Amy Machnak grew up in the suburbs of Detroit in a family of avid hunters and gardeners who instilled the foraging and farm-to-table philosophy in her, long before it was trendy. Drawn to the restaurant business at the age of 12, she worked numerous positions in both the front and back of the house before finishing high school. After graduating from Schoolcraft Culinary College, Amy worked as a pastry chef for almost a decade at some of the best restaurants in the country including Tribute, just outside Detroit; Mako in Beverly Hills; and Boulevard in San Francisco. She left professional kitchens to earn a degree in journalism at San Francisco State University in 2006. She currently works as recipe editor at Sunset, where she develops original recipes, writes food-related stories, and contributed to Sunset’s cookbook. Amy won a James Beard award in 2009 for her work on Sunset’s One-Block Diet blog.
One of the recipes being tested in the Sunset test kitchen this week is for vanilla pastry cream. The recipe calls for “half a vanilla bean, scraped,” and this caused a few questions for clarification from our re-testers. I thought I’d take a moment to explain what this means.
Like I do every year, I started this week thinking that sacrificing my usual vices was going to be incredibly tough. And some days it was. But now that I’m done, I realize, like I do every year, that it wasn’t so bad, and that the way I feel—light, healthy, and full of energy—was worth the struggle.
Remember when I first said that part of doing a cleanse is listening to your body? Well, mine spoke very loudly to me this morning and I listened. I’ve done enough of these to know that there’s no point in killing yourself just to prove you can. The focus of this week is to make myself healthier, not to make myself sick from depriving my body of what it really needs. And what does my body need?
Westphoria explores the innovations and lifestyle trends of the 13 Western states, covering food, drink, design, arts and culture, and the dreamers who live here. To contact the editor, email@example.com