Nina Anakar and I met seven years ago! In New York when we featured her and her favorite Williamsburg spots. As one of the first employees of Sweetgreen, she asked if we’d help open up their first Brooklyn location all of those years/stores ago.
We reconnected when she moved to LA and founded her own company, Ziza. She spent a month in Morocco learning all of her grandmother's recipes and recently at our last GOOD EVENINGS dinner, we were lucky enough to taste the honor and beauty that has been passed on from her family.
Where are you from? If you’re not from LA, what brought you out here?
I was born in Texas but was raised mostly in San Diego, CA (I also lived in Argentina for a few years as a small child!). After four years in NYC, I decided I wanted more nature in my daily life and was ready to reconnect with California. I still wanted the work experience of being in a big city, and I had liked living out here when I helped launch sweetgreen on the west coast, so that brought me to LA.
What are you working on that you’re excited about?
My food business, Ziza! For a bit over a year now, I’ve been cooking for private dinners & catering larger events, and we’re starting to get busy. The thing I’m most excited about is that I’ve started to find some great people to work with. I’ve worked for several food and hospitality companies and in a lot of different cultural environments, some of which I found really rough, so it feels great to have clarity on how I want to run things my own way.
What are you currently struggling with?
Taking things one step at a time.
In this moment, what are you grateful for?
The ability to work with my hands.
Where or how do you find rest?
At home, by doing restorative yoga, taking baths, eating well, taking care of my plants & hiking with my dog.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? What’s the greatest piece of encouragement?
A woman told me not to “take on other people’s stuff.” I’m very sensitive and needed to hear that!
For me right now the greatest encouragement is watching people enjoy my food. It’s keeping me going through moments of total doubt or physical exhaustion.
When you’re a cute grandma at 85, where do you picture yourself and what are you doing?
Probably (hopefully!) on a beach somewhere or taking care of my very elaborate edible garden :)