Her delicious feed is exactly what’s been missing from your life
by Colleen Crivello
SHARE THE LOVE (& THE STYLE)
One spin around the ValleyBrink Road instagram and you’ll be dreaming up your next meal – trust! Originally from LA, Barrett Prendergast co-founder of Valleybrink Road launched her beyond inspiring catering, gift boxes and florals company 3 years ago after 10 years in fashion. Now mom to two year old Costa with her husband Andre Vippolis – whom she met at a dinner party, where she was supposed to be set up with someone else and as she says ‘The rest is history‘. Barrett chats with us about her thriving business, her go-to to daily meals and cooking with her son. @valleybrinkroad
A typical day of eating: Every morning starts with smoothies with Costa. Followed by a small snack of an apple or gluten free muffin. Lunch is generally a healthy salad, some kind of rice bowl, sushi or half an avocado. Dinner is always changing… sometimes pasta or a roast chicken, or maybe some grilled halibut with veggies.
Do you believe you can change people’s mood through food? 100%. A good meal has the power to turn your entire day around. Or just make you happier than you already were!
Top 3 healthy places to eat LA:Moon Juice, Erewhon Grocery, Baroo
What’s the one recipe that you make most often: Marcella Hazan’s Tomato and Butter Sauce with Penne, from her Essentials of Italian Cooking cookbook. It’s literally tomatoes, onion, and butter in a pan. It becomes a delicious, silky sauce. So simple and so delicious.
Your inspiration and process for developing new recipes: The Farmers Market and cookbooks. I get inspired each week at the Hollywood Farmers Market. The produce in California is so incredible (we really are very spoiled), it always keeps me inspired to create a new dish or try a new ingredient. I also love flipping through cookbooks and getting inspired by the images and recipes. I usually just do a quick glance of what is in it and then improvise, making it my own.
We love that you involve your son in cooking – do you believe this will effect his interest in food and expand his palette? I already see that it is and he just turned 2. Today, I was making almond milk and Costa said, “Mama, using the strainer?” I was like, “Ummmm, you know what a strainer is?!” He always asks to help me cook and is definitely more inclined to at least try something if he has helped make it. In general, I just think it’s an amazing thing to be in the kitchen with your kids making delicious food that you all share.
Easy family dinner options, when you’re low on time: Cacio e Pepe, Leftover Rice with Veggies and Tofu, Roast Chicken with Roasted Vegetables
Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest? Mario Batali… is it rude to ask a guest to cook?
We’re obsessed with Matcha here at MM – what’s your recipe for making the perfect Matcha latte?
4 oz homemade almond milk
1.5 teaspoons matcha powder
Heat water and almond milk over low heat until hot but not bubbling. Whisk in the matcha powder. With an immersion blender, blend the matcha to get a little foam going. Enjoy!
On practicing wellness and self-care: Mani/Pedis at Olive & June, Blow drys at Dry Bar, Thai massages at Raven Spa and a walk around the Silverlake Reservoir.
On the start and end to your day – daily rituals do you have for yourself, family and son: Our days start with ‘Smoothie Time’ most mornings – my smoothie making ritual with Costa while Dada gets to sleep. Then, Costa lets his dad know when it’s ‘MOOOTHIE TIMMMMEEEEE, DADA!!!!’ Andre and I try to both be home each day for Costa’s nighttime routine. We make dinner and sit together while Costa eats. Then it’s bath time, a little play time, and reading time. We let Costa pick out 3 books each night to read. It’s a great way for all of us to unwind together as a family.
Makes you feel energized:Work! I love my job and feel really excited and invigorated most days trying to make it all happen.
What inspired you to start Valleybrink Road? I needed a job! I had just closed my handbag company and was trying to figure out what I was going to do. I loved food but had never worked in a restaurant or done anything professionally with food. It was just my hobby. So, I went to work in a restaurant and for some catering companies, and then started a blog. Once the blog was up, my friends started reaching out and asking if I would come and cook for them. I said Yes! And a business was born.
On sourcing practices for farmers and vendors: I look for beautiful packaging and great products. They have to go hand in hand. I am constantly on the hunt for something new that our customers will love.
Has motherhood changed your perspective on your business?Yes. I now know that I need a team and I need to delegate responsibility. I can’t do it all on my own. That just isn’t sustainable and it’s not the way to actually grow a business.
Most challenging part about running your business:The early morning hours and how time sensitive the gift boxes and flowers are. So much of it’s last minute… like, “I need a flower arrangement in an hour!”
Most rewarding part about running your business:Hearing how happy someone was to receive one of our gifts or flower arrangements. It makes us feel good, our clients feel good, and the recipients feel good. Everyone wins!
On developing the menus and table deco for your dinners:It really is on a case by case basis. I listen to what the client is thinking and then try to create something for them that’s in line with what they’re envisioning. From the flowers to the food, we try to make something that’s cohesive, beautiful, and seasonal.
5 tips for taking good food photos on your phone: Always shoot in natural light. Take a moment to style and frame your image. Make sure the image is bright. Use VSCO for great subtle filters. Incorporate colors that pop into the food.