This month, we speak with JoyFoodly’s founder and Chief Joy Maker, Chef Hollie Greene, whose deep Southern roots and love for food was ignited by a cast iron skillet and a nightly family ritual centered around an old cherry table whose lazy Susan gently spun the most lovingly delicious dishes a girl could imagine.
JoyFoodly: Tell us about your first food memory. What do you remember about it?
Chef Hollie: I can still smell the savory aroma of my mom’s olive oil fried chicken sizzling in that old cast iron skillet. I would dive into a big fluffy heap of the most dreamy and light mashed potatoes that always accompanied the chicken on our plates—and the next night, if there were any leftover potatoes, they were transformed into the most heavenly pan-seared cakes. The vegetable I first came to love was the sweet n sour French green beans my mom made to balance all that richness on the plate.
JoyFoodly: What about food inspired you to make it your career?
Chef Hollie: I was on the most amazing cooking vacation in Tuscany at Toscana Saporita, just outside of Luca on a 15th century estate. I had just gone through a difficult time in my life. I needed a creative break. We cooked the best fall had to offer that week and enjoyed a sense of community around good food that made you feel great. Many of the participants were older than me, discovering this clean and healthy but delicious way of preparing food for the first time. A thunderbolt hit me in my heart (not my head) and I decided when I got home I’d ditch my corporate career and go to culinary school. I wanted to inspire children to cook and eat well to live a full and joyful life with great food memories. I’ve never looked back.
JoyFoodly: Imagine your best friend is coming to dinner tomorrow night. They are bringing their 9-year-old child with them. What would you want to cook with them?
Chef Hollie: I’d pull out my pasta machine and we’d make a simple and fun pasta from scratch with a sauce fitting to that season (mostly veggie), a big yummy salad with a simple homemade vinaigrette, and in honor of my adorable niece and nephew Margaret and Thomas, who always request this dish, chocolate mousse for dessert.
More about Chef Hollie Greene
Hollie Greene is an Author, Chef, and Food Education Entrepreneur with expertise in transforming kids’ relationship with food as a means for a joyful life. Hollie taught over 1,000 at risk children through her previous roles with non-profit programs partnering with Rachael Ray’s Yum-O!, Mayor Bloomberg, and Mary J. Blige. She has worked as an education director for The Sylvia Center and Chef in Residence in NYC Schools through Wellness in the Schools to improve School Food and is a Chef Partner to the Novato, California, Unified School District. Her book series, Trudy, The Vegetable Detective, invites children into the magical world of eating seasonal, organic veggies.
Before attending the French Culinary Institute in NYC, Hollie gained ten years of corporate executive experience with organizations such as Citigroup and American Express, where she put her Masters of Human Resources degree and knowledge of Instructional Design to work helping create Global Leadership Programs.
When not managing JoyFoodly, Hollie contributes her time and curriculum development knowledge with Bay Area organizations including CUESA (Center for Urban Education About Sustainable Agriculture), Marin Organic, and Hidden Villa Farm.
Read more about Hollie