Lani Sopman is one of those women who has a wonderful talent but is oh-so-humble about it. She is a chef, a very gifted chef. She is also incredibly kind. Lani is strong willed and knows her way around any kitchen, which is important to the work she does as an in-home chef. She comes to her client’s homes and cooks for them. Only a certain type of person can do this task well as not only do you have to be a talented chef, you have to be able to slide gracefully into your client’s lives. Lani is often present during key family time, when everyone is buzzing around, and she fits in with ease. We recently had the pleasure of catching up with her and her gorgeous daughter Riley.
Where did you train to become a chef?
My training started at Humber College, which now feels like a million years ago. That said, most of my learning was hands on and happened in some of the top restaurants throughout the city like North 44 and Susur.
What is one of the highlights of your career?
There isn’t really one highlight that I can think of. You would think it was the fast pace and rush of the restaurant scene, but actually it couldn’t be farther from it. Seeing something beautiful come to life from the simplest of ingredients always makes me smile. I love the personal nature and small pleasures when creating in the kitchen.
What are the services that you offer your clients?
As a culinary nutritionist I provide customized menus to clients based on their unique needs and diet. I generally prepare an entire week’s worth of food (from breakfast to dinner if required) for the entire family and do everything from the shopping to a spotless cleanup. Anything from baby and toddler food to grown up dinner parties is under my umbrella. I can provide suggestions for improving dietary habits and teach clients how to incorporate those foods with in home cooking lessons as well. Healthy celebration cakes for children’s birthdays are also something I have a real passion for. Naturally sweetened treats kids can devour without any of the sugar highs.
Do you have a philosophy behind balanced nutrition?
I do. 80/20 is my rule. Unless you have a health condition that requires a very strict diet I believe moderation is key. If you are dying for a slice of chocolate cake, then go ahead…once in a while. Just don’t indulge every day. Food nourishes the soul as well as the body and sometimes a slice of pie makes a bad day better.
How do you keep your family eating balanced when you spend your days cooking for others?
I wish I did a better job (she laughs). Planning ahead and a well-stocked pantry are the secrets. I make large batches of food and store portions in my chest freezer. It makes mealtime easy when you just need to heat the main dish and whip together a salad or a side of seasonal vegetables. I always have salad dressings in a mason jar in the fridge and cans of beans handy to whip up a quick delicious meal when we feel like something fresh and light. Soups are always a big hit too. Frozen veggies have a bad rap but they’re really handy when chopping veggies is just out of the question.
What’s your favourite spot to hangout in Toronto with your husband and daughter?
Sadly, we aren’t getting out often, as she is still so young. However, Sunnybrook Park kept us happily picnicking all summer long. It’s a great spot to relax and unwind and our little one can toddle around to her hearts content.
If you would like to get in touch with Lani please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Monarch Sisters xo