Last spring, we had the pleasure of having the one and only Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest come to our little Pacific Palisades Shoppe to sign copies of her incredible cookbook, Half Baked Harvest. Not only is Tieghan one of the raddest chicks ever, her cooking is OUT of this world and she’s become a dear friend of mine over the last few years. Long story short, one of her 9,000 brothers is dating my younger sister Lyndsie, so she practically fam!
When I found out she was coming to LA, I jumped at the opportunity to have her sign books in our Shoppe. We had Half Baked Harvest fans come over from all over Los Angeles to meet Tieghan and sip on some deeeeelicious cocktails. I, on the other hand, was home nearly dying sick with the WORST COLD/FLU/ PLAGUE EVER and didn’t get to join in on the festivities. But y’all know how to party and have a good time. Based on the photos, it looked like a freakin’ boozin’ blast and the FOMO was real!! If you weren’t able to make it, dontcha worry!! We got to sit down with Tieghan and chat with her about alllll the things, like how she started Half Baked Harvest, all the ups and downs along the way, and of course.. a few of her favorite recipes!
Be sure to keep on scrollin’ down this post. We’ve got a Q&A with Tieghan, photos from the event and we even put together a link to easily Shoppe all the items Tieghan used to make her cocktails and stunner of a charcuterie board. Yup, THAT’S RIGHT!
ENJOY and if you don’t already have a copy of Half Baked Harvest the cookbook….. GET TO IT!!!
Food blogging has been around for a while now— and you are still crushing it. What has your journey been like?
First, thank you! It’s been a long road, but honestly such a great one. I have loved putting my heart and soul into building Half Baked Harvest. It’s been almost non-stop work for five and a half years now, but it’s the most rewarding job, and I can’t see myself doing anything else. I love it!
Has cooking always been a passion of yours? How’d you get into cooking?
I actually started cooking around the age of 14. I am one of seven kids, so my parents had their hands full with my brothers and me. We wouldn’t eat until nine or ten at night. One night I just decided I was making dinner. I think I made a Rachel Ray recipe and everyone loved it. I’ve been cooking for friends and family ever since. I love to cook for people, seeing their reactions is so rewarding!
How did Half Baked Harvest come to life?
I started HBH just after turning 19. My entire life I had big plans to live in LA and be a fashion stylist. I moved to LA and was all set to attend school at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising when I decided that living in LA wasn’t for me. I was young and totally homesick, so I moved my butt back home. It was my mom who encouraged me to finally start HBH. Once I started writing, cooking and photographing I never looked back, and have been working on it ever since.
What about living in Colorado inspires your cooking? Where else do you get your inspiration?
I love the seasons that Colorado has to offer, so they are a huge inspiration for my cooking. Right now it’s all about late spring and summer recipes using local Colorado produce. That said, my biggest source of inspiration is my family. My brothers travel all over the world and are constantly sending me photos of menus and dishes I need to recreate. It’s so much fun to play with different ethnic foods and be creative with new ingredients.
Was there someone that served as a mentor-like person through your blogging journey?
I wouldn’t say there was one person, but more my friends and family that supported and encouraged me along the way. I took a pretty unusual career path, so I am really grateful that my family was so supportive and encouraging!
Has your cooking style evolved throughout the years? If so, how?
Yes! My cooking has changed so much from the start of HBH. Back in the day my recipes were long and far too complicated to cook up on weeknights. Over the years I’ve really learned to create recipes that are easy, but still consist of layers of flavor. My goal is to create recipes that are easy enough for weeknights, but taste like they took hours to make. I’m not one for boring recipes and I’m all about layers of flavor and texture.
What are some of the biggest challenges and hurdles you face when it comes to Instagram and blogging?
I think the biggest challenge is consistently having to be ON and 100% open about my life. My readers know every last detail about me and they expect me to be checking in with them every day via both the blog and Instagram. This means that there’s really never a shut off. On the flip side, I’ve created a bond with my followers that allows us to really feel like friends. It sounds so weird, but that’s how I think of it! Because social media is always going, going, going, I have to be checking in and posting every single day. It’s a lot of upkeep and that’s probably the biggest challenge.
What’s your favorite go-to weeknight meal? Why?
Right now I am loving weeknight pizzas with whatever veggies I happen to have in the fridge. I especially love pizza during the summer because of all the fresh produce that is so abundant. I have a caprese pizza in my cookbook that’s my all-time favorite. And if I’m not making pizza, I am probably making this Cacio e Peppe. Clearly, I like carbs!
What’s your favorite meal for entertaining? Why?
I love keeping things simple with something like a skillet roasted chicken and a big salad. OR if it’s a fun group of friends, I love doing pizzas with different toppings and a salad. Always a big salad on the side no matter what I am serving.
What’s your favorite place in your home? Why?
Well of course, the kitchen! It’s my favorite, and I spend so many hours there cooking for friends, family, and the blog. Outside of the kitchen, I’d have to say my bedroom! And I don’t spend much time there. But it’s a cute and cozy room that’s just really relaxing. It’s my favorite place to just go and chill.
If you had to pick three kitchen essentials, what would they be?
Cast iron skillet, sharp knife, food processor.