Laura is a culinary school graduate with extensive experience in the restaurant industry and an appreciation for agriculture, which has influenced her passion for cooking plant-based foods. Laura believes staying connected to the Earth is an important aspect of our health. Parvati Magazine caught up with Laura to talk about her passion for cooking, her seasonal approach to diet and the inspiration behind her cookbooks.
Parvati Magazine: It’s clear from your work that food is a real delight for you. When did you first know you wanted to make it your career?
Laura Wright: I had earned my bachelor’s degree from university, but had been working in restaurants and food operations the entire time to support myself. My parents owned a local produce and grocery store when I was growing up, so food had been a constant theme for me. After I graduated from university, I found myself still drawn to restaurant work and I had just gone vegan, so I was much more interested in cooking for myself in a general way, I decided to enroll in a nutritional culinary management program, just to see where it would take me.
PMAG: There’s a story behind the name of your blog and cookbook. What inspired you to choose it?
LW: I had been reading a little bit of food writing, and picking up some books from the library, that sort of thing. I was somewhat familiar with the writings of M.F.K. Fisher and happened upon one of her pieces called “An Alphabet for Gourmets”. Under the entry for the letter P, she talks about “the first mess of peas”, and how this crop is so highly anticipated and cherished because it points to a new growing season. I really connected with that reverence for the seasons and nature.
PMAG: What do you enjoy about working with local and seasonal food?
LW: Like I mentioned previously, I grew up with local produce as a constant. I love the immediate Earth connection, that distinct sense of nourishment. Eating with the seasons also keeps you firmly rooted in the present moment, which I think a lot of us could use more and more these days.
PMAG: If you could sit down to any “first mess” of vegetables what would it be?
LW: Right now I’m just completely excited for all of the spring vegetables. The first asparagus, the tender lettuces, buttery shell peas, spicy radishes, green garlic. I’d probably make a big and beautiful salad with all of those things.
PMAG: Using three recipes from your cookbook “The First Mess“, describe a perfect Mother’s Day brunch.
LW: I really only need one recipe because my mom has a total sweet tooth! I know that she would absolutely love the easy gluten-free waffles from my book. They have a coconut, oat, and banana base, and they’re just perfect with a big drizzle of local maple syrup. I’d probably throw a handful of chopped dark chocolate into the batter for good measure as well.
Laura Wright lives in the verdant Niagara region of southern Ontario. Her popular blog thefirstmess.com features things Laura loves: cooking with natural, plant-based foods, eating seasonally, and sharing wholesome meals with the people in her life. Her new The First Mess Cookbook is filled with recipes you’ll love!