MICHELLE GERRARD-MARRIOTT | THE VIBRANT KITCHEN

Michelle Gerrard-Marriott of THE VIBRANT KITCHEN is one of my soul sisters.  For starters, we both believe in fairies. Yes everyone, they do exist, and they have weekend dance festivals with the hummingbirds + hawks.  I have had to ask them to keep it down multiple times.  Just so you know.  But we have also both been on pretty intensive healing journeys.  It wasn't until more recently that we connected through Instagram, for which I am eternally grateful.  Michelle is an explorer, wellness warrior, light being, philanthropist, writer, and designer + creator of beautiful + delicious food.   She inspires us with her approachable, delicious, healing recipes and stunning photos. 

Her passion project, THE VIBRANT KITCHEN COOKBOOK  is almost finished, and serves as part holistic health guide, part exploration into vegan cooking, and most definitely a FULL CELEBRATION of food and her love of writing.  Her finished book will also serve as her platform to give back to two charities that are very close to her heart.  10% of all profits will go towards two organizations she has loved and supported for years:  Maji Mazuri, and Médecins Sans Frontières also known as Doctors Without Borders. 

We both are counting the minutes until we can get into the kitchen together and collaborate, but in the meantime, I am so thrilled to introduce you to this brilliant, lovely, compassionate, creative being.  I am lucky to call her my friend.

M.PARKE STUDIO THE VIBRANT KITCHEN
M.PARKE STUDIO THE VIBRANT KITCHEN

SHARE WITH US A BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY TO THE WELLNESS WORLD.  WERE YOU INTRODUCED TO IT AT A YOUNG AGE OR COME ACROSS IT LATER IN LIFE?

I was eighteen years old when I started my path into the wellness world.  An ailment I picked up while traveling lead me to the holistic world of health, and therein followed my path to veganism and living as consciously as possible.

DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY?

Every day is such a blessing but if I had to describe my very perfect day it would involve a farm, tending the earth, loving animals and being surrounded by little giggling baby girls playing all around me. Ending the night bathing in warmth from a wood burning fire holding the hand of the person I love. Maybe some sneaky book time in a cozy nook too.

M.PARKE STUDIO | THE VIBRANT KITCHEN
M.PARKE STUDIO | THE VIBRANT KITCHEN

WHAT IS A TYPICAL BREAKFAST?  LUNCH?  DINNER?  SNACK?

BREAKFAST |  Turmeric tofu scramble with lots of seasonal veggies served on sprouted corn tortillas or a smoothie full of cranberries, raspberries, vitamineral green, cucumber and hemp seeds.

LUNCH | Salads with seasonal produce and either a balsamic dressing or a tahini dressing.

DINNER | Broccoli or cauliflower sautéed in garlic and Meyer lemon, and some form of quinoa and brown rice pasta with homemade marinara.

SNACK | I love making my own red potato wedges with tons of herbs like dill, parsley, basil and oregano.

FAVORITE BEVERAGE?

I love making iced ginger mint tea it is my absolute favorite.

- Boil water with lots of fresh organic peeled ginger.

- Let simmer for about 20 minutes.

- Let it cool and then add to a pitcher and add a whole bunch of organic mint leaves and raw organic wild caught honey!

WHAT IS YOUR ABSOLUTE FAVORITE INDULGENCE?

Vegan chilaquiles.  I could eat chilaquiles every day.  So delicious I want them right this moment just thinking about them!

WHAT WOULD YOUR LAST MEAL ON EARTH BE?

Freshly harvested organic berries. The first bite of a sweet bursting berry would take me right back to my childhood. That would be the only thing I wanted if it was my last day on earth.

M.PARKE STUDIO | THE VIBRANT KITCHEN
M.PARKE STUDIO | THE VIBRANT KITCHEN

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE SPRING MEAL OR RECIPE THAT YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH US?

Yes! My Blackberry Flower Power Salad is perfect for spring!

You can change it up as well with any berry or fruit in season near you!  I have a love affair with edible flowers.  There is something so ethereal about flowers dancing upon your plate. They add beauty and interesting and new flavors to salads especially.  I always imagine little fairies coming to reside on the large yellow bowl  I make this salad in.  You can use any organic edible flowers available. I get mine at my local farmers market, or in a pinch at Whole Foods Market.  I have sweet peas and marigolds in my garden, so I will pick those and use them when they are in bloom.  The sweet tartness of the blackberries with the deep greens and the rich reduction of balsamic makes this salad elegant and delicious. Make it for your next dinner party, or indulge yourself on a late night.

THE GOODS:

- 2 bags Mixed baby greens (kale, spinach, collards, dandelion, arugula)

- 1 pint Blackberries

- 4 chopped basil leaves

- Half a bunch of parsley, I take off the individual leaves and add them to the salad.

- A sprig of fresh dill minced

- Half of a cucumber cut in half moons

- 2 purple carrots grated or sliced with a mandolin

- 10 edible flowers, whole or you can pluck the petals off.

- 1 lemon

- 1 cup balsamic vinegar

- 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup

- Zest of one orange

GET COOKING

First begin by prepping all your greens and vegetables. Add into bowl in whichever way is visually pleasing to your eyes. I love doing a mixture of whole flowers and petals strewn throughout.  Now to make the Balsamic Reduction. Place the cup of balsamic, the maple syrup and the orange zest in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a steady simmer over medium high heat. Once simmering well for a minute, lower temperature to medium low. Simmer here for 10-15 minutes until the balsamic begins to thicken. Be very careful, it can burn easily. It can be as thick or as thin as you want. I usually reduce about 1/3 of the vinegar and I love that consistency. Once the vinegar is reduced place in a heat proof bowl and allow to cool for a couple minutes. I then squeeze half a lemon on the salad and dress it with the balsamic reduction. Feel free to add some pink Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper.

M.PARKE STUDIO | THE VIBRANT KITCHEN
M.PARKE STUDIO | THE VIBRANT KITCHEN

WHERE IS/ARE YOUR MOST FAVORITE PLACE/S TO BE ON THIS EARTH?

I like to be with the people I care about. The whole earth is my favorite place. The beautiful places, the places that you have to look deeper for beauty. All of it. As long as I have the hand of those I love, I am in my favorite place.

M.PARKE STUDIO | THE VIBRANT KITCHEN
M.PARKE STUDIO | THE VIBRANT KITCHEN

WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

This list could be so long. I am inspired by so many people every day. I am inspired by the men, women and children struggling all around the world. I am inspired by the way animals love unconditionally. I am inspired by the way nature provides so many ways to heal.  The one thing that takes my breath away is witnessing someone find their passion. Be it a child or an adult, when their eyes light up, and they just cannot stop wanting to learn and grow in doing what they love. It is truly magnificent.

M.PARKE STUDIO | THE VIBRANT KITCHEN
M.PARKE STUDIO | THE VIBRANT KITCHEN

WHAT DAILY RITUALS ARE NON-NEGOTIABLES FOR YOU TO HELP KEEP YOU BALANCED AND CENTERED?  

Walking my puppies at sunset.  And spending at least a little time creating in the kitchen each day.

WHAT PROFESSIONAL BEAUTY | FITNESS | HEALTH GURUS ARE YOU INSPIRED BY?

I would say… You sweet Melissa. I look to your site for health tips and beauty inspiration. And I am just in awe of the person you are and the enduring strength of your spirit.

PLEASE SHARE WITH US A FAVORITE BEAUTY SECRET, TIP, OR PRODUCT?

Hydration. Water, water, water. And May Lindstrom. Seriously, that woman creates products that just speak to me. My skin cannot live with The Honey Mud.  And The Good Stuff body oil, makes me feel absolutely radiant.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX?  DO YOU HAVE A DAILY PRACTICE?

Relaxing and daily practices are two things I am slowly starting to learn. Due to a health issue I have been in a constant fight or flight most of my life. I am finally getting to the bottom of why and learning how to relax my mind, and incorporate daily practices to quiet my mind and embrace the present.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MANTRA THAT YOU LIVE BY? 

Ubuntu. I am because you are. This is what I live by. I celebrate and recognize the connection between every living being. To give back, to love without judgment. Ubuntu captures this all and brings me back to our oneness.

WHAT IS THE LATEST BOOK ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND?

"Dreamers Pool" - Juliet Marillier.  I am a lover of fantasy novels and Juliet Marillier is an absolute gem. She creates the most amazing worlds, and brings you right into the world of the Fey.

SHARE WITH US 3 SONGS ON YOUR PRESENT PLAYLIST.

- Ed Sheeran- tenerife sea

- Ben Howard- Promise

- Zella Day- Compass