Happy to welcome freelance journalist, novelist, and dedicated foodie Tracey Ceurvels of The Busy Hedonist to the blog today.
At The Busy Hedonist Tracey shares delicious recipes (and wine pairings) along with stories about cooking, dining, and living in New York City, and beyond. She offers writing courses, restaurant recommendations, and weekly dinner plans.
If you’re looking for the best specialty food shops in New York City (think cheese, spices, chocolate, and more) Tracey created an app, NYC iFoodShop App, to show you the way.
Her book Sabrina Loves Soho is inspired by Tracey’s walks through NYC with her daughter.
Here’s Tracey …
Tell us about The Busy Hedonist. What does being a busy hedonist mean and how do you best love to share your philosophy with the world?
Being a busy hedonist is about enjoying life now; it’s about taking that trip you’ve always wanted to; eating at your favorite restaurant; cooking dinner and enjoying it with friends and loved ones.
What experiences have influenced your approach to cooking and life?
I’ve always been an adventurous soul—as a young person I wanted to travel and learn about new cultures, which included eating different foods. During high school I traveled to Japan for a sister city cultural exchange and to France, both of which had a major influence on me and my outlook on life and food. Although each culture is so different, each has a special reverence for food that I just love—there’s a definite enjoyment factor. French cuisine is celebratory and taken very seriously while Japanese cuisine is simple yet ritualistic and ceremonial. Both of these approaches toward food have worked their way into my life over the years.
What inspired you to create The Busy Hedonist Weekly Dinner Plans? What’s included in the weekly plan?
I love to cook and when I had my daughter in 2008, there were some moments I thought I’d never cook dinner again. Before she came along, I loved figuring out what to make for dinner, shopping leisurely on a weekend day and spending hours in the kitchen. That was no longer possible once I had an infant in tow. Yet still I wanted to cook and to eat fresh, seasonal and non-processed food. So I devised a way to do so by planning out meals each week, along with a shopping list. I found that organization was important and having certain staples on hand made it easier to whip up a fresh dinner. Now I help other busy people, whether they’re moms or business owners. One of my customers is both, and she said that it’s a bit like Christmas when she opens up my recipes on Sunday morning. That was such a wonderful compliment.
Do you have a signature dish, that everyone always asks you to make?
I’d have to say bouillabaise, which is a French/Mediterranean seafood stew. I just love the ingredients in this dish: orange, saffron, white wine and tomato, plus the seafood, of course. It’s such a simple dish to make, but so elegant. And with a bottle of wine and a baguette, it’s a great meal. I once tried to woo an ex with this dish and it worked for a short time, though ultimately he loved the Italian version, which includes angel hair pasta, more than the French version, and this was just one of our differences.
What’s one of your favorite travel and food experiences?
It’s very hard to pick just one, so here are several: dining on the beach in Cannes with fireworks going off overhead; eating local food on the Amazon river in Peru; a restaurant in Paris that serves only one appetizer, one entree and one dessert—there are no choices but the food is impeccable; eating my way around Rome; an all truffle dinner in Assisi, Italy; eating fish tacos on the beach in Belize with great friends. There are so many!
You write for magazines, newspapers, fashion and lifestyle companies, and you’ve written your own children’s book Sabrina Loves Soho. What can we expect to see next?
I am working on a cookbook based on shopping at New York City’s specialty food stores. I am constantly amazed at the ingredients I come across and I am constantly inspired by my discoveries. I am also writing a second novel. The first one is now in the hands of movie producer who’d like to turn it into a movie. I also plan on doing more travel writing this year, so I’ll be heading to Paris, France, Tulum, Mexico and to a culinary festival in San Antonio, Texas.
How has creating your own business empowered you?
I love that each day I wake up I get to do exactly what I love doing, including cooking, writing, creating new recipes, exploring a new food shop or planning a trip somewhere to write about the food—and it’s something I’ve created for myself. The more I’ve stepped into “this is what I do and this is what I love doing” the more it’s all worked out. I’d love to tell other women (and men) that they, too, can create a career/lifestyle that they love.
What excites you most about the woman you’ve grown up to be and the possibilities ahead?
I love that I can be a good role model for my 5-year old daughter, that I can (hopefully) show her that can create what she loves in her life, too.
Tracey Ceurvels worked at several top Boston and NYC restaurants and hung up her apron to use her degree in journalism plus her love of food to write about her favorite subjects: traveling, cooking and dining. Her articles have appeared in many publications, including The Boston Globe,The New York Times City Section, The New York Daily News, Dean & Deluca’s Gourmet Food Blog, Hauteliving.com, The New York Sun, Relish, Time Out, Citysearch.com, Papermag.com, among other publications.
Tracey loves finding the best places to eat in NYC and around the world, plus cooking and creating recipes in her NYC kitchen, using the abundant ingredients she finds in NYC’s specialty food stores. In fact, she created an App: NYC iFoodShop—A food lover’s guide to shopping in NYC. Tracey was twice awarded fellowships in fiction from The Ragdale Foundation, where she worked on her novel, The Patisserie of Dreams. Originally from Boston, Tracey now lives in New York City. You can connect with her at The Busy Hedonist and on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.