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  • July 08, 2024 7 min read

    Food That Fits All With the BAE of the Culinary World, Brooke “Chef Bae” Baevsky

    If you adore food, cooking and nutrition but you’re also managing dietary restrictions and a budget, you might have encountered just a tad bit of frustration. Private chef to athletes, celebs and influences (oh my!), Brooke Baevsky, or Chef Bae, knows not only how to help her clients with these exact situations by creating delicious, fun options that cater to these needs, but also through countless how-tos and tips for her throng of followers on social media. Her Instagram, @chefbae, and helpful recipe-filled website, itschefbae.com, are filled with a slew of unique, colorful, appealing recipes that fulfill taste buds and health requirements equally.

    And it’s no wonder Chef Bae is able to offer the inside scoop on all things regarding nutritional inspiration that can still support health goals and parameters, since she herself grew up not only keeping kosher, but also in a family with 11 (!!!) dietary restrictions between five people. From her childhood of cooking and creating within these guidelines, Baevsky then studied business, product development and food studies, eventually working with health food companies and larger corporate brands. She added even more knowledge through a health-supportive culinary arts program, and now she braids her personal and academic background to the benefit of private clients and her “Food Baes” alike.

    Threaded throughout her work, is Chef Bae’s mission to share the idea that healthy, attractive food should be accessible to everyone, regardless of which grocery store is available or restrictions need tending. The Springfield, MA, native and LA resident is so intent on this, she started a non-profit program that helps people learn how to cook healthy, fun dishes that fit any budget and guideline. Below, Chef Bae shares her top tips on how you can make these ideas a reality, her own unique path in such a niche area and her favorite (and least favorite!) trends.

    SBS: You’ve worked with so many incredible athletes and celebrities! Are there any repeating themes you see that others can use?

    Brooke Baevsky: Healthy food does not need to be a designer diet or expensive by any means. It comes down to—and I know everyone says this—a balanced plate, and prioritizing protein and veggies first. And, a huge topic is gut health, including pre and probiotics and eating fermented foods at every single meal.

    I think what I really want to get across is breaking the stigma: Healthy food does not need to be expensive, designer, or made for celebrities. It can be dietarily-friendly, sexy and indulgent, without breaking the bank. My clients like shopping at Erewhon, but the recipes I post on my website and social media are very affordable, simple recipes that anyone can make with ingredients from any grocery store. And, you really can still eat quality food and amazing ingredients, if you know the tricks and how to shop. For example, you can make a chicken dinner with vegetables cheaper than going to McDonalds and getting four meals for your family if you know how to shop!


    SBS: For people going in to a regular grocery store, what are indicators and ingredients that could help someone find healthy and appealing?

    BB: Focus on the perimeter of the grocery store, which is the refrigerated section. Investing time into cooking is investing time into your health. Instead of having a premade bar or cracker, it’s very simple to utilize ingredients in bulk, and that can actually be much cheaper—and even organic. I have recipes for seedy crackers and protein bars like this. And, focus on what’s in season, which makes food look so much fresher. And, it’s cheaper!
    SBS: How can those with multiple allergy/health issues simplify their food choices when it can feel so overwhelming?

    BB: Focus on what you do like. And it’s helpful that I practice what I preach, because I grew up keeping kosher. Most of the food I cook just happens to be kosher. My family has 11 dietary needs and restrictions between the five of us. So, I’m used to cooking that way and focusing on what you can eat. Once you discover the possibilities, you realize there is so much! Go to a farmers’ market and see how many varieties of produce there are or how many grains there are in the world. For example, think about how many ways to eat and prepare quinoa: You can pop it like popcorn, sauté it, puff it into a grain, and put it in bone broth. Or, you can grind it down to make quinoa flour, and you can make pasta. And that’s just one grain! So, it’s really just exploring opportunities.


    SBS: What are some important things to know about gut health, and what are misconceptions?

    BB: I think everyone is looking at it like a buzz word, but your gut is your second brain. So, feeding your gut is so important. That has to do with balancing hormones and sleep. Seventy percent of your body’s functioning, mood, and hormone balance is what you put into your body. They say ‘70/30 percent’ with diet and working out, and it’s the same with your gut. Prioritizing fermented foods is huge, like pickles and sauerkraut…I’ve pickled everything! I was just in Japan, and I was so inspired by what you can pickle…plums, grapes, beets. And it’s very easy and cheap: You can have a fermentation jar on your counter. Kimchi is actually peasant food because its fermented white cabbage, which is the cheapest vegetable you can buy. It’s vinegar, salt, a little bit of sugar, water and then white cabbage. It’s a huge superfood, and something I feed to all my clients.



    SBS: What are some health and food trends you absolutely love right now? What about those that you wish would go away?

    BB: There will always be something, and I’ve seen it all. There was charcoal, then it was keto, then it was paleo. Right now, there is a desire to look emaciated and skinny, and I wish that would go away. I have a lot of clients who are so skinny and their period isn’t regular, but there is this pressure to be very thin and not eat a lot; I wish that trend would go away. A period is a really good indicator of a healthy weight.


    SBS: How do you handle a situation when asked to do something you feel is unhealthy?

    BB: There has only been one instance when I cooked for a mega-influencer, and I felt like her eating habits weren’t healthy. I no longer cooked for that person. And I’ll be honest with a client. I won’t say ‘Ok, I’ll give you one bite of food, or a chicken and broth smoothie three times a day.’ I know there are chefs that do that for clients, and there are clients who ask for that. The chef will make that smoothie for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But I’m the first one to say, ‘Why would I be your chef to do that?’ I’m going to cook you what I think is a healthy meal. I’ll work with you on dietary needs and restrictions, what you love, and make food you’re obsessed with. But if something is unhealthy, then I would turn it down. And that also goes with the other side too: I’ll get a client, and all they’ll want me to make is hotdogs. And I’ll say, why am I here?


    SBS: If someone has limited time, how can someone optimize their time in the kitchen?

    BB: Proteins should be the focus of every meal, so spend time preparing a large batch of protein. And, any produce that you have, wash and prepare it so it’s actually inviting, and it doesn’t become that lettuce that you throw out at the end of the week. People lean toward snacks, not just because they’re delicious and addictive, but also because they’re also convenient. It’s so much easier to reach and grab a bag of chips then to go wash and cut up a cucumber. But if that cucumber is cut up and just as inviting and approachable as something unhealthy, you’re going to make healthier food choices. So, taking that time to mass-wash produce, and saving that time to do so at the beginning of the week, investing in yourself, will be game-changing. I always prepare veggies and fruits for my clients.


    SBS: What was your path to becoming a social media phenom? How do you balance your in-person work with your presence on your platforms, and what are the challenges in doing so? 

    BB: I think my passion for high-quality ingredients really played a huge role in my success on social media. Once I began sharing recipes containing foods and supplements that my clients also loved, it just sort of just took off! I live in my calendar. Thankfully, I'm a high-energy individual, but time-blocking is my lifeline.

    SBS: What’s your own wellness approach to keep yourself as well-fed as your clients in the midst of it all? 

    BB: Thankfully the clients I work with have sought me out because they were looking for delicious recipes that are allergy-friendly. I typically am able to prep and make myself food when I’m prepping for my clients because I’m not worried about cross-contamination of items such as soy, gluten, or dairy!


    SBS: How did you come up with the name Chef Bae?

    BB: My last name is Baevsky, and we all became the Bae family. We would take Baecations, my dad was Dr. Bae, and I went by Chef Bae. And then ‘Bae’ became a thing. I told my dad you can’t go by Dr. Bae now! Our family chat is still the Baes.

    The best, zaniest part of being Brooke: I’m incredibly playful and have never ever shied away from making a joke! Life is too serious to be too serious. 


    Brooke’s Sticky Be Socks Mantra: Be You. I’m not afraid to take risks, whether it’s recipe development, making new friends, trying a new activity or sport and saying yes to new experiences. I feel confident about fully being myself in any given situation because I know it will take me exactly where I need to be. 


    Brooke’s LA Faves:

    Splurge Restaurant: Nobu Malibu
    Healthy Restaurant: Parakeet Cafe
    Nightlife Spot: My couch
    Fitness Studios: Pilates Platinum, Rise Up Pilates, and Barry’s
    Fun Activity: Trying new restaurants
    Calming Activity: Going on a walk with friends to grab matcha and then head to a farmer's market
    Books: I love a cookbook. I have a huge collection at home!

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