For this month's My Perfect Ten, we're so excited to feature Camilla Marcus - Founder of west~bourne, Chef and Activist. Camilla Marcus’ love for hospitality stems from a childhood filled with gathering around the dinner table, frequent trips to the farmers market, and cooking with everything on hand—from seed to stem—in order to reduce waste. All she does is enriched by her Los Angeles upbringing—communal, laid-back, intentional, mindful, and always through the lens of sustainability. As evidenced by west~bourne’s community-driven model, advocacy is in Camilla’s nature. She is a co-founder of ROAR (Restaurants Organizing Advocating Rebuilding) and a founding member of the IRC (Independent Restaurant Coalition). This months theme is "New Year, Refreshed Me" and Camilla highlights what's keeping her centered and energized in 2022.
1) Welcoming the fresh start of a new year, I like to release everything in the prior year to make space for what's to come. Cleansing is a huge ritual for us, so you’ll find burning palo santo and sage in our home.
2) The kitchen is where I feel most like myself. I channel that energy into the new year by making a special home‑cooked meal (or meals) for my loved ones. Right now, because they’re in season and my absolute favorite fruit, I’m making a Persimmon Burrata Salad with our west~bourne Pistachio Dukkah.
3) We’re expecting baby no. 3 and through my first two pregnancies, I’ve really learned the importance of staying active - even when my body really isn’t feeling it. I’ve been loving Forma Pilates in LA.
4) As a zero~waste chef, I pride myself on following that mission throughout my home, so my kitchen is sustainably equipped. Some of my zero~waste staples include Stasher Bags, Linen Towels, Recycled Glass Jars with wood tops and an at-home Compost Bin. Check out Camilla's "green home guide" here.
5) My family is my driving force. My two bebes, and our two puppies, are the fire under me - from their constant energy, to captivating curiosity, being their mama has pushed me to grow, evolve, and think differently across all facets of my life. Each stage and age with them is a fresh adventure and inspires me to raise the bar of what I’m capable of.
6) For some time now I’ve been really working on adapting my mindset and learning to be comfortable with the constant changes of life, and well… this world. I highly, highly recommend you read Life is in the Transitions - a beautiful depiction of our generation’s norm, aka constant change. About reorienting your life when it takes a turn, or the changes don’t meet expectations. There’s beauty in failing, as turmoil is part of the journey. accepting that, and moving gracefully, patiently through the transitions makes life better off.
7) This year, especially, I’m seeking to make the most of each and every day… every moment - no matter how mundane they may seem. Overall, I’m committed to being present. To me, it’s all about pursuing joy (minute after minute), rather than chasing happiness. And if you want to know where I feel the most joy? Where the sky meets the sea.
8) Before I started cooking, I was a serious nail biter. Through many years, I’ve broken the habit, so nail care has been huge to me and my forever nail journey. I’ve been obsessed with Tenoverten’s celery oil, which has really helped my nail strength and growth. Celery’s intrinsic healing qualities - antioxidants to protect and generate cell growth, and incredible vitamin and mineral value - are the reason we created our west~bucha, west~bourne’s first menu item. It was inspired by Cel-ray soda from Dr. Brown’s which I drank with my grandmother as a kid, and packed all the health benefits of celery without any of the sugar or additives.
9) Last year we bought our first home (!). Funny enough, for me it’s felt like the single most intense, adult act I’ve ever done… even as an entrepreneur, chef, partner and mom. Homeowning has felt like a huge leap of faith into a distinct new phase of life. The process of getting it right to where we want it to be is constantly changing and unfolding, but I’ve been soaking up design inspiration from Mexico City architecture, to mid-century modern furniture, to vintage finds at flea markets. Plus harvesting our new garden and planning for a chicken coop soon. Never not wanting a creative project, this is filling my cup to the brim.
10) I created west~bourne to be a concept that enveloped everything one to be: zero~waste, mission-driven, vegetable forward, with an unapologetic focus on our team and community. In 2021, we refreshed west~bourne - everything from the packaging (fully compostable - down to the soy ink on our labels), to the connections we’ve built at every level of our supply chain. All so that our community can eat well, do better, and gather often. My team and I are thrilled to see what 2022 has in store for us.