Click a show title or use the red Streampad player at the bottom of our frame to listen now.

Monday, February 14, 2011

2/15 - HEALTHY PLEASURES: Chef Aaron London, Ubuntu Restaurant & Heidi Strong of Pilates Napa Valley

Chef Aaron London

Slow Living Radio  presented a cornucopia of  health, wellness & farm-to-table flavors with Chef Aaron London of the Michelin-starred Ubuntu restaurant in Napa, and Heidi Strong, director of Pilates Napa Valley.

Chef Aaron London - At only 27, Chef Aaron London brings a dozen years of culinary experience to his position as executive chef at Ubuntu, the Michelin-starred “vegetable” restaurant in Napa, CA.  Growing up in Sonoma County, CA, London always dreamed of becoming a chef and as a teenager, London cooked for just about anybody who’d eat his food—friends, family members, even neighbors. Finally, at 14, he got his first job as a dishwasher at a Mexican restaurant in his hometown.

From there, London attended the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, NY, and, on weekends during school, took the train down to New York City to stage at top restaurants such as Daniel and Café Boulud. After completing his first term in 2002, he worked for six months in a full-time externship at Daniel before moving to Montréal (where his Grandmother Cook lived) in 2003. North of the border, London helped open Restaurant Au Pied de Cochon, which is still regarded as one of the city’s top eateries. In 2004, London moved to Restaurant Toque, and after a year and a half as a Chef de Partie, London returned to the U.S. to complete his schooling at CIA and work at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, in Pocantico Hills, NY.

In 2007, London took some time to recharge and think about what he wanted to do next. After some time back in Northern California’s Wine Country, he flew to Europe, where he bicycled from one country to another, staging at restaurants along the way. He lingered under the tutelage of Chef Pascal Barbot at Astrance in Paris, and also spent time at Chef Alain Passard’s L’Arpège. Following Paris London staged at La Chassagnette in Provence, well known for its garden to table menu. Later in the trip, while in San Sebastian, Spain, London received word from his father about the opening of Ubuntu. Seeing Ubuntu as a potentially his “dream restaurant,” he was soon on a plane back to the U.S.

London started at Ubuntu during the restaurant’s fourth week of business as a line cook, and later became a sous chef before moving to executive sous chef. Finally, he was promoted to chef de cuisine under Jeremy Fox, the restaurant’s former executive chef, and served in that role for nearly a year before assuming the lead spot in the kitchen. London lives in Napa and is an avid bicyclist. 

Heidi Strong
Heidi Strong, owner and director of Pilates Napa Valley has been a graphic designer all her life. As a designer, she developed a deep appreciation for aesthetics.  In design, there must be balance in all elements; that's what makes a design pleasing to the eye.
But as a professional designer, she didn't have that balance in her working life. There was always the pressure of deadlines, and working with clients or management to articulate a vision or a message though design. Sometimes it came easily; but often it was challenging.

At her last design job, she was consistently under a great deal of pressure. A co-worker suggested that she take a Pilates Reformer class. She was told it would reduce stress, and help relieve those shoulder stitches and neck aches that come from sitting in front of a computer monitor, mousing the life long day, all the while receiving evil e-mails.  Ouch!  What's more, she was also informed it would strengthen her core and sculpt the body into goddess-like condition.  For real?  Heidi had never been much of a jock, but thought she'd give it a try.  Who doesn't want to be in goddess-like condition?  And you can't win if you don't play, right?
She started taking reformer classes, and quickly became addicted.  Never had exercise  been more fulfilling.  It wasn't easy, but it didn't stress her body out more.  In fact, stress melted away.  Kind of like being in a bath tub with candles and a glass of wine, but resulting in a tighter, more defined body.  She liked the community of the small, focused reformer sessions--it was actually fun to go and work out with friends.  Heidi realized that this was something she wanted to help others experience.  And she saw her body changing in a way that she couldn't quite believe possible.
So she quit her job as a designer, and devoted a full-time effort to becoming a certified instructor with a dream of opening her own studio in my home town of Napa.  And that's how Pilates Napa Valley came to be.  Lean more about what Pilates can do for you at Pilates Napa Valley.  ###

No comments:

Post a Comment