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/ Madeleine Lavelle

Madeleine Lavelle

Chef Madeline Lavelle

Madeleine is a professional cook and food stylist who is passionate about clean eating, delicious meals and creating a dining environment full of whimsy and great eats. In 2018, after a five year career in luxury public relations but a full time love for food and all things cooking, she enrolled in the International Culinary Center in Manhattan.

From there she worked at Union Square Cafe, Danny Meyer’s iconic restaurant, to The Culinistas, a chic private chef start up company that matched chefs to private homes. She has found her dream job at the Food Network, working as a food stylist on TV shows as well as helping in the digital kitchen and magazine test kitchen. Her hopes are to one day have her own specialty grocery store and cafe but until then she is happy cooking for her fiancé, family and friends.

Q&A

Why and how did you get into cooking? What are you up to these days?

My love for cooking started at a young age! As the oldest of five children my Mom was constantly cooking, shopping, making lunches and I was always helping out in the kitchen. I always wanted to hang out with her and help cook for my family. Now, I work for the Food Network as a freelance food stylist for TV shows.

What’s your connection to cooking for a healthy brain, specifically?

This is something that is really important to me and to my family as we recently lost our Grandmother to Alzheimer’s disease. Cooking for a healthy brain means eating a lot of omega-3s, vitamins and antioxidants.

We understand that certain regions diets/cuisines promote and sustain healthy brain health over time…what’s the best/tastiest in your opinion?

The Mediterranean Diet has become a fan favorite! This is a way of eating that is focused on omega-3s – lots of fresh fish, nuts, olive oil and clean, fresh food. I snack on nuts all day, and normally have fish for dinner. In the winter, I make a lot of sauces with olive oil and cherry tomatoes. I confit the tomatoes in oil and garlic and serve with a big leafy green salad topped with pine nuts.

What would you say is your favorite “brain health” dish? Would you be willing to share the recipe?

I love a good white fish! My halibut and confit-ed tomatoes with white beans is a go to weeknight dinner for me and my fiance. You can pair the beans with any protein you love – shrimp would be a great option or something as simple as a fried egg for an extra boost of B12 vitamins!

For those of us who are not professional chefs, what would be your #1 tip on cooking healthy delicious meals in our ordinary everyday crazy lives?

My biggest tip would be to stock your fridge with salad greens like tuscan kale and arugula, herbs, nuts and fruits at the beginning of the week. Something as easy as a blueberry banana chia seed smoothie is a quick and delicious way to jump start your morning and get tons of omega-3s and antioxidants. Also, keeping nuts on hand is a great snack that is both filling and healthy. Additionally, my pantry is stocked with canned beans, tomato paste and vinegars that can come together as a quick side dish to a big green salad. It might sound silly but learning “how” to grocery shop – what to get, their shelf life and how to use different ingredients is the cornerstone to healthy living. I rarely order take out because my fridge is stocked with ingredients that can be turned into many different dishes.