On Food Philosophy and Creativity in the Kitchen — Q&A with Seamus Mullen

Seamus Mullen is an award-winning chef, restaurateur and co-host of the goopfellas podcast, known for his inventive yet approachable Spanish cuisine and passionate focus on health and wellness. After being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2007, Seamus was forced to rethink his relationship with food and has since written two cookbooks, ‘Hero Food’ and ‘Real Food Heals.’

 
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Q

What are a few of your most loved kitchen essentials?

A

I can’t cook without olive oil, good quality sea salt (I’m a huge fan of Jacobsen’s Salt Co) and some good vinegar. A little splash of delicious vinegar goes a long way to make a dish sing.

Q

Was there a particular moment when you knew that you wanted to be a chef or a moment that planted the seed?

A

I fell in love with cooking at a young age, but never really considered pursuing it as a career until after I graduated from college. I studied Spanish language and literature and spent most of my college in Spain where I worked in a small tapas bar. When I finished school, I was a little aimless and not sure what to do with myself and the only real career skill I had was cooking. My grandmother took me aside and said, “you love cooking, you’re happiest when you cook, that’s what you should do!” And the rest is history!

Q

What helps you get in touch with your creative energy in the kitchen?

A

Ingredients. I’m a stickler for using the best ingredients possible and trying not to screw them up. Nothing is more inspirational to me than walking through the farmer’s market in peak season. I never go with too much of a plan, but rather I just go and let the produce speak to me. I always find new things (Spigorello, anyone?) and come up with new ideas for dishes.

Q

What’s a risk that you’ve taken and you didn’t regret?

A

Moving to Los Angeles! It’s taken me nearly 19 years to leave New York and as much as I’ve wanted to, I have resisted it, but moving here has been so good for my head, my heart, my body and my soul.

Q

We know that your health journey has hugely influenced you, both personally and as a chef. How would you sum up your food philosophy?

A

Probably best summed up in the title of my second book Real Food Heals. I truly believe that there is not a single health issue that won’t benefit from a healthy relationship with food.

Follow Seamus on Instagram and Facebook, and visit his website for recipes, articles and more.