ZOU XOU WOMAN: SOPHIA ROE
Sophia Roe Holistic Chef
Sophia Roe is a woman of many skills and talents. As a Brooklyn-based holistic chef, she has cultivated a following because of her ability to create an open dialog about wellness that has a way of empowering others. Sophia’s philosophy of wellness is one which is rooted in good (plant-based) eating but also places emphasis other aspects of health like having good relationships, managing stress, and having plenty of sleep and good sex.
In a sphere that can often seem cultish and judgmental, Sophia’s liberal approach to self-care respects that there is not a one-size fits all way of practicing it. The fact that she draws from her personal experiences and embraces the diversity of individual needs is what makes Sophia’s voice so inclusive and relatable. When I first met Sophia over a year ago at a pop up I hosted in Brooklyn, I was immediately inspired by her effortless style and bright confidence. Since Sophia is a woman that exudes the kind of creative empowerment that ZOU XOU is all about, I wanted to learn more about her. My sister and I met up with Sophia one Sunday in July at a local greenmarket to talk about what's in season, her personal style and the many ways of being well.
describe your personal style
My personal style has seasons, just like food honestly. In the spring and summer, you'll catch me "power clashing" with prints, colors, and textures. It's upsetting that people think in order to be chic, you've got to wear only one shape, or certain trendy colors. I'm all about mixing it up, especially since 90% of my wardrobe is vintage.
I picked the Belu Pump in Azure because the color is just gorgeous and instantly adds a touch of "pizzazz" to any look, day or night. The loafer in white is just TO DIE FOR! It's my perfect summer shoe. It's such a classically cut shoe, and I think the white color really modernizes it.
Where would you wear the Belu Pump & the Loafer? Do they work both in and out of the kitchen?
I'd absolutely wear either one in the kitchen, as they're both superbly comfortable. You'd for sure catch me at a live show, out with my best friend Britney, or at an event in the Belu Pump, while the loafer is my go-to everyday summer shoe!
What do you love about cooking?
The one thing my mother use to do with me when I was little was to watch "Great Chefs of the World". We never got along, but that was our place where everything was good. She was pretty young when she had me, and to this day, I've never met my real father; so it was just her and I until my brother came years later. She would have friends over, give me headphones and a portable tape player, and let me make pasta, salads, or breakfast food for dinner.
I love the "togetherness" that food indicates. I've noticed in my years cooking that some families only really get together to eat dinner. I love what realities happen over food: children discussing what they learned at school; work trouble or triumphs; milestones, setbacks, fights, tears or sorrow or joy. I love that I get to make something that accompanies true human interactions and happenings.
What experiences in your past put you on the path of culinary arts and holistic health?
I took to the more holistic route when I got pretty sick in my early 20's, I wasn't able to eat ANYTHING without getting sick, always lethargic, had horrible skin, etc. I finally said enough is enough and learned about how I could make delicious food but without animal byproducts, gluten, soy, dairy, etc
How would you describe your approach to wellness?
Wellness to me is incredibly individual. What you eat, in my opinion is only a tiny portion of the overall concept of being “well." When people come to me with a particular ailment, and want a dietary quick fix, I immediately ask:
”How much sleep are you getting? How is work? Are you stressed about something? How is your sex life? How do you feel about yourself? Do you have any toxic relationships?"
I've said it plenty of times: Being well is about a whole life more than evening primrose oil supplements and kale salads. Wellness is smiling for no reason, embracing yourself (flaws and all), laughing at yourself, crying out your struggles in healthy ways (journaling, self memos, exercise), treating your body to healthy options because you want it to feel and run as best as possible. Those things are wellness! Not fad diets, starvation, and imbalance.
Where do you look for inspiration to create recipes?
I use my travels to inspire my food almost always. Traveling to Portugal really inspires new ways to utilize the grill, while traveling to Paris always reiterates how delicious any vegetable can be when cooked properly. South Africa highlights the true versatility of "pot" or "stew" cooking, while in Mexico I love nothing more than just a delicious "never refrigerated" tomato or chipotle pepper on everything! I try to travel as much as possible to help inspire my taste buds for when I come back to NYC.
Sophia's Peach + Mint Salad
8 ripe peaches
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp microplaned ginger
12 - 15 mint leaves finely chopped
1 tbsp lemon
zest of 2 lemons
1 tbs chia seeds
1 tbs hemp seed
Chop peaches, set aside. Mix together ginger, honey, lemon juice and zest, and mint. Taste to see if it needs more honey or more lemon, I like mine a little more on the minty side, so sometimes I'll chop more lemon. Add peaches to mixture, toss to coat. Finish off with chia and hemp seeds!! Super healthy and refreshing way to start your day off!
What are some projects that you’re currently working on that you’re excited about?
Currently, I'm actually working less hours in the physical kitchen, and spending more time writing and producing for the release of my podcast (it doesn't have a name yet, but I'm super excited for it! ) I'm also working on some soundscape/sound art, planning to do some fun private catering/education events, and always taking classes and learning. I think it's important to remember how multi-faceted humans can be. I don't believe that we all are made to do just one thing. I wake up everyday and tell myself, "Sophia, if you wanna be a glockenspiel playing, chef, broadcast journalist, piano diddling, joke telling, vintage bolo tie wearing, synthesizer collecting, grey hair rocking Sophia, then that's what the hell you'll be"