"My parents immigrated to Berkley in 77, just before the Iranian Revolution. They are both great cooks. My mother and her mother made rice, stews, salads – the backbone of Iranian cuisine. My father's side made the jams – the cucumbers and marmalades. My first words were food-related words, and my favorite childhood toy was a Fischer Price kitchen. When I was seven, eight, nine years old, I made little experiments with eggs or ramen, stuffed tomatoes and Pico de Gallo. What drove me to switch from food to cooking was a deep curiosity that I just could not get rid of.
EDUCATION + CAREER
When I grew up, everyone talked about this restaurant in my neighborhood called Chez Panisse. I did not know the entire history of the restaurant at the time, I just knew it was a special place, and when I was 16, I decided to work there. I went to her foundation's office and – I'll never forget that – said a woman named Carina Wong, "I do not think you want to work here." My heart sank. But then she said, "I think you want to work in the kitchen." It was very magical – my first professional cooking experience. I have learned a lot about spices, when to season and when something is ripe. But the most important thing I learned was how to taste it. It's not something you do at the end of the court, but something you do when you work with the raw material, when you prepare it and when you put it to rest. It is a constant process.
I did not go to cooking school because Cal Peternell, Chez's chef, told me not to. He said, "Keep doing what you do, work in restaurants, go to college." So I took his advice. I have studied Cultural Anthropology at NYU. I have my first job in the media Saveur while I was in college. I worked there for three or four months in the test kitchen and then helped with a big story they made about Iran. They had a reporter go out there and wanted me to act as a kind of adviser as a tasting for the food. In the end, they scratched all the recipes and let me adjust some of my mother's recipes. For me as a 21-year-old, that was a big deal. When it came out it gave me some kind of attention.
I left the media to finish school. I graduated and worked in some restaurants – I was in Frej, which became Aska in Brooklyn. I was in Corton for a while and the last restaurant I stayed in was Estela. After Estela I went back to the media – I thought I had to put the work in (restaurants) before I could go back. I landed at Tasting Table as a food editor – I was brought in by my former colleague Saveur, Todd Coleman. It was a tremendous learning curve to oversee things – I was a manager at the age of 23. At some point a friend who worked at Good Appetite suggested I apply there for the Senior Food Editor. For me it was the holy grail. I did not think for a second that I would get the job. I was so nervous to write the e-mail, let alone come in and cook during my "trial day". I cooked three dishes for Carla Lalli, the editor-in-chief, the restaurant editor, and the creative director. Very intimidating. And then I had an interview with the editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport. I thought I did well and I felt he liked me, but then I did knew He liked me when the interview ended and he complimented my shirt.
Now I was at Good Appetite for four years. I'm a food editor, which means I'm developing recipes for the magazine and website. I also do a lot of video, do podcasts and am ambassador for the brand all over the country. I still love to do the original. It's amazing to be in a video that people see and love, but it feels just as good, if not better, for someone to say that he has read and loved an article by me. I'm happy about that immediately. When I started, I developed a set of recipes that were very kitchen-fishy and overly complicated – to prove my abilities. I was the baby in the test kitchen and wanted to prove myself. But then, a recipe I tried to develop just did not work for me and it killed me to the point where I wanted to stop. At that moment I decided to weaken it. If I can not cook it in my tiny studio apartment, I will not make it for the magazine.
In another life, I would have taken skin care instead of eating.
I was exposed to the beauty world early. My mother is a beautician and she was a Lancôme lady for 20 years. About 15 years ago, she opened her own business, Skin Wise. She is always learning and sharing what she has learned with me. Even at a young age, I knew that every day I had to wear sunscreen, no matter what happened. Body? Suncream. Face? Suncream. Is it raining? Suncream. As a teenager, I played around with products, but only as an adult, I wanted to deepen. Then I was obsessed. In another life, I would have taken skin care instead of eating.
I have eczema and it comes and goes. I have used prescription cortisone in the past, but in case of doubt I take Aquaphor. I also use that on my lips at night. My nightly routine starts with micellar water, and then I wash my face with either milk jelly or cetaphil. After doing my double wash, I do my retinoid. This is the only product I'll stop for – I probably do it three times a week and worked my way up to 0.05 percent. When I started I had blotchy skin and now it is so smooth. From there I use my heavy moisturizer, Embryolisse. At night, I work hard with the moisturizer because my skin then absorbs it best. Then I let it rest for a few minutes and put on two drops of Vintner's Daughter.
The only one I've never been good in is eye cream. I'm not convinced it makes a big difference. But occasionally I still use some – mainly those of Mario Badescu. But I do not know … My problem is that I am sleepless and get dark circles. Bags against which you can do something, but there is no cream that eliminates dark circles – this is a job for concealers. Although I do not wear make-up, not even in front of the camera.
I do not wash my face in the morning. Instead, I'll wipe it with micellar water and spray some water. By the way, I have the best cotton pads – they are perfectly smooth, not too fluffy and do not get caught in my beard. They are Japanese and available on Amazon. Then I do with the P50 Hardcore – my skin can stand it. I also do P50 at night if I do not do a retinol. After the P50, I rub in the Belif moisturizer. I do not need much of it and it is super light and is absorbed quickly. I'm going to put Vintner's daughter to the top – me want that wet look. Maybe the eye cream depends on my mood, maybe not. Then I use Jack's lip balm. There are a few things that I do not like to spend a lot of money on – my nightly moisturizer, jacks, and even my eye cream.
Masks, I spend money on that. I do one once a week – Masque Vivant or O2. Or I do a combination of both, with Vivant on my T-Zone and O2 under my eyes. The Vivant is the one I really need. You feel it – that's it alive, But I have to be aware of when I use it because it brings everything (pimple) to the surface. I have to do that a week or two before I do anything big – I did not make Vivant last night.
I go to Rescue Spa and Cap Beauty for facials. I also belong to the Skincare Addiction Reddit people and learned about the Biore sunscreen sold in Japan. It is the best! It's so easy and I can put everything back on without worrying about getting into my skin and my beard. I order three or four batches each time and use them all year round, no matter what the weather. I also bring my sunscreen to work and wear it all day again – I just have two sunscreens in my bag. I am convinced that my skin is even more sensitive now because I use so much sunscreen. It's probably crazy, but if I do not apply again, I almost automatically get a sunspot.
In a good week I do two push days, two pull days and two leg days.
The sunscreen for my body is Neutrogenas Helioplex. It's a little easier and I'm wearing the SPF 50. My friend founded a company called Necessaire and I really like the sandalwood lingerie. And her body lotion is really, really nice. I go back and forth between this and the first aid body lotion – these are the best body lotion I've ever used. I probably donate moisture after showering three times a week – I'm pretty good at it. And then I use Aesop deodorant. It's hard for vetiver, and if I did not use that deodorant, I'd probably only wear vetiver as a scent alone. I like that smell – it smells wild and rough around the edges.
With EVO I shampoo maybe once a week and condition two or three times a week. When I'm done, I'll rinse off three quarters of the conditioner. Then I put no product in my hair. I only brush it when it's longer, because then I get curls and have to tame them.
FOOD + FITNESS
I get a lot of DMs on my diet, but I do not eat, I just eat clean. Part of it really stops my mind and my body. What do I want? What do I need? I train five, six days a week. I'm in a transitional phase right now and it really was a fight. I used to do CrossFit – I miss it. The CrossFit box was a part of me closed. I looked at others, and they were not exactly alike. Now I work alone. In a good week I do two push days, two pull days and two leg days. I did a lot of heavy bodybuilding workouts for a moment, but now I like lighter weights and more repetitions. Unfortunately, being healthy is not easy. I hold myself responsible. "
– as ITG said
Andy Baraghani photographed on July 29, 2019 by Alexandra Genova in New York.