Model Elettra Wiedemann Rethinks the Word “Foodie”-------
The fashion set hasn’t always made room on its plate for food. (Champagne, cigarettes, and a little caviar are all an exception to the rule, if they can be counted as that.) But the tides have changed and food and fashion have never been more entwined. Credit people like Bon Appétit editor in chief Adam Rapoport (formerly of GQ) or models like Karlie Kloss and her cookie collaboration with Momofuku Milk Bar for blending the two worlds together. But the focus isn’t just eating and cooking great dishes, it’s about being conscious of where and how the food was produced.
Cue model Elettra Wiedemann, who just added her own contribution to the culinary scene with her newly launched site, Impatient Foodie. The site is targeted toward people who “want to make responsible food choices but feel overwhelmed sometimes,” Wiedemann, who studied the connection between public health and sustainability at the London School of Economics, tells Style.com. That doesn’t mean she’s created a site loaded with juice recipes—every Thursday, for example, she posts cocktail recipes in the Thirsty Thursday section. We caught up with Wiedemann to hear more about being both a model and a foodie, fashion’s relationship with food, and her new site. Here’s what she had to say.
What is the new definition of a “foodie,” in your opinion?
For me, a foodie is someone who loves to eat food but also wants to be thoughtful about where their food comes from.
In the past, being a foodie and a model hasn’t been a very common pairing. How has your career as a model impacted your relationship with food?
As far as modeling and food, when I was a kid I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it, and didn’t think about health, nutrition, or size at all. Then I started modeling and I had to teach myself how to eat in a new way—namely, lighter and healthier. But I also loved experimenting in the kitchen and re-creating my favorite childhood meals with healthier ingredients. I can credit modeling with refining my palate in a lot of ways.
Fashion has always had a fickle relationship with food. How do you think that is changing right now?
In my experience, fashion is not just about clothes and accessories, but also about artisanship and stories. That is also true of food and where I see American food culture moving today. I think now there is a turn toward connecting to our food and where it comes from for the sake of our own health and the health of our families and communities. For me, excellent, fresh food that can be traced to its producer is the most luxurious and special thing. Also, food magazines have clearly been influenced by fashion magazines in their aesthetic and lifestyle angle.
Yes, food culture has definitely become more ingrained in fashion culture in recent years. Do you think food and fashion is a trend, or is it just a way of life at this point?
I think there are some food trends, but like I said before, once you try excellent food it’s very hard to turn back. I really want to make responsible food choices, but I also have a hectic professional life. We are all hooked on convenience, and in my opinion, that is what seasonal food purveyors need to start addressing. This is incredibly difficult because so much about local, seasonal, responsibly sourced food is totally incongruous with the industrial scale food model that dominates today.
What has been your greatest cooking catastrophe?
There are so many, it’s hard to know where to begin. Unlike other food sites, I share my fails on Impatient Foodie. For example, if you look on the site right now, I talk about how making homemade mozzarella totally sucks and is not “so easy,” like other food sites brag. It’s so not easy. It’s complicated and requires a lot of time and you need to buy things like a nonreactive pan. Forget it—just go buy some at the store or the farmers’ market.
What can we expect from your site in the near future?
We have a Friends section on the site where I share recipes and dishes from my fashion and film friends. My question for them is always, “What are you cooking after a long day at the office or on set?” I’ve gotten back some fantastic dishes so far. My IMO pieces will be my take on various food issues of the day, and I try to connect it to recipes. For example, I’m researching tuna right now and, because it’s so endangered, trying to create dishes that would substitute tuna for another fish. I know we all love tuna, but we have almost completely decimated the population. I think to say to “never eat tuna again” will not work, but how about just eating it once a month and figuring out other alternatives?