SO WHAT IS BOTANICA ALL ABOUT?
We’re longtime food writers and editors who ate at/documented/talked endlessly about/thought critically about restaurants for nearly a decade each before deciding to roll up our sleeves and open our own. We’re motivated by community, sustainability, creativity, hospitality, healthfulness and happiness — and we believe all to be equally key components of a thriving business.
When we say we’re not into rules, we mean that we’re not vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or any of that (though Emily is a pescatarian…except when Heather makes her take bites of can’t-miss meaty things, like braised rabbit tacos at a farmers’ market in Mexico). But we do have a strong philosophy that governs the way we cook and stock our larders.
Here’s what you’ll find in our kitchen (and our recipes): all-local vegetables, fruits and dairy; a rainbow of grains and legumes; spices and vinegars from across the world; lots and lots of California olive oil, coconut oil, organic grapeseed oil and organic butter; wild seafood; and occasionally a bit of sustainably raised meat.
What you won’t find in our kitchen (or any of our recipes): refined sugars, processed foods, or products of industrial agriculture/aquaculture.
Our goal, on the plate, is simply this: to use beautiful local produce and the best possible products to create food that is colorful, fresh, fulfilling and healthful — food that makes you feel good.
AND WHO ARE WE, ANYWAY?
We’re friends who have spent years collaborating (in the kitchen and beyond!). We believe gathering around the table for a beautiful meal to be one of life’s great joys. We built this site with the hope that it might inspire you to don an apron and do the same — or, at the very least, that it might make your life a little more delicious!
Heather Sperling has spent 20-plus years experimenting in the kitchen, and nine years eating for a living. She served an editor for two culinary websites (TastingTable and StarChefs.com) and has written about food for a host of publications, consulted for chefs and market makers, attended culinary industry conferences in four countries, eaten her way around the globe, and thrown dozens and dozens of raucous dinner parties.
Her love for vegetable-centric cookery is lifelong, in part informed by Lebanese heritage and a stint in India as a child. It grew (and grew, and grew) during her years as a restaurant-focused writer and editor, when she became very tired of salty, fatty restaurant food and craved fresh, bright, colorful, exciting, healthyish food…food that makes you feel good!
She’s in the kitchen today because of her grandma Mary, and she wouldn’t want to live in a world without aioli, Champagne or Blis bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup.
A child of the ’90s, Emily Fiffer supplemented her mother’s healthy, home-cooked meals with fat-free cheese and Snackwell’s. After ending a tumultuous relationship with butter spray in her 20s, she knew things had to change. She became a pescatarian, took an extreme interest in making vegetables for dinner feel like enough, and avoided anything processed or refined.
In addition to writing about food and travel for various publications, and consulting on restaurant projects, she spent seven-plus years as a senior editor at DailyCandy (a lifestyle website dedicated to seeking out innovators in food, design and culture), keeping her finger on the pulse of the cultural and culinary landscape on an international scale. Soon, cooking food > writing about food, and she wormed her way into apprenticeships in London at Yotam Ottolenghi’s Nopi and Sam & Sam Clark’s Moro. From there, her love for healthful, vegetable-centric cooking got semi-out of control (in a good way).
She believes a life without tahini, honeycrisp apples and a collection of beloved cookbooks is a life unlived.
WANT TO SAY HELLO? Drop us a line at email@example.com