Daphne Oz says that now is the time of the #LadyBoss, and we couldn’t agree more. With more and more women opening restaurants and running their own food empires, it’s a good time to be a woman in the food industry. Oz is a serious #LadyBoss herself; she’s a host on The Chew, mom to two adorable kids, and author of two books. Wondering how she does it all? Read on.
Oz is the kind of woman we love. We caught up with her to hear more about her new book The Happy Cook, how it feels to have a doctor dad, and how she strikes balance between onion rings and kale. She also gave us the scoop on her beauty routine (Can you blame us for asking?), both for every day and on camera. We strongly recommend taking notes…
In a world where travel was no limit, what would be your ideal food day?
I would have breakfast at Cafe de Flore in Paris with a Cafe Creme and two fried eggs with ham and gruyere. Then I would walk across the Seine to the Marais for L’As du Falafel for lunch and a crepe at Droguerie right down the street. Alternatively, I could jump over to LA for pomodoro pizza with chile flake at Gjelina and a butterscotch budino at Pizzeria Mozza. In the afternoon, I would head to Maine for fresh lobster and the scallop and crab meat broiled with truffle oil, eel sauce, aioli, and sushi rice at Pai Men Miyake in Portland. For dinner, I would be on a beach in Mexico with a fresh fish taco loaded up with chipotle cabbage slaw and a ice cold beer. And for dessert, I would be in my kitchen, eating homemade chocolate chip cookie dough with my kids while my hubby pours some wine. Can we make this happen?
What is your morning makeup routine? What are some of your favorite beauty brands?
I have two speeds for makeup: Five minutes when I am running out the door with my kids and want to look alive, and forty-five minutes when I need to be on camera. Any longer than that and I start to go crazy, so I’ve gotten it down to the bare minimum that still delivers really polished results. My five minute face is Tata Harper brightening serum and moisturizer mixed with some Charlotte Tilbury foundation and her Wonderglow, Milk Cosmetics undereye concealer, Stila eyeliner in Damsel, and two coats of Covergirl Lashblast mascara in Very Black, plus whatever dusty rose color lipstick I can find – I might rub a little on my cheeks as well.
My forty-five minute TV makeup face starts with the same brightening and moisturizing, and then I do heavier under eye coverage blending the Milk concealer with Wander beauty and Cle de Peau concealer. I apply Kevyn Aucoin foundation all over my face and use a beauty blender to smooth, then contour with the Kevyn Aucoin matte bronzing veil. I give my whole face a dusting of the Givenchy healthy glow powder – it makes your skin look like a doll’s. I flush the apples of my cheeks with some Surratt blush, then use a combination of Surrat eyeshadows depending on whether I want a lighter or darker lid. I do a cat eye flick with Sisley or Kevyn Aucoin brown eyeliner that I smudge with my ring finger and then blend out with an aubergine eye shadow. Then I go back for my two coats of mascara, let it dry, and apply my lashes (I love the Ardell Accent 318 demi strip). The last thing I do is run a black liquid eyeliner over the lash strip to make sure it’s invisible and apply my matte dusty rose or glossy nude lipstick.
I do makeup tutorials all the time on my Snapchat just because I’m obsessed and think makeup can totally change your look – if that’s what you want – or just help you accentuate your natural beauty. I used to sit next to my mom’s vanity and absorb all her little tricks and tips, and of course I’ve learned a ton from the professionals I’ve worked with over the years – like the best way to highlight and contour for a natural look. My daughter Philomena is equally crazy about makeup – we’ve done all her dolls and stuffed animals, and she loves to “help” with my look, which is always the best.
How important is diet and exercise to you? How do you practice beauty from the inside out?
So much of what we eat shows up in our skin, our eyes, our energy, and the way we feel in our bodies. The way we see ourselves is what we project into the world – think about how good you feel when you’ve been taking care of yourself and eating well. That said, I refuse to waste even one bite on food that is only fuel and no fun. Eating should always be a time to celebrate. Cooking and eating with people I love makes me happy. I love to travel, eat out, explore with food, and of course I love to cook – it’s how I relax. I’ll often go home and try to replicate the really memorable meals I’ve had, but make them a little bit healthier and a little bit easier. I try to strike that balance of looking for healthier alternatives most of the time so that I can get the burger with onion rings and a black-and-white milkshake with no regrets.
How has having a father who is a doctor [Dr. Oz] shaped the importance you put on leading an overall healthy lifestyle?
Everyone knows my dad is passionate about American’s health, and our ability to feel like experts in our own bodies. He set an incredible example for us as kids of what healthy living could look like. He has always been super active, and he is a really adventurous eater, so we grew up eating all kinds of things (obviously mostly healthy). I think what he ultimately cared most about for us was just having the experience, whether that was trying an awesome specialty food or crazy local adventure (I’m pretty sure he invented FOMO). That’s his key to a healthy, happy lifestyle that I’ve totally adopted.
What was the best advice your parents gave you growing up?
Work hard and have fun.
What are some of your first food memories?
I have vivid memories of making Christmas cookies in my grandmother’s kitchen as a kid, helping my grandpa stuff his famous artichokes, and whipping up spaghetti sauce with my mom from our family recipe. I also remember the “Magic Drinks” my mom would send us off to school with most mornings: green smoothies full of supplements, fruits and vegetables, algae, flax seeds…the works. Shockingly, it was totally not gross. This sort of total body boosting drink is popular now, but back then it was out there when my friends were having toaster waffles. I make my kids, Philomena and John, one that I call the Green Monster, with avocado, spinach, yogurt, and frozen banana – it’s a great insurance policy to start their day on the right foot.
How old were you when you developed a love for cooking?
I grew up grocery shopping and cooking with my mom almost every night. Being at her elbow and tasting all the dishes she created taught me all about spices, herbs and flavor. My mom has been a vegetarian since the age of thirteen, so she began experimenting with Indian, Asian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine as a way to make meals without meat feel totally satisfying to the rest of her family. What this meant is that we had a huge variety of foods on our table as kids.
I loved how capable and happy my mom always felt in the kitchen, knowing she could turn out great meals for her family but also that the kitchen was ultimately a place for her to explore and do her own thing – she had total freedom and the confidence to know what to do with it. It’s that confidence in the kitchen, whether you’re making the most basic salad dressing or a more complicated crown roast, that makes you a happy cook. I dedicated my new book The Happy Cook to my mother and grandmother since they taught me how it’s done! The way I try to make cooking easy and flexible – but still celebratory – so I can use the things I have on hand, is totally a testament to how I grew up eating.
You’re an ambassador for HealthCorps. What made you want to help ensure teens were learning about the importance of nutrition?
It’s so important to access kids and teenagers with health information they can really use about basic nutrition, easy home cooking, simple exercise techniques, and transcendental meditation to cope with the stress all around them. They’re at an age when this knowledge really makes a difference, and these skills and coping mechanisms will last them a lifetime. Kids are also extremely effective at taking this invaluable information home and changing their families and community habits for the better. I am so proud to be a part of the HealthCorps mission to leverage the power of youth to make meaningful positive health change.
What are some of your favorite recipes from The Happy Cook? Which recipes do we need to try?
The Happy Cook is all about making my readers look good in their kitchens and giving them the confidence to have fun while they’re doing it! These are the fail-proof recipes I rely on day in and day out that are meant to be both easy and impressive. The subtitle is “125 Recipes for Eating Every Day Like It’s the Weekend,” so the whole point is for you to be happy and relaxed while making happy, relaxed food. I want your home-cooking to feel fun and celebratory whether you’re making breakfast on-the-go, a lunch for the office, dinner on the table in twenty minutes, or a longer, leisurely weekend fete.
Some of my favorite recipes in the book that I’ve seen lots of people making and enjoying with their families since the book came out: Hoisin-Glazed Pork and Turkey Meatloaf (try any leftovers slathered with spicy mustard and a pile of fresh mint, basil, lime juice and thinly sliced jalapenos), the Roasted Tomato Soup with Giant Cheesy Croutons (my kids love this), the Thai Nicoise Salad, and the Better Brownies (made with zero flour, sweet potato and black bean puree which makes them much better for you, and also devilishly, decadently fudgy).
What are some tips on making great healthy meals, in a short period of time?
Half the battle is just making it easy on yourself, so my food is simple food that is simply elevated. I keep lots of healthy options on hand, and I’ll make bulk lentils or quinoa or millet on the weekend to use throughout the week. You want the healthy choice to be the easy one. Whenever you turn on the oven, you should be making two of anything: roast chicken, fish, vegetables, etc. so that you get double the meals for one effort.
In the book, I’m giving you all the super flavor boosters I make at home and keep on hand to ensure even simple, healthy preparations feel thoughtful and unique – things like my garlic-chile oil, fresh mint and basil gremolata with lemon zest and nuts, easy pesto you can make with any leafy green vegetable and toss onto pasta or spoon over roasted chicken or fish, or citrus-brown sugar-cayenne compound butter you can keep in your freezer and use for sweet or savory cooking. I also included a ton of my leftover suggestions, and the ways I make buildable meals so my kids can eat the simplified version of a dish my husband and I can also enjoy without me having to make two totally separate meals.
How has having children changed the way you see food (if at all)?
I pay even more attention to getting the best quality ingredients I can. My meals also tend to be a lot simpler and faster than before when I had more time to spare. I love really easy preparations that I can doll up with homemade flavor boosters. I have been making this blend of scallions, dates and chopped hazelnuts that I quickly fry with a little olive oil in a saute pan and sprinkle with flaked salt over everything, from roasted squash to salmon. It seriously goes with everything and makes even the easiest recipes feel special and celebratory without taking me much time at all, which is the whole point. I can make simpler preparations for my kids to enjoy and then be able to quickly upgrade them for us. I try not to make my kids an entirely separate meal – I like them to see what we’re eating as a family so they feel a part of that community and at least give it a try. If they hate it, they can have something else, but I don’t want them to be afraid to try a food.
Do you have any advice for mothers who feel like they don’t have enough time to cook for their families?
I am guilty of going weeks without working out in a gym. My inbox is always overflowing. I never feel caught up on any of my TO DO lists. Becoming a mom means your time is no longer entirely your own, so lots of things you used to be happy to make time for fall by the wayside. The reason I continue to make time for cooking, even at the expense of other things I might want to do, is because the results for me are so immediate. It puts me in control of what my family is eating, while also helping my kids learn to be adventurous eaters. And because I often keep my time in the kitchen as simple as possible, it ends up being relaxing (and highly rewarding) for me.
If you’re nervous about getting started or really only have five minutes, I would say start small with homemade salad dressing. If you have a little longer, go for a totally basic soup – or even just some freshly chopped herbs, lemon zest and a little olive oil and salt to go on top of store-bought soup! Once you start going through the motions, it begins to feel natural. You start seeing – and tasting – the results, and it makes you want to try something new. Think of it this way: the best case is that you discover a new skill set that will only continue to grow with you throughout the rest of your life. And the absolute worst case is that you dump what you made, order pizza, and start fresh on something new tomorrow.
What is your go-to workout? What workouts do you believe are overrated?
I am obsessed with Dancebody thanks to my friend Andrea Saper. I am one of the world’s worst dancers, so I have to just get into the music and sweat like crazy which feels so good. I also love Ballet Beautiful for long, lean muscle toning. I would also just love more time to workout. Most days, my workouts are chasing kids and walking between meetings.
If you could eat one cuisine for the rest of your life what would it be?
Turkish or Thai food. I love sweet and savory together, with tons of fresh herbs.
What’s the New Potato in TV? What is the New Potato in the food industry?
The New Potato of TV is the VICE Munchies channel – I’m obsessed. Check out Mario Batali’s new show, Moltissimo. TNP in the food industry is the rise of the #ladyboss. We are seeing so many female chefs with insanely delicious restaurants – like Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen! I also love Cosme and Lilia, both helmed by the fairer sex. It’s a good time to be an eater in NYC.
As obsessed with Daphne Oz as we are? Read this fun interview with her and her Mom, Lisa Oz.
*Daphne Oz, photographed at The Odeon in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann