Wild Coyotea

Herbal Alchemy Inspired by California

interview

Eyes on the Prize with Ria Dolly Barbosa Wilson

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I met Ria Dolly Barbosa Wilson in the Summer of 2013 when we both worked at SQIRL in Virgil Village, Los Angeles.  This was pre-remodel, when the place was truly a hole-in-the-wall.  I was immediately impressed with Ria and her husband Matt, as they were leading the tiny kitchen with big flavors.  Ria's dedication to creating - dare I say *perfect* dishes - was obvious, as the line around the block of anxious diners waited to try her fresh, unique yet timeless fare.  Now, Ria and Matt have their own project: WILD at Canele, where they create the lunch menu at the Atwater Village restaurant.  I feel honored to feature this exceptional chef!  

What inspires you?

It began when I came across the television show Great Chef's of The World when I was in the third grade.  I'd never seen food like that before!  It was new and intriguing and so delicious looking.  The only thing I knew how to cook fairly well at the time was rice (via rice cooker) and scrambled eggs, and I would prepare myself a bowl of rice and eggs before the show would air.  Every time each Chef would finish their dish, I would take a bite of my rice bowl and pretend I was tasting their dish.  Thinking about it now still gets me excited.  That was the spark, my first inspiration.  From then on, my parents continued to inspire me with all the delicious dishes they would prepare be it a quiet dinner at home or large family party.  I'll never forget the first time my dad prepared hummus.  He worked in Saudi Arabia for years before I was born and fell in love with the richly spiced food.  That hummus and pita introduction became another branch of food to explore.  I guess when it comes down to it, the resonating inspirations are my parents and exciting/foreign ingredients.  If it hadn't been for them and our bootleg cable, I would not have been exposed to the start of all the delicious things to come.

Hot Stone Rice Bowl at WILD at Canele

Hot Stone Rice Bowl at WILD at Canele

What are you passionate about?

FOOD!  Not only is it my passion, it is my life.  I love to recreate comfort and share it with loved ones and strangers alike.  Working in an open kitchen is great because you get to see your food go out and then instantly see your diner's reactions.  Every smile, nodding head, brief closing of the eyes, and this always gets to me - when children are so into it, it is such a reward.  

What project are you working on right now?

Right now the focus is all on WILD at Canele.  It is yet another step towards our goal of having our own restaurant.  We are lucky to have a great Chef and mentor, Corina Weibel, have so much faith and trust in us that she allowed us to create our own menu to begin her lunch program.

 

What keeps you going when you're "stuck"?

I think this is a very important question -- often times in this industry you are expected to put up a wall and just keep pushing through.  And for the most part that is all that outsiders see.  When I think of stuck, the culinary version of writer's block, doubting one's self, not finding inspiration in anything and the ebbs and flows of how busy you are or aren't (and how scary continuous slow days are) first come to mind, and are things that I've gone through personally over the years.  My end goal is usually enough to keep my "eyes on the prize" so to speak.  But when I'm really stuck, my husband and partner, Matt Wilson is the Goo Be Gone to my price sticker remnants.  He is my voice of strength and support when the going gets tough.  I think maybe it's a little easier when you have someone with you who has the same goal to keep you focused and can relate to whatever is troubling you.

Uni fettucine with Santa Barbara stone crab and furikake

Uni fettucine with Santa Barbara stone crab and furikake

 

How do you take care of yourself?

With the stresses the industry comes with, it's easy to forget to take care of yourself.  With that in mind, I tend to try to eat better when making meals at home, walking to and from work and the occasional massage never hurts!  It helps me clear my mind and relaxes my muscles.

What is your favorite place on earth?

As much as I love the beach and water elements, I've always been drawn to the dessert.  I can sometimes feel the electricity in the air all the way to my bones.  It's a very energizing feeling.

What is your favorite food or recipe?

This is a funny question to me especially since it's the root of who I am and in a way it's like asking a parent who their favorite child is.  And it's also similar to when people ask me what my "specialty" is.  We are in a day and age where one can be influenced by the cuisines of their childhood, a recent trip to somewhere exotic, a vivid dream they've had, or their neighborhood hole in the wall all at the same time.  I don't think you should limit yourself, to any single genre.  Follow your heart and your tastebuds!

What is your astrological sign?

I am a Virgo through and through!

Ria's LA Sunset

Ria's LA Sunset



P A S S I O N with the Coffeetographer

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Chermelle Edwards is probably the most inspired and passionate human I have ever met.  She has an electric vibe, always sparking with ideas, smiles, photographs and words. Chermelle is an artist of many mediums - she documents coffee culture on her website, The Coffeetographer, she has written for The Guardian, been featured on Design Good, prolifically creates blind contour drawings... She is the kind of friend who, when we have our extra long coffee-catchups in LA or NY, we hold hands half the time, laugh really loud, and both leave feeling refreshed and enthusiastic.  I'm so thankful she decided to lend herself to this blog, reading about her life and practices (self love, wow!) majorly encourages my life.  I hope you will enjoy :-) 

What inspires you?

Everything. And, I mean it. Of course I’m inspired by specifics like oceans, paper, libraries, artists like Picasso and Gustav Klimt, writers like Faulkner and Morrison and intangible things with physical properties like conversations.

What are you passionate about?

Everything. And, I mean it again. However, if I had to have a short list, I’m passionate about my God, my family, the energy within me, my life as a creative artist and I’m passionate about expression, for myself and others.

What project/s are you working on right now?

The biggest project I’m working on is me. Ever and always. Becoming, being and knowing all that I am supposed to be in this era of my life. I’m constantly working on thecoffeetographer.com, it’s one of my creative children, it takes a lot of time every day and it’s more than a full-time job, and it’s my lifestyle. Thecoffeetographer.com is an online webzine that documents coffee as a culture and leads a cultural revolution about how coffee is more than a beverage but a lifestyle intersecting all parts of humanity, yes that’s a big mission of mine. Somewhere in the last couple of years I lost my way in art. While I’m a big appreciator of it, I wasn’t making any myself, I wasn’t painting or drawing or sketching. A friend introduced me to blind contour drawings over a year ago and I began them as just a release, an outlet for creating something without the worry of right or wrong. Now, it’s become a huge part of my artistic expression, I’m loving the journey of growing with it and inside of it, so much say I started a year project, one contour a day for 364 days. I’ve just hit Day 83 and I’ve learned so much, so much, and most importantly, that art can’t be dispensable in my life. I also have another project that’s been a bit of a hobby of mine it’s called Socks of The People, looking at people and style through socks, I’m having a lot of fun with it. It’s on Instagram right now only, but it’s about to take a leap. There’s a couple other things I’m working on but because I’m working on them, I’ve assigned myself the task to not talk about them, but, I am working on them. Ha!

What keeps you going when you’re “stuck”?

I don’t believe in ‘stuck’. I believe there are obstacles. And, an obstacle just gives you a pointed decision to make about which way you now need to go. Now, sometimes I’m in situations and I truly don’t know what to do. Erykah Badu says, “pivot.” So, I move, I just keep moving even if it’s just a small step, it’s a step further than where I was before I didn’t pivot.

What do you believe in?

I believe in God. I believe in my family. I believe in the power of the human spirit. I believe in energy. I believe in synchronicity. I believe in love. I believe in myself.

Photo by Chermelle Edwards AKA The Coffeetographer, @ Art Basel Miami

Photo by Chermelle Edwards AKA The Coffeetographer, @ Art Basel Miami

 

How do you take care of yourself?

I have a serious mental and spiritual regimen. When I wake up it begins there. I give myself ten minutes to pray and talk to my Creator; it’s because of his force that I breathe. I give myself ten minutes to daydream – and it’s the best thing ever because I’m consciously allowing my mind to go wherever it wants to go. Then I give myself ten minutes to meditate.  After that, I do another hour of work, 20 minutes on morning pages – as named by the great Julia Cameron often to Thomas Newman or Bach – I spend 20 minutes reading Julia Cameron often to Volcano Choir, Bon Iver or James Vincent McMorrow and then I spend 20 minutes with Seth Godin in silence. During those times I’m jotting down free notes and associations and idea hunches that come to me while I’m doing this work. After this I find time to dance to a couple songs, it gets my body moving and the endorphins going especially if it’s a non-run morning. After this during the day I’ll take in a talk Abraham Hicks, read Seth’s podcast, listen to a video of an inspiring artist living or non-living and usually it’ll deal with their creative process or the like.  During the day I find time for at least a 20 minute nap, a walk and a few days during the week I exercise.

What qualities about yourself work to your advantage? (What do you like about yourself?)

My energy; I have great energy and I’m not bashful about knowing that now. I’m a lover of humans and so I can go anywhere and be anywhere and be right with the world. I’m a documentarian of life and that makes me hypersensitive to everything around with me and I believe it keeps me in tune with my God and I know that I don’t have to worry about missing things, or competing with people or the like. All that is for me will appear; it always does.

 

What is your favorite place on earth?

In my skin, in my head, in my thoughts, in my energy. And with that, wherever I am, I am. So, the physical destination is just amplified by me being there.

What is your next travel destination?

I’m returning to Europe. It’s calling and it’s been too long since I’ve been there.

What is your favorite beverage?

Seltzer water. Root beer plays second, coffee third. I’m sure no one knows that; they probably think its coffee first aha hahah

What is your favorite food or recipe?

My favorite food is Mexican; I’m unequivocally in love with authentic Mexican food.

What are your Utopian ideals?

I will be without default and I will live forever and this world be a beauty that I could never imagine but will entirely welcome and I’ll live as an unending multi-hyphenate.

What is your astrological sign?

I don’t know. I don’t subscribe to astrology. Ha!

Anything else you’d like to share?

You’re such a magical being. I love you, entirely. Thank you for allowing me to express myself, it’s the greatest freedom. 

Cosmic Drama with Prince Puja

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Prince Puja is one of my dear friends and inspirational muses. He not only motivates me with meaningful, loving + mind-expanding conversation, he also makes beautiful jewelry that I never want to take off, shoots gorgeous photos and makes music. We met a few years ago in LA and had an instant soul connection. We've cried and laughed together, I've contributed to his zine "worship [journal]", been featured in his lookbook, and most importantly we've been cheerleaders in each others' work and life.  Here is an interview with my soul brother, Prince Puja. 

 

What inspires you?

I am inspired by countless things. Life being lived to the fullest. People creating from their hearts and souls. Nature in all it's beauty and perfection. Morning light (or any light for that matter - natural or artificial). Art in all it's many forms. People caring for and loving each other. Music and scents both for their ability to capture a moment or transport you to another time/place. My friends and all the brilliant people that I have met in my life that are doing something that they love and believe in. Love of any kind.

 What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about living my life to the fullest. Going on adventures. Creating art that makes me feel something and that gives me a voice to express myself. Jewelry. Photography. Music. Traveling. Yoga. LIFE.

What project/s are you working on right now?

Currently working on a new jewelry collection inspired by lotus plants and living in the present moment. A series of photographs of homeless nomads living on Skid Row in Downtown LA (right outside my front door). Starting to play around with some music again. Myself.

What keeps you going when you’re “stuck”?

Knowing that being stuck will never last. Looking outwards at other people doing inspiring things/creating work that they are passionate about. Looking inwards at the vast universe within myself that is where anything and everything that I will ever know/create. Going outside and spending time with Mother Nature for she has all the answers.

What do you believe in?

I believe that we all come from the consciousness of the Universe and choose to manifest in these human bodies (which are really just vehicles for this lifetime) in order to experience ourselves (aka the rest of the Universe). I believe this is a cosmic drama where we are each the director, the actor and the audience of our own lives. I believe in the power of our minds to create anything we can possibly imagine (and things we can't even imagine YET with our little human minds). I believe in taking care of each other and loving and supporting each other because we are all really one energy split into a zillion+ little entities that are each on our own personal journeys that make up the one big journey of All That Is.
 

How do you take care of yourself?

I take care of myself by following my heart. Spending time in nature whenever possible. Eating the most natural foods I can. Not being too hard on myself. Meditating. Doing yoga. Reading lots of books on philosophy, self love, self help, etc. Exploring the inner depths of my Self. Surrounding myself with positive energy (people, places + things). Drinking lots of Wild Coyotea! And serving/taking care of others.
 

What qualities about yourself work to your advantage? 

"I am an empowered being and I am utterly free to create."
 

What is your favorite place on earth?

INDIA.

What is your next travel destination?

I am currently in Victoria, BC (Canada) so my next destination will be Vancouver and then back home to LA. After that, who knows!? 

What is your favorite beverage?

Chai. (Specifically street chai in India.)

What is your favorite food or recipe?

It's pretty general but Indian food!

What are your Utopian ideals?

I don't think I have any Utopian ideals because I believe that our biggest quest as humans is to accept everything as it comes and to live in the present moment. Utopia is a vision of the future which will always be that, a vision of the future aka not now aka never going to happen. The only moment that ever existed is HERE + NOW.

What is your astrological sign?

Sun - Virgo. Ascendant - Leo. Moon - Cancer.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Califa Coyote of Wild Coyotea is one of the most inspiring people I have ever met in this lifetime (although I'm sure we've known each other for many many lifetimes) and I am so beyond grateful for all of her love, support and wisdom. Sending out love and light to everyone in the Universe. I believe in all of you and hope that if you don't already know exactly what you're doing here on this Earth at the moment that you are easy on yourself and you just enjoy the journey while you're figuring it out. You are perfect just as you are!

 NAMASTE.