This week I have a bonus episode with Andris Lagsdin of Baking Steel. During our full conversation, we talked primarily about pizza making, and how he created the Baking Steel. While recording the episode, we discussed health and wellness, abstaining from alcohol, and why he no longer follows a vegan diet. I also asked him about vegan cheeses. I thought that part of our conversation was great, but it didn’t make sense to leave it in as part of the whole show. However, I had always intended it to be a standalone bonus episode, so here it is.
Sponsor- The United States Personal Chef Association
The Covid pandemic has clearly redefined the world of dining. Despite over 110,000 restaurants closing around the country, people still want the ambiance and social connectivity that is so critical to the dining experience. Over the past 27 years, the world of the personal chef has grown in importance to fulfill those dining needs. While the pandemic certainly upended the restaurant experience, it provided an Avenue for personal chefs to close that dining gap.
Central to all of that is the United States Personal Chef Association. Representing nearly 1,000 chefs around the US and Canada (and even Italy), USPCA provides a strategic backbone for those chefs that includes liability insurance, training, communications, certification, and more.
One of the big upcoming events for USPCA is their annual conference scheduled July 7-10 at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota, FL. Featuring a host of speakers and classes, the conference is a way for chefs to hone their skills and network with like-minded businesspeople. For those who supply the industry, it’s a chance to reach not just decision-makers but the actual buyers of products.
Andris Lagsdin and Baking Steel
CHEFS WITHOUT RESTAURANTS
Founder Chris Spear’s personal chef business Perfect Little Bites
Welcome to the Chefs Without Restaurants podcast. I'm your host Chris spear. On the show. I have conversations with culinary entrepreneurs and people in the food and beverage industry who took a different route. There caterers research chefs, personal chefs, cookbook authors, food truckers, farmers, cottage bakers and all sorts of culinary renegades. I myself fall into the personal chef category as I started my own personal chef business perfect little bites 11 years ago. And while I started working in kitchens in the early 90s, I've literally never worked in a restaurant. This week. I have a mini episode with Andris Lagsdin. You might have heard my episode that I released a couple weeks ago with him. He's the founder of the baking steal a product that I really love. During the conversation, I asked Andrus about being a vegetarian because I know from social media that he had been a vegan for a while. Actually, he's not doing that anymore. And then this kind of went off on a little side tangent talking about health and wellness. We talked about his decision to not be a vegan anymore. And additionally, we also talked about him not drinking, and just living a healthy lifestyle, not just from what you put in your body, but also your mind as well, and how that affects, you know, literally everything. So I really liked that part of the conversation. I just felt like the whole rest of the conversation centered exclusively around Pizza, pizza making and making steel, so it didn't really make sense to keep it in that episode. But I did want to share it. So this is a little seven minute clip about our conversation about health and wellness. If you've listened to the show, you know it's something I've been talking to a lot of guests about. So I'd love your feedback. Are you on your own personal health and wellness journey? Let me know. As always, you can find me at chefs without firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Instagram at Chefs Without Restaurants. The show will be coming right up right after a word from our sponsor. The COVID pandemic has clearly redefined the world of dining. Despite over 110,000 restaurants closing around the country, people still want the ambience and social connectivity that is so critical to the dining experience. Over the past 27 years, the world of the personal chef has grown in importance to fulfill those dining needs. While the pandemic certainly upended the restaurant experience, it provided an avenue for personal chefs to close that dining gap. Central to all of that is the United States personal chef Association. Representing nearly 1000 chefs around the US and Canada and even Italy. USPCA provides a strategic backbone for those shifts that includes liability insurance, training, communications, certification and more. One of the big upcoming events for USPCA is their annual conference scheduled July 7 to 10th at the Hyatt Regency in Sarasota, Florida, featuring our hostess speakers and classes. The conference is a way for chefs to hone their skills and network with like minded business people. For those who supply the industry it's a chance to reach not just the decision makers but the actual buyers of products. This will be their first time back following the COVID lockdowns and chefs are anxious to connect. For more info about the uspga, how to join and how to attend our conference. Go to USPCA.com. As always, all the info will be linked up in the show notes. And now on with the show. Thanks so much and have a great day. Well kind of shifting over from the steel and pizza to more personal and personal development stuff. Have you gone vegan? I know you did vegetarian. Are you full vegan at this point?Andris Lagsdin:
It's great question. No. Well, I was and I'm back to eating meat. Oh wow. I live Have it. Yeah, it's pretty recent, because of personal development. i It's funny, I've got two kids, one teenager, two boys that eat a ton. The problem I had with me being a vegan in my household because my wasn't my kids look at me like I had two heads. That wasn't the problem. The problem is I'm eating pasta, almost daily. And I'm exaggerating a little bit, I was actually gaining weight, not feeling great while I was vegan. And I liked the fact that I was not eating meat for whatever reason. So it's personal. But it became very hard for me to become really healthy, I found with a vegan diet in my current scenario, so I went back to eating meat, but maybe once or twice a week, but I do have eggs, I do have yogurt. And for me, it was about getting some more protein in my body. But I found it to be easier.Chris Spear:
The same. I never did vegan, but my wife and I were vegetarians for a while. And like I would equate it to previously I would have like a turkey sandwich, which is you know, like lean roast turkey, whatever. And then when we stopped eating meat, I'd have like a grilled cheese sandwich, you know, and it's like, now you're right, he did like lean turkey breast for just fatty cheese and things of that nature where you know, it's like, oh, I don't know that I'm necessarily healthier eating this way. So, you know, we found a way to balance last night, we did tacos at home. And we did both tempeh and tofu for that, but we're having meatloaf for dinner, you know, and turkey meatloaf. So just kind of figuring out where that works for us.Andris Lagsdin:
That's pretty much what I'm finding them. Because it's a, it's a, all the families out there, we know it's difficult trying to get everyone fed and happy and everything else. I don't want to be jam and I love pasta GUP don't get me wrong, I don't wanna be jamming it down every single day. So the balance for me was a little bit of a little bit of meat one or two nights a week, with some eggs thrown in there to come really trying to watch that. I mean, I'm getting older, trying to be healthy, I feel great. I sleep great. But my food is something I've tweaked. I mean, I went gluten free. I've tried all different types of styles that work to work in my body. And this one, I feel pretty good. I feel pretty awesome now because I'm, again, eating a little bit of everything, but not too much. And I'm really trying to watch it.Chris Spear:
And I think taking time for yourself as you'd like for me, I've had to slow down, you know, like, find that you're going to be more happy and successful. If you take time for yourself. I think so many of us, you know, this is a show, first and foremost for entrepreneurs. And I think we tend to burn the candle at both ends, whether we're side hustling, or we feel like we have to go go go from you know, before sunup to after sundown just working on projects, answering emails, not taking care of ourselves and between the stress and potentially drinking and then you know, food and weight and all that it takes a toll and I find it hard to be successful when I'm feeling that way.Andris Lagsdin:
That's a really good point. I'm with you. 100% In fact, when I had the corporate life at my family business, and it was like you know, call it a nine to five it was more than that. But a nine to five job where you go into the gym at lunchtime and squeezing in that workout. I feel like we have a backwards and I'm I'm still trying to unlearn everything, because really all that matters is my health and my happiness. That's so ingrained in me now that that's so important that that comes first. Because how can I be a good marketer? If I'm not happy with myself? How can I be a good father, if I'm, if I'm hungover in the mornings, or on weekends, it's just not that math doesn't work. So I'm really putting a lot of emphasis on myself, my mind my body, because I become a better entrepreneur, if I'm doing these things, and so unlearning all those things that I learned about life, not about happiness about life and like it's backwards, in my opinion. So now I'm trying to unlearn and do the things that make me better as a person. Because guess what my business now will thrive as a result of me driving.Chris Spear:
That's what I hope anyone who's at a younger age listening to this picks up on because I'm 45 You know, it took me a long time to kind of figure these things out. And as I'm kind of, hopefully, I've more life ahead of me than last I want to live to 100 maybe or so as long as it's healthy, but like thinking about how I want the back half of my life to be and it's like I need to be in good health. And that's means a lot of things both physically and mentally. And just kind of shifting and kids kids change everything. You know, like, Sure do. Not everyone has kids or understand that but like, I want to be healthy for them. You know, I just started doing karate with my son like I've never in my life done martial arts ever. And they had a beginners class, you know, for nine and up and my son's nine. So I'm literally in a class with eight other nine year olds, and I'm the only adult and it's a little humbling but I also feel I could potentially be the best in the class too. So you know Nothing that's great.Andris Lagsdin:
No, I love it. It's everything is trying to, you know, take care of yourself. It's a lot of work is so much to it. It's dying. It's exercise. It's, it's, you know, writing things down and just really focusing on yourself that really has to come first in my humble opinion, because then everything else becomes easier.Chris Spear:
Now as far as vegan cheese go, did you find that there was something that you really liked? Would Like, is there a vegan cheese that you thought was really good? Or would you just prefer to forego any kind of cheese type thing on a pizza?Andris Lagsdin:
Yeah, I tried a few. Personally, I would just forego it and just put some vegetables on there or tomato sauce or some olive oil. I find has a funny taste. But there are a couple of good brands out there like a no mu i know what comes to mind is a very good vegan cheese. Daya is okay. There's some in sprinkle some of these on top. So find there and there's actually someChris Spear:
good brands. Yeah, I think me Yoko's, I like a lot of mediocre. Yeah, that's a good culture and stuff like there. They have like a pub cheese and like a cream cheese. They're slices. I think they have like a mozzarella slice. Now it's not I don't know. Yeah, I like your style. I've seen a lot of these beautiful like crispy pizzas with just sauteed greens, like well do greens on there and some herbs and stuff. And I think that's, that's myAndris Lagsdin:
preference. It's just like fewer ingredients to me, the better and it's still processed, you know, the vegan stuff. And I know you can make some nut cheeses that are awesome. There's some great books out there on how to do that. But personally, I just, if I'm not going to do cheese on there, I'll just do some tomato sauce. I think it's beautiful. Some garlic, some basil. It's great if it's the right crust and the right bread man getting hungry.Chris Spear:
I know I could never. I don't think I could ever do the gluten free thing. And I've had some decent gluten free breads, but just like bread and cheese together. Like when I think of like the best things whether it be like charcuterie and cheese and bread, like just that combo of like the carbs and the cheese. That's tough.Andris Lagsdin:
It's same I know. It's like it's it's my favorite. And I used to you know, I'm not doing alcohol anymore, but a little bit of wine with that. It'd be nice.Chris Spear:
Have you found a good substitute for alcohol? Like what are you drinking these days?Andris Lagsdin:
You know, I just love wine. And I drank way too much. I just and I wake up and talk to myself every day like Not tonight. And I I tried to let's just do weekends thing a few times. Well, those weekends become heavy drinking weekends, and then it kind of spills off into the week again, that doesn't work. So for me, the way my mind works is that like, let's just try without and life's way better. By the way. Anybody who's listening or contemplating that it's better for me. I'm older now I'm in my 50s, early 50s. And I wake up every day so proud of myself for that. I feel great. My substitute is carbonated water. I'll do like any kind of sparkling with a little hint of like lime or lemon is awesome. Some fruit is great.Chris Spear:
I got my kombucha right here right now. That's my that's my morning drink. Yeah. Oh, cool. Let's get it tons of sparkling water. I mean, my kids don't drink soda at all. Like we're not soda households. I know a lot of people say lopped, you know, alcohol for soda. Like I just don't have the taste for that.Andris Lagsdin:
Yeah, I'm saying I'm not a big soda guy either. And I don't want my kids drinking that. I'm sure they'll they'll obviously taste it. Once in a while. They'll have one but yeah at home. Sparkling water is the way to go. Go toChris Spear:
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