Bubbling With Ambition, Actor & Filmmaker, Michela Lansing Add's Persian Chef to Her Depicti
Michela is a native of Iran, Teheran. She moved to the United States as a receptive 19-year-old, who soaked up information like a sponge. One of those things that she learned to do very well was cooking Persian dishes that were reminiscent to her home in Iran.
While in the U.S, Michela attended college at the North Eastern University of Boston, and that is where she earned her undergraduate degree. It’s conclusive that many teens who attend college, they get homesick. They will tell you that it isn’t a warm and fuzzy place. Eventually, students conform to their environment, and they grow familiar with the setting. Many will agree that even in all of that solace, nothing compares to the sensation of being home around loved ones. Naturally, Michela longed for something evocative once she got to college, that would remind her of being around her mom, as well as her birthplace, so she started cooking Persian dishes. Michela couldn’t use unique spices that were traditional to her because they were very expensive, so Michela learned to supplement those ingredients with other flavors, and wildly, she created easy prep Persian dishes right in her own dorm. Her recipes ratified success, where even her friends and schoolmates would snag a few pointers like her fried Persian rice. Michela refined those cooking skills over the years—she currently caters dinners for the prestigious residents of Los Angeles and abroad.
Small fact: Michela moved to Los Angeles to attend the Stella Adler Academy of Acting, training under Tracy Ellis and Timothy McNeil. From there, she joined the Russian Theater. Her movie scores include Changeling (2008), The Soloist (2009) A Thousand Words (2012), The Vigilante (2014), and Game of Scones (2015).
From that arsenal of film work, and meeting more people, Michela expanded her network as well as her reach in an astounding way. She’s the who’s who of Los Angeles. Michela is a consultant for weddings, large parties, including film catering.
“When I moved to America,” she says. “I needed to find a way to simplify these Persian dishes that require hours of preparation, cooking for people who live here. The dishes aren’t necessarily, Persian. People love Persian food or Middle Eastern food, but very few know how to make it because the resources aren’t there.”
Everyday Persian-- Guest Chef Jamal Johnson (Actor)
Michela agrees that there is a misconception about Persian dishes.
“There is a thing, kind of like a subculture. Persian people are generally very welcoming, but they don’t necessarily want to send an invitation in order to teach people how to cook their food. They want people to come and enjoy it; but not necessarily, everybody can make Persian food. I think it is the same with French chefs. People from certain ethnicity, they feel that you must be of that culture to make the food. I wanted everybody to be able to experience this, especially today, because people always talk about Keto diets, low carb diets and organic diets. In ancient cultures and since civilization, there was a reason they put all these recipes together, all these different flavors. It’s because they all went together so well and they were healthy. There’s nothing bad and everything is made from basic ingredients. There is a food on Everyday Persian called Koo Koo, and it’s like a Frittata made with herbs. It’s perfect healthy food for Keto people because it’s just eggs and herbs. It tastes so good. I think for me, the biggest misconception is, and that is going back to question, people are uncomfortable with trying this ethnic food because they feel like it’s boring to them.”
Persian elders are territorial with their recipes, just like any traditional grandma. You won’t get the secrets to their sauce, so don’t ask. However, Michela is quite the opposite. She wants to educate and broaden perspectives about Persian food.
“Persian food is wide,” shares Michela. “Our recipes go back thousands of years. There are many different recipes. You can actually sit and divide the types into sections of vegan and vegetarian dishes. It’s just like Indian food—Indian food is similar. They have a lot options and I think that’s the reason people are attracted to Indian food, because it’s minus the meat."
Recipe for Koo Koo (Vegan lovers should try it)
In Black Cultures, and for generations, Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, everyone comes together for a little Soul Food and fellowship. It goes without saying that out of all the days in the week, you have this one day with the people who mean the most to you.
“Persian culture and ethnic culture in America is very similar. We have a very similar understanding as far as what food means, and how food brings everyone together. I really want to share that. I want people to make coo coo, and anything that we [Persians] enjoy. It makes it so much more approachable especially today. We are being discriminated. People treat us crazy. We are stereotyped and labeled terrorist. I think [cooking] that’s opening people to our culture, and that’s such an important thing, making them understand that we’re just like you. We have traditions and get-togethers. Everyone is welcome. If you ever come here [Los Angeles], you have to visit me. I have every ethnicity at these parties. I have White, Black, Hispanic, Cuban, Armenian, you name it, and I got it. They all come and eat the food, and they come without any discomfort. They can’t wait to try my dishes. I want to share that experience. I want to share that with everybody else in the world,” she explained.
Recently, Michela launched the Everyday Persian Cooking Show on YouTube. She plans to release a basic start cookbook late summer of 2020.
“My key purpose is to get people comfortable, to get people acquainted. It’s just like me many years ago where I became a fan of Giada De Laurentis or Ina Garten, two of my favorite icons of cooking. They were simple, and that’s how I learned to cook all kinds of things, just by looking at their book. I’m shooting for something like that possible next summer.”
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