer, and she had a lot more energy. Her regret was that she did not learn this lesson earlier.
By the time she was old enough to leave home, she headed for Miami, where exotic cultures, foods, and environments amazed her while earning a degree in Environmental Studies. Days snorkeling, kayaking, rescuing injured dolphins and manatees, and even wading in alligator holes with her biologist husband were balanced with nights experimenting with new recipes she convinced her friends from exotic places like Cuba, Colombia, and the Trinidad to share with her.
Like every young cook, experience comes with many recipe disasters along the way. While once making a new chicken soup recipe, a large and boldly spiced cauldron, she continued to add pepper each time she opened the lid to eagerly see it bubbling away. By the end of the day when it was served up, no one could take more than one bite of the now infamous burning “pepper soup.” Honing her cooking skills while reading every cookbook and magazine that she could find, Eileen was soon organizing and hosting a gourmet dinner club with friends, where good food was everyone’s pleasure.
Drawn to sun-filled adventure, California came calling. Soon after college, Eileen found herself the Executive Director of an international conservation charity started by actor Woody Harrelson to preserve rainforests. In addition to helping manage efforts to raise funds and protect precious rainforests, she found herself eating fresh-caught fish and tasting exotic juices in the depths of the Amazon, ceviches in Peru, and her all-time favorite dish, beans and rice with platanos and chimi churi in Costa Rica (although Pupusas of El Salvador are a close running second).
Living in Los Angeles also opened Eileen’s mind, stomach, and body to the healthy LA lifestyle. She immersed herself in learning vegetarian cooking, even becoming vegan for a while. A love for meat returned, but was now driven by an understanding and affection for organic and sustainable sources, making meat only an occasional treat, and an active lifestyle balanced with yoga, spinning, and pilates.
A ten-year career in the natural foods industry unfolded with a role leading sales and marketing at Guayaki Sustainable Rainforest Products, where she helped grow Guayaki Yerba Mate, a tea harvested from the rainforest of Paraguay, into a national success and a unique model of market-driven conservation. Her experience evolved into health and wellness consulting for other companies in the natural foods industry. During this time, Eileen found herself in many more adventures: from camping among indigenous tribes, eating platters of grilled beef with Latin cowboys in the middle of the rainforest, harvesting olives and pecans on organic farms in distant lands, and even drinking chicha, a beverage made by a group of Peruvian women chewing corn and spitting the mash into a vat (using enzymes in their saliva to start fermenting the batch!)
Even after years of trying and making an endless variety of foods, Eileen wanted to learn more, so she attended culinary school at The New School of Cooking in Los Angeles. She continued honing her skills while she returned as a volunteer for a year to assist classes ranging from sushi to samosas, and another year working as a private chef and caterer.
Today, Eileen dedicates much of her time to developing yonanas, a kitchen appliance that she and her husband invented nearly a decade ago. Yonanas creates a healthy treat made only from frozen fruit that looks and tastes like soft-serve ice cream, and provides people an easy, economical, and enjoyable opportunity to make a healthy lifestyle shift.
Hosting dinner parties is still Eileen’s favorite pastime! Cooking close to the earth, using produce fresh from the farmer’s market, avoiding processed foods, and experimenting with new culinary cultures is her style. Making global cuisine healthy, fresh, sustainable, and accessible to everyone is her mission.
Dish With Eileen is another twist in the path of learning and sharing with others that, literally, you are what you eat.
Fresh food. Global adventure. Green living. They can bring fun, health, and wellness to anyone’s life!