Photos by Tara Thomas
New York City-based chef Tara Thomas consciously creates food with a plant-based future in mind. She sources her ingredients from local and sustainable farms to create healthy, flavorful dishes and to support these smaller communities who understand their environmental and social impact. Tara is also mindful of the choices she makes in fashion—favoring vintage and investing in pieces to wear for a lifetime.
Here, she discusses her approach to getting dressed and shares one of her favorite recipes with us.
How would you describe your style?
My style is definitely in the range of a maximalist minimalist. Minimalist in the way that I don’t shop for clothes often because I believe in investing in pieces that I’m in love with. I like to build a relationship with my wardrobe. When I find a piece I love I like to make sure it’s made from natural fibers, fits my body perfectly, has a charm, and has the potential to be worn in different ways; I want a wardrobe I can carry through my life experiences. My style is also maximalist because I love colors, patterns, and eye-catching elements. These I’m not afraid to pair patterns together, wear lots of layers, accessories, and a pop of makeup. As an environmentalist, I think there is this idea that my personal style would be very minimalist modern but I like to expand beyond those elements into how to maintain a closet that honors the earth that I can express my personality through.
I love to dream and travel, I like to embody that in my style. My favorite places are the Mediterranean, being in nature where plants are immaculate colors, and feeling like I can lounge — when I’m getting dressed that’s kind of the inner checklist that determines if the outfit is right. When I’m shopping I always choose vintage/second hand first then sustainable/ethical brands.
Favorite aspect of your job as a chef?
My favorite aspect of being a chef is being able to create the opportunity for someone to consume consciously. I feel my responsibility as a chef is to provide the future of food. The future really is plant-based in order to achieve population health, environmental balance, and eradicate many injustices that human communities experience. To me, that means starting from the farmer I’m sourcing from is it local, sustainably grown, I want to be able to tell the story from the producer who honors the plant. There is a level of intention taken when producing the plants when you trace them from the ground up. I want to pair it with like items and jazz it up with something unexpected. Serving it up to be an opportunity for someone to vote with their dollar that small farmers are the future, black chefs are the future, and food that makes you feel good and brings you health should be accessible to all beings.
Guilty or not so guilty pleasure?
Chocolate, it’s always chocolate. I love the way it makes me feel, it’s magical almost psychedelic experience just keeps bringing me back. I’ve become such a chocolate snob because I learned that much of the chocolate industry is riddled with slavery, modern colonialistic damage, and exploitation of the entire experience of the product resulting in it being damaging to the earth. So I research my brands and always consume at a minimal level. If you’re choosing incredible products you don’t need much to receive the experience of chocolate.
Tip: Try avoiding chocolate with lecithin. It's an indication that the producers are taking shortcuts! Vote with your dollar!
What is your favorite style from the new Spring 2020 collection and how would you style it?
My favorite style is the Cassie in Black suede. It’s sexy, flirty, and grounded on easy warm days. This style is perfect for day and night. I mostly imagine myself going to lunch with a friend in these and taking a trip to the farmers market after. I would pair with a long linen dress that dances above the ankles and layer different pieces either with volume of color or shape to elevate the dimensions of the fit.
Favorite gift to give.
My favorite gift to give is always time and that usually comes in the form of cooking and eating.
Favorite gift to receive.
My love language is definitely gift gifting which means that’s what I want to receive. I feel special when someone shares something with me, truly. It never has to be anything special but the gesture that someone wants to be shared and loved.