Chef Mystical hails from England but was raised in the Bay Area. Her culinary journey began in London and she strives to debunk the misconceptions that British food is bland and boring: “It’s full of powerful flavor, beautiful meat, and outstanding produce.” When she’s not hosting pop-ups, she’s feeding her kids elaborate meals, developing new recipes, and thinking about different ways to bring people together.
How did you find your way into the historically male-dominated culinary field?
When I had my first child, I began my journey into cooking. I watched and loved Nigella Lawson and followed many female food bloggers as I learned my craft. I spoke to mothers and grandmothers in my community while learning traditional English and North Indian dishes. I surrounded myself with many female role models in the industry and they gave me confidence to trust my palate and vision.
What has been a defining moment, either positive or negative, in your career?
When I moved from London to California, I discovered how poor the quality of food was (unless you paid higher prices) compared to the UK and Europe. I was forced to start making everything from scratch. A lot of trial and error went into my recipes as I tried to recreate dishes I missed from the UK. This naturally bloomed into me sharing them at Feastly pop-ups.
Tell us about the women who serve up culinary inspiration in your life.
Madalene Bonvivi-Hamel is my inspiration food-wise. Her pub, website, and cookbook have continued to be great resources for me throughout my career.
What advice do you have for other women trying to build culinary careers?
Be proud of who you are and what you are doing. There is space for you — take it.