“Antonio, you are going to fall in love with Adina’s philosophy on food, and her latest underground kitchen dedicated to inspiring people to take their culinary nutrition seriously.” Those were the words of Farhad Attaie, entrepreneur and now co-founder of Hellosmile. He was referring to Adina Niemerow before Life & Thyme ever sat down with her in San Francisco for an interview at her test kitchen. And Farhad was right, we indeed did fall in love with her food and her approach.
Food is Medicine is Adina’s mantra. All of her ingredients are carefully selected for their nutritional value and prepared beautifully to provide a flavor that is unprocessed and divine. During the day, her kitchen in the Mission District is an incubator for recipe development, cleanse programs, and video projects. After hours, she provides space for plant-based cooking classes and intimate dinner parties. After meeting with her, hearing her story, and seeing just how much our philosophies lined up, we knew we had to work with her.
Our eventual future collaboration came in the form of a private dinner at her underground test kitchen, with a very limited number of guests. Not only would this dinner be a collaboration between Chef Adina and Life & Thyme, but also with Chef Sarah Haugen, who focuses on plant-based cooking that elevates the body, mind, and spirit as well. The meal consisted of several vegetable-based courses with Mexican-inspired flavors that were gluten and dairy free. Among these dishes were lobster mushroom cakes with a berry compote, and salmon in radicchio tacos with jicama, cucumber, and sweet chilies. They also served Jalapeño “Poppers” that featured dehydrated jalapeno peppers served with a spicy cashew cream, and a carrot soup with cumin, turmeric, umeboshi vinegar and shiso leaf that left me feeling like I had tasted the farmers market in a bowl. Every dish was carefully executed with a sense of care that resonated among our guests as everyone happily chowed down.
The collaboration went beyond the food with the involvement of Courtney Cochran—a certified sommelier and wine consultant in San Francisco. With boxes full of bottles, Courtney arrived with carefully selected wines to pair and compliment each dish. Her energy and guidance for each pairing was an absolute treat to hear, as it meant deciding what to drink had already been taken care of by an expert. Courtney also provides personalized wine services to private and corporate clients, wine organizations, and restaurants.
Our decorative dinner table and the ambience of the night was meticulously designed by Holly Kopman of Holly A. Kopman Interior Designs. When she asked what theme I was looking for, all I needed to say was “rustic and earthy” for her to create an incredibly memorable experience. Her expertise goes beyond the table and ranges from yachts to turn-key condominiums.
This dinner exemplified and validated not just a sense of community, but of belonging. As if everyone that played a part in creating the evening was truly meant to be there at that point in time. We all had a job to do; whether it was to cook, pair wine, rally the guests together, or document the evening through a camera lens, the end result was a harmonious melody orchestrated by top-notch talent.
There was a moment after every dish had been served and the film crew had packed up, where it was only a group of people that genuinely valued food, lively conversations, and a full belly. Nothing else mattered. Only peace.
To attend future Life & Thyme dinners and events, please sign up here.
Film by Benjamin Hunter and Timothy Seaton.