Etymology: chef + ista
(as in fashionista)
1. a person who creates or promotes
and indulges in the high art form of cooking,
i.e. a sous-chef or foodie.
2. a person who cooks according
to the current cooking trends,
or one who follows those trends
and cooking styles closely.
Nikole Boyda McGuinness is the Simple Chefista, or should we say The Simple Chefista is Nikole Boyda McGuinness? Nikole was raised by her father, who didn’t have much of a flair for cooking, but could cook a mean scrambled egg sandwich with fresh grown tomatoes and enjoyed mastering an American favorite, the respectable grilled summer hot dog. But mostly, skinny girl (as she was known), lived on processed foods like Dinty Moore Beef Stew and Campbell’s Pork n’ Beans, always hiding the bites from her plate, with no knowledge that there were foods beyond the cans and boxes that she saw in her local grocery store. She discovered that there might be more out there after visiting her Auntie’s in the BIG city, where the family took her out to fine restaurants and on other such culinary adventures. At a young age of five, Nikole promptly returned home, full of confidence from her first encounter, and to her Pop’s and the waitresses surprise, she asked for lobster when the waitress asked for her order at their usual local restaurant where they were “regulars.” This was only the beginning of Nikole’s journey into Gastronomica. After trading in her Converse for a pair of sturdy heels and a plane ticket west, Nikole moved to Portland, Oregon where she became exposed to foods she’d never dreamed of. She ate her first bagel piled high with pesto and delighted at the idea of the minty sensation that had awoken her taste buds, talking about it to no end for days, and also experienced a fantastically tasty oatmeal breakfast that came with a side of chopped hazelnuts and black currents, “Hazelnuts (?) on oatmeal (?)” Oh my goodness… the wonderful details! (a truly defining moment).
Nikole later found the love her life, a tall handsome man named John, who would eventually become her spouse. After the first few dates, she felt that it was probably time to give up cereal for dinner, and that she should really start to learn how to cook, believing the adage that the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach, but it turned out the guy already had a few culinary tricks of his own. Good thing, too, because skinny girl needed to survive, and this was what ended up sealing the deal for her, as she handed over the key that led to her heart. Still determined to learn on her own, Nikole set up shop in their kitchen and began to experiment with various ingredients, fresh produce, herbs and seasonings. Time passed while cooking, exploring and falling deeply in love, and skinny found that she had even gained a few happy, healthy pounds! Life was good with experiencing truly yummy food, good coffee and drinks and eating out at all the hip new restaurants across town, and she found that she could, in fact, cook “beyond the can,” which made her quite happy. John had no complaints and enjoyed their time together and their simmering culinary romance in the kitchen and beyond. Now, several years later, they’ve moved to Nikole’s hometown of Pittsburgh, PA, are still madly in love, and are both still expanding and experimenting, rarely making the same meal twice. Unbelievable, but true… They’ve even started to cook and explore foods across the globe, visiting different countries, while seeking out even more culinary knowledge!
Her newest creation is The Simple Chefista, where she shares her culinary adventures, whether in her own kitchen or abroad, in class or out in the field. She loves to review the many cookbooks she delves into, and recipes she tries, what she does and doesn’t like about them and how she improved upon them, and she encourages the celebration of and discourse in food, in all that it encompasses. She truly believes that food is something to be shared in it’s full capacity, in person, or over the web. Food can be explored in many facets, through all of the senses. Above all, she believes in demystifying the abracadabra that she once believed encapsulates what gourmet is and revealing it’s simplicity. Creating good food should be and is attainable to everyone. She welcomes your comments and suggestions, will be happy to answer questions, and would love to share in your own experiences and reactions in such culinary discoveries. And like every good chefista, she wants you to love food as much as she does.
“We all need food to survive, but we should all, at some point in our lives, have the opportunity to experience truly gorgeous food that not only nourishes us physically, but also inspires us visually, emotionally, and creatively.”
~From the Introduction to Food & Art Styling Ideas written by Ari Bendersky