LAUREN GERRIE / Chef & Co-Owner bigLITTLE Get Together / Private Chef to MARC JACOBS / @laurengerrie @biglittlenyc
Lady!!! I so appreciate you. One, for allowing me to share what I love doing with you. Two, for you giving me a lil time out of your hectic schedule and lastly just for you being you. After our session I’m telling you I was in the best mood for hours. Your energy is just so amazing and infectious so...thank you! thank you! thank you! Ok here goes...question time!
So professional dancer first and then...chef? Or would you say you are a Chef who dances? How did both come about and was transitioning from a professional dancer to a chef an easy thing?
Dancer for LIFE!!! I am never not moving or grooving whether I am in a dance studio or in the kitchen. To me, movement is key. That being said, food, service, and hospitality have always been integrated into my journey. I am fortunate to have parents who enriched me with the understanding and appreciation for making and sharing meals. My path has been very organic, it is difficult to see where the transition occurred because I think dance and food have always been apart of who I am.
When I take a good dance class one of the things I feel the most is pure joy. Do you get a sense of joy when you are cooking? How does it differ from when you dance?
Dance, like food, can transport you to a higher place. A feeling of euphoria comes over you when your body and soul move as one, I think the same can be said when consuming food that is explosive, nostalgic, and surprising. The behind the scenes of dance and food is the technique and drive that is put forth over hours of practice and preparation that all leads to the final performance. There is a thought that “you are only as good as your last dish.” A true sense of fragility exists in food and dance, they are forever unique and oh so very brief. I love the idea that they are moments in time, captured only by the individual memory.
You aren’t dancing professionally any more but how important is it to you now? How often do you get to fit dancing into your life?
I’m pretty much always dancing in one way or another. I desperately miss the days that were filled with hours of rehearsal and technique classes, but I am disciplined within the culinary world in that way now. I still take dance classes at Steps and Peri Dance when I can fit them into my schedule. Also, teaching MOVES has given me the opportunity to dance at least once a week. The joy of teaching and sharing in dance with others is one of the greatest feelings and gifts I have ever experienced.
I have yet to make it to your MOVES dance class but I AM coming soon! What was you guys idea behind creating MOVES? Can you give us a break down of the class and let us know what you are hoping people will leave feeling?
We were inspired by our friend and fellow dancer/choreographer Ryan Heffington. He hosts an all levels dance class at his studio in LA called “Sweaty Sundays.” Whenever Marisa or I travel to the West Coast we build our time there around his classes. There was nothing like it in NYC so we created it ourselves. See the gap and fill the void!!!
Marisa does two songs of stretching and warming up. Then I do two songs of more cardio aerobic based movement, often integrating certain moves that will be in the choreography. Then we do “across the floor” which is a lot of sexy walking and jumping around to get everybody comfortable and excited. We teach a dance segment that is usually about 1 minute long to an energetic song. Everyone dances together in larger groups, then we break down into smaller groups to allow more free movement. Lastly, I lead the class in a “cool down” to relax the major muscle groups we worked and to bring the community together as one.
5. Back to food, I love eating - a lot. I want to cook more but I have no confidence in the kitchen what-so-ever. What is your secret (or one of them) to being more confident in the kitchen?
Get excited about food and flavors. It is less about the actual cooking and more about the process of making delicious food. I always encourage friends and clients to make grocery shopping and prepping a fun experience. Picking out ingredients that you are naturally drawn to and enticed by and then decide what you want to make with them. Experimentation is a huge part of cooking, it’s scary sometimes, but always rewarding!
6. This question is totally for me. There have been times I have gone out to eat and its so damn good that I literally feel like love and care has been put into what I am eating - is that ridiculous?
ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!! love is the best ingredient any chef can incorporate. I would say, next time you feel that way definitely tell the serve to relay that to the chef. We work our asses off and it is always really nice to hear that we affected someone and moved them!
7. Ok almost done lady but first its rapid fire question time.
When do you feel your best?
When I am laying naked on a beautiful beach with the sun on my skin and warmth in my heart.
What is your go to healthy meal?
SUSHI AND SASHIMI
What is your guilty pleasure food wise?
Pastries and ice cream
Whats a meal/dish that you make that makes other peoples eyes roll back in their head because its so damn good?
I really do have a touch when it comes to desserts. I try to balance salty and sweet, in fact I have desserts that just taste like sugar! It’s hard to pinpoint just one thing, but i’d say most of my friends and clients love the cookies and tarts I make.
When do you feel most beautiful?
When someone I love tells me I look beautiful… or right after a dance class when I am hot and sweaty and full of joy!!!
What song will get you up out of your seat and on the dance floor in a hot second?
Girl, I can’t just pick one. Like I said, I am always dancing so as long as there is a beat my ass is up and groove’n
What was a dance performance that made you feel proud?
I was apart of an incredible piece choreographed by Ryan Heffington for TARGET during fashion week. The dance took place in all of the South facing rooms of the Standard Hotel in the West Village. We rehearsed for a month and the large group of very talented dancers, musicians, light technicians, producers, etc. was out of this world!!! I made friends for life on that job and I hope to never forget the gratitude of a dance performance of such magnitude.
What was a dance performance that you wish you could do over? and how would you do it over?
I try not to think about reliving the past too much. There are so many dances that I love for different reasons. I think mostly I just miss being apart of a dance company. Training with a group of individuals and learning to move together is something so specific and so very special.
When do you feel most balanced?
Summertime!!! When I am able to really enjoy life, work, friends, family and beautiful weather.
and lastly...What moves you?
Kindness and creativity