Learn to cast iron and cook tapas at the upcoming Content LAB, “Iron Chefs,” on November 14 at the School of Visual Philosophy. Local chefs Stacey Clinesmith and Lisa Ahmad will lead guests on a flavorful journey by teaching them how to cook delicious tapas recipes and providing tapas-style hors d’oeuvres, including: lamb meatballs with yogurt and cucumber; tortilla espanola; chicken in mustard cream sauce; pan con tomate; Spanish olives; gato d’ametlla (almond cake); and manchego and membrillo (quince).
Guest chef Stacey Clinesmith suffers from what some might see as an unhealthy obsession with healthy food and a healthy planet. While in the throes of a midlife career transition, she followed this obsession down a path that led her to becoming a natural chef, an eating psychology coach, and a leader in sustainable food systems. She works as a therapeutic chef and teaches cooking classes throughout the Bay Area. Since she is by nature a giver, her ultimate goal is to help others cultivate similar obsessions, which she does by sharing her love of cooking, whole food nutrition, and mindful eating practices with her students and clients at Your Beeting Heart.
She lives in the heart of Silicon Valley (clearly an urban area) and grows much of the food she and her husband eat, including raising chickens, keeping bees, and canning, preserving, and fermenting food (considered homesteading activities). However, she hesitates calling herself an “urban homesteader,” as she feels lacking in a few key traits shared by most who call themselves such: facial hair, tattoos, goats, and youth. She’s okay with all of this—except the goat part. She really wants a goat. And she wouldn’t turn away youth if it came knocking.
Catering chef Lisa Ahmad was born in the Bay Area and vividly recalls visits to her grandparents’s Italian restaurant, Lucia’s, where she had her first taste of understanding the hard work and devotion her grandparents put into their restaurant. Taking this inspiration, she graduated from the California Culinary Academy of San Francisco at the age of 20 with an AOS degree in Culinary Arts. Lisa completed her internship at a French bakery in San Francisco, La Patisserie Francaise.
After graduation, she traveled with her husband to his native homeland, Pakistan. She found herself drawn to the cuisine. This experience added another layer to her understanding of cooking styles and use of spices. While in Pakistan, she received the tragic news of her grandfather’s passing. When she arrived back in the Bay Area, she decided to continue working at Lucia’s. Lisa worked in all aspects of the business, knowing it was an honor to work in her grandfather’s footsteps. In 2004, the desire to further expand her culinary horizons led her to open Mirchi Café in Fremont. The restaurant uses American comfort food and adds layers of Indian and Asian flavors. After 11 years in business, Mirchi will be opening a second branch in Dublin in 2016.
Lisa’s cooking passion has led her to many different cuisines: classic American, Italian, and French, as well as ethnic foods from India, China, Thailand, Morocco, and more. She specializes in all areas of food technique, and she also has extensive knowledge in bread, cakes, and pastries. Her focus is always fresh, local when possible, and healthful whole food. Currently, Lisa takes part in many culinary opportunities, including cooking demonstrations, natural health and wellness through food classes, high school mentoring, food articles, travel videos, blogging, and restaurant consultation. She lives in Fremont with her husband and five children.
The Content LAB series inspires, creates, and connects our creative community. We believe that communities grow stronger as the people are connected with a common purpose and mission.