Let Food Matters Plan Your Hamptons Diet
by julie earle levine
Super Food Fruit Salad from Food Matters
Tricia Williams, the holistic nutritionist and seasoned private chef behind Food Matters, is having a busy summer. Originally from Long Island, she spends the season in East Hampton, where she counts makeup mogul Bobbi Brown, Late Night host Jimmy Fallon, fashion business guru Andrew Rosen, and interior designer Jenny Dyer among clients of her lifestyle service, which promotes healthy living through customized meals.
The culinary arts weren’t always the field Williams envisioned working in. She was studying playwriting at Tisch School of the Arts at NYU when she took her first job at The City Bakery and was intrigued by the industry. Williams worked her way through the New York restaurant scene, and eventually landed her first executive chef job at Isla. She started Food Matters in 2008 after the birth of her first child and after reading Michael Pollan’s tome The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which made her realize she wanted to help people achieve optimal health with the right food.
When working with a client, Williams first gathers his or her health history and goals and then designs an individually tailored food program. Part of the process is finding healthy replacements for their favorite unhealthy foods, whether it’s meatloaf, Doritos, or Hostess cupcakes. “I can even make a Twinkie replacement now,” she says, revealing quinoa flour and coconut cream as the secret ingredients. “We’ll try and meet people where they are, so they keep eating similar foods.”
She also helps with weight management, allergies, infertility, stress, depression, and bad skin, by “pumping up” versions of favorite meals including pasta. Among her methods: using quinoa flour, making noodles out of vegetables, and creating meals, like quinoa salad, that are 50 percent vegetables and grain. “It helps cut back on calories but still satisfies and is tasty,” she says. One of her favorite dishes is her vegetable lasagna, layered with zucchini and basil cashew cream, which tastes like ricotta cream when you bake it. One client’s favorite treat was a rich, dense chocolate cake that Williams created a healthier version of using oats, quinoa flour, and coconut sugar baked with coconut oil. She also does healthful cookies. “You wouldn’t know [it’s] any different from white flour or sugar,” she says.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that no matter what condition you are in, Williams advises no processed foods: No sugar, no gluten, and no dairy if you want to achieve your wellness goals. But, as she tells East End clients, part of the fun of being in the Hamptons for the summer is shopping the fresh produce at the green markets. On her shopping list: kale from Balsam Farms, seafood from Eric Braun, and heirloom tomatoes from Sang Lee Farms, plus mushrooms from “Mushroom Dave” at Open Minded Organics. “His shiitakes and oysters are perfect for summer grilling,” she says. “And Mecox Bay Dairy in Bridgehampton sells grass-fed beef that is not to be missed.”
Jamie Graber, owner of Gingersnap’s Organic in the East Village, also offers healthy eating options for New Yorkers looking for raw, gluten free, organic, and vegan options. For summer, she’s creating “Hamptons To-Go” packages, for people to pick up from her shop and take with them when they head out East for a weekend. Examples include her “Go Getaway 2” meal package with choice of granola, three almond milks, or three chia puddings; three juices; three salads; hummus or guacamole; and zaatar, chipotle, or vadavan crackers. There’s also the “Treats Package,” which includes two green juices, two bags of kale chips, one bag of flax crackers, tamari almonds, granola, almond milk, and three fruit puddings.
Chef Scott Winegard, formerly the chef at NYC vegan restaurant Pure Food and Wine designed the menu, while William Hickox, a chef at Del Posto and Graber’s fiancé, has also added input. Graber said the packages help “balance out” weekends away. “If you’re going to the Hamptons you will go drinking and do dinner with friends at night, but for half the day, you can eat well,” she says.
Photography by Sari Goodfriend (fruit salad, Lasagna); jolie Ruben (Salad, juice)