Boss FilesJun 3, 2024

Boss Files: Ines Barlerin Glaser

Written by Kelsey Walker
Photographed by Tina Michelle Finkel

We’re excited and honored to be taking a seat with the incredibly conscious and talented chef Ines Barlerin Glaser! Ines is the founder of nomadic pizza business Lupa Cotta, known for catering private events and hosting collaborative pop-ups around Southern California. Founded on the principles of fermentation, old-school Nonna techniques, and dinner parties, Ines has built a remarkably unique and thoughtful business from the ground-up.

Ever wondered why you can travel abroad, eating copious amounts of pasta, pizza, and maybe even a croissant or three (oh, just us?!) without skipping a beat? This very phenomenon is what motivated Ines to start a pizza business that focuses on dough digestibility and slow food practices.

Read on to explore Ines’ summer-inspired pizza recipe and get to know her as a chef, creative, and business owner. Without further ado, Ines of Lupa Cotta

 

a conversation with Ines Barlerin Glaser…
1

Let’s start from the beginning! Tell us a little about the journey that led you to where you are now.

I grew up moving to a new place every three years. While I still don’t feel like I’m from anywhere, pizza always connected me to my peers. I first fell in love with pizza when I was an 8-year-old living in Japan. In my early twenties I pursued a career in film, but was always hungry to start my own thing. I was really inspired by the food world and felt that pizza could be my entry point. Between attending pizza school in Italy, working as a line-cook in Los Angeles, and apprenticing world renowned chefs in Copenhagen, I felt ready to start Lupa Cotta. In 2019 Lupa Cotta popped-up all over the city — From wine bars to shared office spaces and beyond. During the pandemic I partnered with different artisan bodegas and made thousands of DIY pizza kits for at-home use. Today, Lupa Cotta is a catering service. We cultivate pizza experiences, consult restaurants, and do media partnerships. You can also now read my Pizza Tourist newsletter on Substack!

2

What inspires you? What factors have played roles in the development of your cooking style?

My parents and my brothers are all amazing cooks! Plus, they know how to throw a great party. Traveling, experiencing new cultures, and nature reset and inspire me.

3

You have a deep passion for dough digestibility and slow food practices. Could you elaborate a bit more on the philosophy behind Lupa Cotta?

I think good food takes time. Pizza has gotten a bad rap as “fast food”. Using quality ingredients and long fermentation allow for dough to be more easily digestible. That’s why it’s comparable to the gluten-filled treats that so many people speak about in Italy… “I can eat gluten when I’m in Italy!

4

Between coordinating pop-ups, catering events and private dinners, and hosting cooking classes, you juggle many different business ventures. Tell us what a typical day-in-the-life looks like for you.

Ah, it can vary quite a bit. Every morning, I go for a walk with my dog and make a delicious cup of coffee. Then, I practice some yoga if I’m feeling healthy. Afterwards, I make a batch of pizza or focaccia dough and feed my sourdough starter. Usually, I’ll then head to the farmers market or run some errands around the city to prepare for an event. In between all of that, I do my administrative work at home — coordinating zoom meetings, brand partnerships, various workshops, or upcoming catering jobs. In the evenings, I like to meet up with friends at fun, new restaurants and discuss collaboration opportunities for the Lupa Cotta Instagram. On a really good day, I’ll have chef friends come over to make pizza and film videos with my Gozney oven. I make a lot of food, so I like to deliver the leftovers to the neighbors when I can. After all of that, I work on my substack newsletter before finally ending the day by walking my dog with my husband on the beach.

5

What are your favorite rituals around food and eating with others?

The silent moment when the food first arrives at the table and everyone is savoring their first few bites. Also, I love watching when someone tries something new for the first time!

6

How would you describe your motivations behind entertaining and how can we make our gatherings a bit more special?

Watching a meal be prepared in front of you connects you with your humanity. I like to cook at dinner parties where food, and the preparation process, is treasured. It makes people slow down, evokes memories, and encourages a new perspective connected to something we can all relate to.

7

Do you have any cooking tips or kitchen hacks you could share with us?

Cut your cherry tomatoes in half by sandwiching them between the top of two deli container lids and cutting them with a bread knife. Such a game changer and oh-so-satisfying!

8

What’s next for you? How do you hope to see the impact of your work take form?

I would love to write a cookbook and develop some more Lupa Cotta products to bring to market. I really want to grow my Pizza Tourist newsletter and community. We are also building two Airbnb rentals up in Lone Pine, California…The wild west, if you will!

Rapid Fire with Ines…
1.

Favorite place to visit to spark recipe inspiration?

Paris!

2.

Most nostalgic snack or treat from childhood?

Spicy Karaage chicken from the 7-11 in Tokyo!

3.

Favorite space in your home?

My wooden work bench in the kitchen… It’s often covered with cookbooks and flour.

4.

Most-used item in your kitchen?

My kitchen scale.

5.

Current favorite cooking spice?

Magic pizza dust! It’s made of fennel pollen, oregano, chili flakes, and flakey salt.

Ines’ Hosting Tips…
  1. Always have a bottle of champagne in the fridge! You never know when you will need to celebrate a special occasion.
  2. For dinner parties, prepare something that can easily be served family-style. Prepare a cheese or snack board in advance! You don’t want to be cooking during your own party. Make your job easy so you can entertain and hang out with your guests. Think stews, slow-cooked meats, roasted veggies, and dishes of the sort.
  3. Serve a beautiful show-stopping bread, like a focaccia drizzled with olive oil and salt. Heat it up in the oven and carve it up at dinner or when guests arrive. I promise, they won’t leave unhappy!

Summer Squash Blossom Pizza

Prep Time: 15
Total Time: 30
Serve: 2
INGREDIENTS:

Pizza dough (homemade or store-bought works!)

Cherry tomatoes

Garlic

1 can of tomatoes (crushed and seasoned with salt)

Basil

Squash blossoms

Flaky salt

Stracciatella

Parmigiano Reggiano

Sopressata

Instruction:

Prep your ‘za! 

Preheat your oven to 500F (or 800F for pizza ovens). Slice a handful of cherry tomatoes in half and put in a bowl. Mix in crushed garlic, a flaky sea salt, and a drizzle of olive oil. Set aside to marinate.

Assemble your ingredients.

Stretch your pizza dough into a circular shape and top with tomato sauce, sopressata, basil, and squash blossoms.

Bake and enjoy! 

Bake the pizza until the crust has reached it’s desired crispiness (about 8-10 minutes). Once the ‘za is out of the oven, top with with stracciatella, Parmigiano Reggiano, and flakey salt. Enjoy! xx

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