From her career as a top model to her new chapter as superblogger the Impatient Foodie, good taste abounds in Elettra Wiedemann’s life. Hamptons caught up with the Bellport-based mom-to-be, as her first cookbook rolls out and a gig with Oprah beckons.
Silk floral Oksana dress, Tanya Taylor ($895). Fahrenheit 451, 105 Main St., Westhampton Beach, 631-288-5724; tanyataylor.com
It’s rare to find a person who fires on as many cylinders as Elettra Wiedemann. Worldly, wise, creative, and original, the 34-year-old Bellport resident has positioned herself as a new-guard food star, offering spot-on food-prep and wellness insight as the blogger Impatient Foodie. Wiedemann also happens to be a supermodel, having posed for top photographers and walked on high-profile runways for more than a decade. Meanwhile, she found time to pen her new cookbook, Impatient Foodie: 100 Delicious Recipes for a Hectic, Time-Starved World—a must for on-the-go cooks everywhere. While this bounty of brains and beauty might make another person insufferable, Wiedemann speaks from gratitude rather than ego as she recounts her parallel careers. “Something I’m continuously surprised by is how I can do things that initially feel impossible,” she says. “I always think I know nothing at the beginning [of a project]. But I do know. This book taught me that I am capable of a lot more than I think I am.”
Impatient Foodie is a cleverly crafted and easy-to-follow cookbook that takes its cues from Wiedemann’s popular food blog of the same name. In it, she invites chefs of every level to cook their way through 100 meals that take 30 minutes or less to make. The much-vetted recipes are categorized by a primary ingredient (winter squashes, herbs, strawberries, etc.), with four recipes incorporating each star ingredient. “When Scribner, my publisher, said I needed 100 recipes, I thought, I can’t do that. But lo and behold, I pumped out 100 recipes in two and a half weeks… A to Z, asparagus to zucchini, four options for each,” she says.
While jitters are understandable for anyone in Wiedemann’s position, those who have loved her online perspective would never doubt her ability to put an engaging and fresh spin on the time-honored cookbook. She’s been examining our eating habits for several years—notably as Refinery29.com’s food editor— acknowledging how our good intentions don’t always get us far at the end of a busy workday.
LEFT: Rosemary dress, Tory Burch ($898). Americana Manhasset, 2060 Northern Blvd., 516-627-1790; toryburch.com. RIGHT: Daisy Bouquet sleeveless western dress, Coach 1941 ($795). Americana Manhasset, 2060 Northern Blvd., 516-365-2777; coach.com. Montezumina sandals, Christian Louboutin ($1,295). Saks Fifth Avenue, Walt Whitman Shops, 230 Walt Whitman Road, Huntington Station, 631-350-1100; christianlouboutin.com
“As I was looking through the cookbooks that I own, one thing stood out to me,” she says. “We are often going through the grocery store in a daze, after a long day at work. We’ll be going through the aisles, listening to a podcast, and we’re not necessarily all there,” Wiedemann explains. “And yet we don’t want to throw our standards for food out the window. This cookbook is designed to help you, right there at that moment.” The model’s perspective must be striking a powerful chord. She’s gearing up for a plum gig that few would even dream of: “Oprah invited me to be a speaker on her cruise,” she says. Yes, that Oprah. (“A cookbook for you, and a cookbook for you…”) “It’s nerve-wracking, but I know I can do it.”
Having a copy of Impatient Foodie in your Hamptons kitchen makes a lot of sense. “You have so much beautiful food around you during the summer in the Hamptons,” she enthuses. “Shopping around the farmers market is amazing. Impatient Foodie helps you have the best of two worlds: You have the opportunity to grill and be with your family, yet still have a full social calendar.” In 30 minutes or less, you have a delicious and healthy meal, with the regrets trimmed off.
Wiedemann’s years as a fashion model played a big role in her understanding of and appreciation for the art of cooking, particularly when it comes to craftsmanship. “People in the fashion industry—editors, stylists, photographers—really appreciate artisanship,” she notes. “Just look at Vogue.com and you’ll see how much attention is paid to stitching and pleating.” She points out, however, that recent years have seen the industry veer off-course, into more mass production. “When my mom was modeling, fashion was much more about artisanship. Meanwhile, the food world has become much more about appreciating, touching, and experiencing something that can never be produced again.”
Cosmic floral dress, Tomas Maier ($1,550). 74 Montauk Hwy., East Hampton, 631-604- 6700; tomasmaier.com
Wiedemann’s mother is none other than film star Isabella Rossellini, who taught her the ABCs of cooking and is, naturally, her biggest fan. “My mama is proud,” Wiedemann says. “Embarrassingly, she wrote me an Amazon review as my mother.” She admits, though, that Rossellini was slow to get behind her as she embarked on her Impatient Foodie journey, but has since come around. “When I told her I was going to start the blog in 2014, she didn’t get it. She thought I should just try and get a job at Vogue. ‘Just call Anna,’ she said. But then it took off, and I think she was as surprised as I am that my life turned around so dramatically.”
Recently, Wiedemann’s life took another dramatic turn—she is pregnant with her first child. She has thought long and hard about what it means to be a mother, and how everything—food choices included—makes an impact on children. “I often thought, even before I was pregnant, that I’d like my book to be helpful in households with young children,” she says. “I was raised on a primarily Mediterranean palate, and I wonder what moms in China or India are feeding their kids, what flavors and textures they use. I hope to introduce my child to as many foods as possible, and explore a spectrum of regional cuisines.”
“THE FOOD WORLD HAS BECOME MUCH MORE ABOUT APPRECIATING, TOUCHING, AND EXPERIENCING SOMETHING THAT CAN NEVER BE PRODUCED AGAIN.”
Even bachelors can rely on Wiedemann’s expertise to feel more confident in the kitchen. “Cooking isn’t about cooking; it’s about independence,” she declares. “This book is actually ideal for young men striking out on their own, without a lot of kitchen space, who want to be cooking for themselves and learn a few basic skills.”
Independence, artistry, family ties, and confidence. Elettra Wiedemann has built her life on these principles, and the door to each is found in the kitchen.
photography by RANDALL SLAVIN. Styling by Eric Niemand. Hair by Yohey Nakatsuka at Defaco using Bumble and bumble. Makeup by Satsuki Soma using Kevyn Aucoin. Shot on location at Elizabeth II, Bates Masi Architects, Amagansett, 631-725-0229; batesmasi.com