Andrea Loeffler is a private chef with a passion for simple ingredients and local, sustainable food sources. A rural Vermont native, she is a graduate of Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts in Berkeley. Andrea is inspired by the Bay Area’s bounty and her various travels, and she attributes her love of color and texture from her background as an artist and ceramicist.
We caught up with Andrea to find out her biggest kitchen fail, the food trend she loves, and her go-to restaurant in SF. Follow Andrea on Instagram!
How I went from art to food:
I moved to San Francisco seven years ago. I was working as an installation artist for Anthropologie at the time. After a few years of volunteering for CUESA and 18 Reasons, I was craving more involvement in the food scene. So I quit my job and went to cooking school! Since receiving my Natural Chef certification from Bauman, I’ve mainly been working as a private chef for San Francisco clients as well as hosting dinners with Feastly. I’m also working on growing my business that focuses on nourishing, vibrant food for expectant mothers and new families.
My culinary style:
I love vegetables! The farmers market is like the candy store to me. I get excited about all the different colors. I focus mainly on healthy food that is approachable and satisfying, but I definitely bake a sweet treat here or there. I also like to cook with the seasons, always experimenting with different flavors and spice combinations.
A time I failed spectacularly in the kitchen:
Recently, I needed to make a pie for a large group of people. I had been seeing “slab” pies everywhere on social media and was excited to try it out. It seemed straight forward, but I received a bad bit of advice. In order to keep the crust from collapsing during pre-baking, the recipe suggested to place an empty sheet pan on top. Despite my skepticism, I went ahead with it and then watched in horror has my perfectly-braided crust slid over the pan’s edge, burned, and created a buttery smoke cloud. After a few expletives and quick trip to the freezer, I salvaged the recipe. My slab pie became pie bars. Lessons learned: if something sounds like a bad idea, it probably is. And if something doesn’t go the way you planned, turn it into something else and change the name.
The one ingredient I always have in my pantry and fridge:
I always have a few different types of rice. You can turn it into so many things — congee, fried rice, crispy rice, etc. I always have eggs, too. They’re the perfect ingredient to turn leftovers into a meal. And my two staple ingredients make a pretty great standby meal together!
Food trends I love and hate:
I love that healthy food is on-trend now. I am super on board with the wholesome, hippie food of my childhood getting a modern update. I’m not a big fan of the overflowing smoothie bowl trend, like putting so many toppings on your smoothie that it oozes over the top. It’s usually way too cold in SF for me to enjoy a smoothie anyway…but if I did, I would never let it overflow 🙂
Favorite restaurant in SF:
I love Outerlands. I don’t know if it’s the best. But the people are friendly, and the food is fresh, inventive, and delicious. The space is also welcoming and homey, and the cocktails are on point.