‘What’s Gaby Cookin?’ Lots—Blogger Gaby Dalkin Dishes on a New Cookbook…and the Secret That Got Her Through 6 Miscarriages
A million followers say "fresh" and "bright" are just a couple ways to describe Gaby Dalkin's recipes...and her persona.
There was a point when chef and New York Times bestselling author Gaby Dalkin—the chef behind What’s Gaby Cookin’—thought she might work in medicine. That was before she wrote four cookbooks and had nearly a million followers, including Mindy Kaling, on Instagram. “California food is incredibly colorful, not overly fussy, and accessible,” says Dalkin, who is known for her delicious Cali-inspired recipes and breezy, relatable content. “Ingredients and flavors you can put together to let them all sing while keeping it all healthy-ish.”
Recently, 37-year-old Dalkin has been working on a new line of spices, writing her fifth cookbook and partnering with Tillamook, a dairy co-op she’s created new recipes for, including a Grilled Chicken Sandwich that she says might be her best ever. Dalkin recently spoke with The Healthy @Readers Digest about her journey to blogger fame and sharing her fertility journey with the hope to help others.
Gaby Dalkin on her career with food
The Healthy @Readers Digest: Tell us about your journey from culinary school to starting a blog in 2009. What did you initially think you were going to do?
Gaby Dalkin: My journey to where I am now was a wild one. I started pre-med in college and later switched to business, then eventually to culinary school. I just love feeding people. It was never because I wanted to be in the food industry, and I never thought I would be in the restaurant industry. As I made my way through culinary school and worked as a private chef, I realized how important it was to me to bring people around the table. I never looked back.
The Healthy: You recently partnered with Tillamook, a dairy co-op. We love great ingredients. What do you appreciate about using a co-op for ingredients?
Gaby Dalkin: Tillamook is a dream brand that I have always wanted to work with. I love that Tillamook is a farmer-owned co-op of people who are like-minded. I love that they believe in real food with the best quality ingredients. I think so often, in the world today, we get lost in making things complicated and I think Tillamook stays true to making things the best they can be. With a brand like this, you can really let flavor and simplicity shine.
Gaby Dalkin on creating new recipes
The Healthy: You’ve created over 1,000 recipes, which is insane, and they’re all available on your blog. How does inspiration for new dishes hit you?
Gaby Dalkin: It comes from all over the place. Pre having a two-and-a-half-year-old, a lot of my inspiration was from travel and from eating out in various locations around the world. Today I get a lot of inspo from my daughter and things she picks out at the market and wants to experiment with. I also take inspiration from my friends who are parents who are not quite as confident in the kitchen—I love being able to deliver recipes to their homes and inboxes to make their lives easier and more delicious.
The Healthy: You are currently working on your fifth cookbook, which is incredible! What will the focus of this one be?
Gaby Dalkin: This next book is all about grilling and comes out in summer 2024. I’m so excited. The process of putting a cookbook together is wild. It’s usually 18 to 24 months and involves coming up with 100+ new recipes, testing them four to five times, shooting them with my team including a food stylist and prop stylist, sending to my editor who comes back with edits, and then we bounce it back and forth for six more months before it goes to print. That doesn’t even include the marketing and the PR and book tour that comes with promoting the book, which is my favorite part!
The Healthy: You also have a new line of spices. Tell us about it! And from a health perspective, are there any spices for health benefits you love to use?
Gaby Dalkin: Yes, we are launching a new pantry line called Dalkin&Co! We are going to start with my most popular seasoning blends. Creating products that people can incorporate into food to make their recipe and cooking lives easier is a win. Having blends you can use for multi-purpose recipes in a big time-saver. As far as health benefits, I’m not really focusing on that, but from a flavor development POV for your kids or even for you, it’s important to introduce flavor often and early—you can use across the board to help expand palates.
Gaby Dalkin on maintaining her mental health
The Healthy: You are very active on social media. How do you find balance between staying present and staying online—and is there ever a mental toll when it’s your job?
Gaby Dalkin: The reason I am where I am in my life today is because I have cultivated an audience who supports me when I do fun things—like this Tillamook collaboration—or launch a cookbook. So being available to them when they are cooking is very important to me. I don’t have anyone responding on social for me, I respond myself and I often use voice notes. I am not on my phone when I’m around my family. When my daughter is home, I try to be present, but during the workday I spend a lot of my time answering questions on social, because I want people to feel empowered to cook.
The Healthy: What does your self-care routine look like? What’s one self care ritual you won’t skip?
Gaby Dalkin: Does sleep count as self care? It’s so important to me—that is self-care to me. I like to get nine hours a night. I don’t really have a skin routine, but I try to make time every day to connect with a friend, or go for a hike, or workout. Connecting with my friends and moving my body make me feel the best.
The Healthy: You were a self-proclaimed very picky eater. What advice do you have for moms of picky eaters?
Gaby Dalkin: Poppy is the opposite of me as a child, she eats everything. I think it’s because we make eating into an exciting time; we always eat as a family as much as we can. My husband and I both make a big deal about trying flavors, so she gets excited about that. She still hates kale and green things, but making it an exciting adventure is what I have found opens her up to eating more things.
Gaby Dalkin on her fertility journey
The Healthy: Outside of sharing your incredible recipes, you have also been very open with your followers about your life, including your fertility journey. I’ve also been very open about my miscarriage and journey so I appreciated it! For those who don’t know, tell us a bit about your journey.
Gaby Dalkin: I will give you the “cliff notes” version because it was years of struggle. We miscarried probably six times before Poppy. We have what is referred to as “unexplained infertility” with no rhyme or reason. I feel so fortunate for my incredible doctors who helped me. I was about to start IVF when I got pregnant with Poppy naturally.
I learned through the process that there is nothing wrong with me, it’s just science. I have more bad eggs than good eggs. To be able to share my story and help de-stigmatize for others has been a huge silver lining and spreading that word to others has helped me digest that easier.
The Healthy: When women are struggling, it’s often all they can think about. How did you get your mind off of it? Did cooking offer any escape?
Gaby Dalkin: I wouldn’t say that cooking offered an escape, but staying busy was really helpful. I made a point to be with friends, go on vacation, spend time with my partner, and it wasn’t what I dwelled on. I wanted to celebrate the rest of my life while trying to figure out this other complicated part of my life.
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