Aficionada

Spanish noun (ah-fee-thyaw-nah-th ah)

a woman who is very knowledgeable about an activity, subject, or pastime. a connoisseur, expert, specialist, cognoscente, an enthusiast.


Helene Henderson Chef/Restauranteur/Author

 

 

Where are you from?
Lulea, in the north of Sweden near the finish border.

What do you do?
I cook and run the Malibu Farm restaurants.

Where do you live now and what do you love most about it?
Point Dume, Malibu. It's a small rural town with big city sensibilities. 

  

 

 


Lifegoals?
To skip on a farm, bask in the sun, and eat delicious food.

Favorite hobbies/pastimes?
I love gardens, home decor, food, farmers markets, farms, forests, hiking, walking, and running.

What inspires you?
Mother earth. She sure put on a show this year, after the fires, the blooms, the greens, everything is a painting of total and sheer beauty.

 

 

 

 

What do you like most about your work?
Freedom to be my own boss, the ability to think of new things, and to try to make them possible. 

What’s up next for you? Projects/life?
We opened a lot of restaurants in a short time, in addition to Malibu, Newport Beach, Lanai, Miami, this spring we opened up both Montecito and Los Cabos, Mexico. Coming up next is the big apple NYC!!! And Zushi Marina in Japan.

Can you tell me a bit about the shift into restaurants? How did the first restaurant come to be?
Yes, I started doing cooking classes and backyard dinners out of my house in Malibu, a hobby that took over my life. The classes and dinners pretty much became an underground, non-permitted restaurant, obviously not allowed in a residential neighborhood. I began to take the dinners on the road to other farms and ranches around Malibu but quickly ran out of locations. After my husband John read an article about the vacancies on the pier, I reached out to the Malibu Pier about the possibility of holding a one night dinner event there. This lead to a short time pop-up lease that grew into a long term lease including both restaurants on the pier. The restaurant shift was more accidental than planned. One of our first customers at the original pop up counter service cafe at on the pier was Meir Teper, one of the owners of Nobu. We began talking and he became my friend and mentor which lead to our hotel opportunities in Lanai, HI and Miami,FL.

When will your next cookbook come out?
I am currently working on and reviewing recipes, which will either go to book number two or we may decide to re-open the original Malibu Farm Cooking Blog and post the recipes there, or perhaps a combination of the two.

 

 

Thin Gold Bangles, Double Bar Ring and Thin Gold Stacking Rings 

 

When are you the happiest?
When I think of something really fun to make, and it actually works.

What are your favorite places that you have traveled to and where do you want to go next?
I love Vietnam, always in a fantasy I am going back there one day, the food the people, the nature, best trip ever. I also miss snow a lot and want to go somewhere with lots and lots of it. I want to make a snow angle and travel back in time, when my grandmother and mother were still here.

What is your favorite hotel/resort to stay in?
When my kids were young we stayed at the old Miramar Montecito resort many times when it was the old funky place, my kids laid pennies on the tracks and we made a wish for the future that came through, and now we just opened a restaurant at the newly reopened Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel and I can't wait to make a staycation at the revamped resort.

 

 

  Thin Gold Bangles, Double Bar Ring ,Girona Wrist Wrap, Naked Wide Cuff, and Thin Gold Stacking Rings 

 

Please tell me about your children.
Celia is my oldest, she's a very determined young lady, she lives to run long distance marathons, and iron man competitions. She went to Yale for undergraduate and Stanford for graduate school, and she works as Director of Finance for a company, but her passion is definitely to run. Casper is my middle child, he plays music, writes songs, and is very creative. He performed at all of my farm dinners with his band and helped create the magic in the early days of Malibu Farm. My youngest, Caden is still in high school and wants to be a writer of fantasy fiction, he already finished his first thousand-page book! He also works at Malibu Farm on the pier on the weekends, you can find him bussing tables on Saturdays and working the host stand on Sundays.

  

 

 

 

Please tell me about your pets.
We have two goats, Casey and Cloud, one pot bellied pig named Arnold, two dogs, Stanley, a rescue mutt Terrior, and Jocko a German Shepard, and one rescue cat which my son named Nala. The cat really eats a lot and is very, very, bossy for a recent rescue, she tells the dogs what's up. We have a hive full of bees, and the queen is called Ms. Bee Kind. We have a lot of furry footed chickens that do not have names either, because as soon as you actually name a chicken, it sadly gets eaten by coyotes, so I call them all Chicken Cutie, not to be mistaken for chicken cutlet, because we do not eat our chickens.

 

 


 

 

Do you have a favorite recipe to share? 
Recently my favorite salad has been with a sweet dressing, whole grain mustard, little maple syrup, lots of lemon juice, garlic and olive oil, roasted Brussels sprouts, black kale and lots of sliced apples, delicious . Also, this one from my cookbook:

 

QUINOA-OATMEAL CEREAL

This recipe does not have any eggs, so it is not “from the coop.” But it is a great protein-packed vegan breakfast dish. Gluten-free oats work well.
You can use any quinoa/oatmeal percentage combination; the recipe that follows is a 50/50 blend. The cereal will last several days in the fridge. Just reheat in the microwave, or stir in a small pan on the stove for a few minutes until heated.
Makes 8 servings

For cereal:
1 cup well-rinsed quinoa (some brands are pre-rinsed; check box)
1 cup old-fashioned oats, gluten free or regular
1 teaspoon salt
For serving:
Coconut milk
Maple syrup
Fresh or dried berries
Nuts

Combine quinoa, oats, and salt with 8 cups water, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the cereal is a soft, welcoming morning mash.
Serve with coconut milk, maple syrup, fresh or dried berries, nuts, or any combination you like.

Reprinted from Malibu Farm Cookbook: Recipes from the California Coast. Copyright © 2014 by Helene Henderson. Photographs copyright © by 2014 Martin Löf. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

 

 

 Rectangle Bangle, Girona Wrist Wrap, Naked Cuff Slim, Naked Bangle Slim and Naked Toggle Thin

 

Female hero and why?
Someone old: Rosa Parks, being brave before the internet and social media, took a special kind of courage.
Someone new: my daughter really taught me a lot of things about hard work, the long distance and perseverance.
Someone true: Michelle Obama. I wish we could all have her grace, intelligence and humanity.

What are your rules to live by?
Be on time and show up. It really is true that half of success is showing up and failure always teaches you more than success.

 

 

 Gitana iPhone Case

 

What is your favorite music and latest bands?
I love simple acoustic music, and must admit I often select an Amazon playlist rather than any particular artist. I love Florence and the Machine, I am partial of course, as she is my niece and was a flower girl at my wedding, but I still remember the little girl who would twirl and say she would grow up to be a singing Disney princess, and now she is a super star - anything is possible!

What are some of your favorite books/audiobooks/films/shows?
I love non-fiction. Books that have stayed with me are Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer, Born to Run, by Christopher MacDougall and Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. I also love reality shows. Bravo TV and The Housewives, rich women fighting and none of their problems are mine to solve....very entertaining.

Who is your favorite artist?
Christo. I love how he connects nature with great visual displays. I am mesmerized by the mind of Yayoi Kusama and her Infinity Mirrors, the questions that it poses:


"When and where does it all begin, and where and how does it end? Is it all in our imagination the boundaries between past and present?"

 

 

 

How do you unwind or de-stress? 
I must remain on schedule, nothing stresses me out more than straying out of my routine. I am pretty set in my ways. If I can eat, sleep, wake in rhythm of my internal clock, I feel centered and calm, throw me off the clock and I begin to stress out. Moving in the harmony of my body's dance with the sun and the moon is all the meditation and yoga I need.

Do you unplug from devices? Night time or weekends?
Yes, yes, yes, after 7 pm I try to ignore the constant buzz of the phone, usually involving something broken! Restaurants are like a fixer upper, which no matter how much you fix it, there is always something broken that needs to be repaired.

 

 

 


How do you take good care of yourself? 
I try to run and lift weights. I want to run more, but I am working on building up some back strength to handle the high impact of running.

When do you feel your best?
In the morning - new day, new possibility, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day

Beauty/skincare regime?
Hmmm... none! I take showers and wash my hair with whatever product is in the bathroom. I don't wear makeup, to quote the queen Alicia Keys:

"In the morning from the minute that I wake up
What if I don't want to put on all that make up?
Who says I must conceal what I'm made of?
Maybe all this Maybelline is covering my self-esteem"


What is your style credo?
Simplicity. I am all about the uniform: jeans, t shirt, cashmere sweater, and boots.

Who is your style icon, and why?
Steve Jobs, no kidding, because simplicity is everything, I appreciate fashion, and often wish to be more fashionable, but the true me is all about the simple uniform, I always buy multiples of everything.

 

  


Pacha Wrist Wrap, Square Bangle, Abanico I Ring, Double Ring II, and Thin Stacking Rings

 

What was your first KC piece?
Thin Gold Stacking Rings. I love the simplicity of these rings and I work with my hands, and I think the hands, and not the eyes, are the window to our soul. We speak through our hands when we create, when we draw, write, cook, garden, clean, nurture, so I am all about beautiful simple rings that show the beauty of the hands.

What KC accessories do you like to wear at night?
The Naked Cuff Wide. It's so simply sexy and it goes with everything. 

Which piece do you wear the most?
The Oblique Pendant I necklace with the suede string, and the Girona Backpack in black Napa!

 

 

Photos by Kendall Conrad using an iPhone X 

 

SHOP THE STORY