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We’ve long admired chef, writer and TV host Sophia Roe for her inspiring food activism work. The impacts of her passionate efforts have also been recognized with accolades like a James Beard Award and an Emmy nomination for her show Counter Space. Known for her honest take on topics like diversity and inclusivity, this all-around badass chatted with us about food advocacy, responsible consumerism, springtime soirees and more.

Artful Living | Chef Sophia Roe Talks Food Advocacy, Dinner Parties and More

Photography provided by Sophia Roe

What does food advocacy look like to you in 2023?

Food justice is defined as a holistic and structural view of the food system that sees healthy food as a human right and addresses structural barriers to that right. There are three main principles of food advocacy: healthy food for all, sustainable food systems and justice for food workers. The Food Justice Movement works to remedy the role of racist systematic oppression in the history of agriculture and food access. Hopefully that also means more equitable systems at large, but most notably in agriculture and distribution.

When it comes to what we eat, how can we all be more responsible consumers?

Understanding where your food comes from, what is native to your region and all the labor that goes into the food that ends up on your plate is a great start to becoming a more responsible and mindful consumer.

Why should food insecurity matter to everyone, even if it hasn’t impacted us directly?

Many people aren’t directly impacted by loads of things, but our responsibility as people of this planet is to protect our community and the earth at large. To put it bluntly, it’s not hard to make sure everyone on the planet has enough food to eat. The more people who care about it, the easier it’ll be to fix these issues. Food insecurity is linked to a whole host of systemic and systematic problems, like climate change, the wage gap, lack of education, access to housing and more. It’s important to care — because if we don’t, who will?

Artful Living | Chef Sophia Roe Talks Food Advocacy, Dinner Parties and More

Photography provided by Perrier-Jouët

What’s one of your most formative food memories?

I’ve always looked to nature for inspiration, especially when it comes to my culinary process. Whenever I’m in the kitchen or working on a new menu, I love collaborating with brands that share this commitment to nature. I recently partnered with the Champagne house Perrier-Jouët on 1 With Nature, a series of sensorial tasting dinners where I was able to take my passion for nutritious, sustainable foods to create recipes that complemented the brand’s botanical heritage and commitment to biodiversity. Through this partnership, I developed so many genuine and formative food memories, such as experimenting with ingredients in France and collaborating with cellar master Séverine Frerson to curate menus fit for different locations and seasons.

What’s your go-to meal when you’re in need of something comforting?

My go-to comfort meal is the Crispy Yuca with Peach and Cardamom that I created in partnership with Perrier-Jouët for the very first 1 With Nature tasting menu. The crispy exterior with soft, steaming hot interior drizzled with sweet notes of peach and cardamom are the perfect pick-me-up. It’s plant-based, fairly easy to prepare and delicious paired with Perrier-Jouët’s Belle Époque 2013 as it complements the cuvee’s distinctive white fruit and floral notes.

What are you most looking forward to this spring?

A spring essential for me is hosting dinner parties, and it isn’t a party without Champagne. One of my favorites is the Perrier-Jouët Belle Époque Rose 2013. It’s no surprise that the menu is a very important part of a dinner party, and I love to prepare a memorable final course so my guests leave with a lasting impression. My favorite seasonal dessert for spring is the Seasonal Berry Mint Macadamia Crisp that I created in partnership with Perrier-Jouët. Ending the night with something sweet is key, especially when it’s paired with fruit-forward bubbly.

Finally, what exciting projects are on the horizon?

I’m majorly looking forward to all that yummy spring/summer produce, a proper summer vacation (hopefully in Asia), and potentially a new TV role!

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