Culinary Tastemakers Spotlight: Julia Sherman


In continuation of our Culinary Tastemakers Series, we are thrilled to spotlight SIMPLi’s inaugural brand ambassador and multi-hyphenate creative Julia Sherman, artist, writer, chef, and creator of Salad for President. Julia shares our values of connecting through wholesome, delicious food and practicing conscious consumption and has personally seen SIMPLi’s work in action around the world (she traveled with us to Peru last spring to meet Yolanda, our salt producer in Maras!). Her innovative storytelling, creative spirit, and passion for the culinary arts has captivated communities both offline and online, and we are so excited to feature her work and story!

We also worked with Julia to create a delicious take on refried beans: Smoky, Silky Kidney Beans with a Spinach Swirl.

Join us as we dive into an inspiring conversation with Julia, exploring her creative process, inspirations, and relationship with the world of food!

Can you share why you chose to partner with SIMPLi and how our values align with your own?

I found SIMPLi through my interest in the regenerative organic movement—I'm a passionate gardener myself, so soil health is something I am very concerned about, along with pesticide free growing methods and labor practices. I really want to encourage people to scan their grocery shelves with the future of our planet in mind, not just what they are making for dinner. I get pretty excited when I find a brand that offers as much transparency as SIMPLi does. Plus, my family subsists on legumes, so it felt natural.

As someone with a diverse set of creative skills, how do you incorporate your other artistic passions into your approach to cooking and recipe development?

My practice is all about process. If you are only concerned with the finished product and forget to love the work itself, it’ll never pan out. I love to learn and to position myself as a perpetual amateur. I think that’s a great benefit of coming to the culinary world relatively late in life, not having the weight of a culinary school degree or the training in a restaurant kitchen.

I feel free to experiment with any and all materials and ingredients, I style and shoot all my own content and books, and I concept my own events. I can have a hand in everything because I know how to adopt new mediums to fit the project.

Can you share a bit about your artistic, creative background and how it has influenced your culinary journey? 

I spent my life until I was about 30 years old making conceptual art and working in art institutions. I never imagined I would be without a studio or do anything else with my life.

But when I started to fall out of love with the realities of that life, I took a step back and realized, I am an artist because of the way I think, irrespective of what I make. My brain only has two speeds: complete disinterest and consuming curiosity. Starting fresh in the food world, I could bring together my love of art, cooking, writing, photography and books under one moniker, all driven by an artist’s perspective.

Photo taken by @cherrybombe and @belathee

How do you find inspiration for your recipes, and what creative processes do you employ when developing new dishes?

First and foremost, travel. I have a terrible habit of stuffing my suitcase with contraband everywhere I go—bags of bottarga from Italy, dried potatoes from Peru, fried crickets from Oaxaca. My collection of dried chiles alone takes up an entire section of my pantry. I love experiencing how traditional ingredients are used abroad, and then taking them home and working them into a completely different context.

Second, the farmers market and my garden. One of the main reasons I live in Los Angeles is for the access to such an abundance of produce. I can walk down my street and pick loquats, elderberries, chickweed, kumquats, the list goes on! I am often cooking in response to a boon in seasonal produce, because I am entirely preoccupied with avoiding food waste. Right now, I am finding one million and one ways to use fava beans because I accidentally planted a legume forest. I found out you can grill the baby pods and eat them like string beans! A revelation!

What’s one piece of advice you’d like to pass on to budding creatives and chefs in today’s world?

Try to look beyond the traditional paths forward in food. There are so many ways to piece together a living in this industry, you don’t have to work in a restaurant to do that. You can have a healthy life!

Looking ahead, are there any dream projects you'd like to work on within the culinary space?

Yes! I would love to consult for a restaurant and/or hotel to create a menu for them. I have so many ideas there. And, right now, I am working on building out a line of crunchy, savory salad toppings, and packaged powdered dressing mixes under the Salad for President brand. That feels like a dream that is slowly coming true, but still needs the dream-energy to come to fruition.

Follow Julia on social @saladforpresident and learn more about her work by checking out her website:

Support Julia’s work by purchasing her cookbooks and subscribing to her substack.