IN THE KITCHEN WITH TAMMY FLACK
Tell us about yourself:
I’m a wife, mom of 3 daughters & 2 sons-in-law, grandmother of two, former personal chef, certified Primal Health Coach, and paleo blogger. I am originally from Mobile, Alabama, but we have lived in Houston since 1994 except for a few years doing an expatriate assignment in Puerto Rico, so I consider myself an AlaTexaRican. I grew up in a family of great cooks and food lovers, so my best childhood memories are around a table full of delicious food. Unfortunately, we also had a tendency towards obesity and all of its accompanying health problems. It took me more than 50 years to find the solution in a Primal Lifestyle, ditching yo-yo diets, chemical-laden processed foods and factory farmed meats for real, whole foods and naturally raised, grass fed meats, pastured poultry, and wild caught seafood. As a result, the health and future of my entire family was altered, and now I am passionate about sharing this lifestyle with others!
How did you get involved with cooking?
Strangely enough, though my mom was the best cook I have ever known, I didn’t grow up cooking with her, just eating! But when I got married, I knew I wanted to learn to be a great cook like she was. It took some time and a lot of failed experiments, (my poor husband!), but eventually I got the hang of it and learned to love cooking for my family. Food is my love language, and I know of nothing I love to do more than cooking for people I care for. I became certified as a personal chef and ran a Personal Chef Service, cooking for some wonderful people and in some amazing dream kitchens. That taught me to be extremely organized in the kitchen and to multi-task. It also broadened my food and cooking knowledge, as I needed to be able to provide anything that the client wanted to eat. My answer when asked if I could cook any dish was always, “Of course!” Then I would google the ingredient or the dish and figure out how to make it. That necessary versatility really benefited me in the long run, and made me a much better cook.
Describe your cooking style?
Elevated Southern meets Tex-Mex meets Puerto Rican with a healthy dose of Pan-Asian? Is that a thing?
How did you learn about grass-fed meats?
My husband and I did our first Whole30 in 2014, and through that we discovered the Paleo world and the whole-food movement. We were both battling health problems and had weight issues, and found the answers we had been looking for in this primal lifestyle. We both lost weight, reversed insulin sensitivity, improved all of our blood work, and gained vitality and energy that we hadn’t had in years. This movement introduced me to the importance of high quality, grass-fed meats, and we discovered US Wellness Meats at PaleoF(x) in Austin. One taste and we were hooked!
What is your favorite recipe featuring Grass-Fed meat?
This is like asking which child is your favorite! How do I pick? I will say one has to be Carnitas with US Wellness Meat’s Pork Shoulder Roast, because there is such a huge difference in the taste when you use US Wellness Heritage Pork. That pork is so tender and delicious, and it seriously just melts in your mouth. Carnitas just let that pork shine! My husband says anything with US Wellness bacon or bacon ends, and he’s not wrong. Some of the dishes I’m most proud of are my Grain Free Gyoza and Cauliflower Arroz Con Pollo, because I worked so hard for a long time on both of them, trying to come up with the taste that I loved in the traditional dishes that would still leave me feeling good after I ate it. And one of my no-fail, company dishes is Mango Beef Roast, made with that delicious grass-fed chuck roast. It’s easy and not too fussy, but it always gets rave reviews.
You’re stranded on a desert island; luckily, you’re stranded with your top 5 ingredients and one must have kitchen tool:
My first thought for a tool would be my chef’s knife, but as a southern girl I have to answer my cast-iron skillet. On an island, I assume I would be able to get fish, so I think garlic, grass-fed butter or ghee, onions, bacon, and I’ll need some kind of acid, so I’ll say limes. Do I have refrigeration on this island? I may be over-thinking this. But truly, if I had these things with a cast-iron skillet and some fish, I really wouldn’t even look for a way off the island.
Best cooking secret/tip/piece of advice you’ve learned:
Almost every dish benefits from a splash of acid at the end, just before serving. I have seen many an average dish turn into a complex, extraordinary one with just a little squeeze of lemon or lime juice, or a splash of balsamic vinegar. Soups, stews, sauces, roasted veggies, seafood and meats all go from blah to wow with the help of a little acid at the end. It’s culinary magic!
What’s your favorite quote/song for culinary inspiration?
I know it’s cliché, but can I say absolutely everything Julia Child ever said? If I must pare it down, I’d say “People who love to eat are always the best people.” Because it’s so true, and “The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.” Also true.
Anything else you want to share?
I hope everyone will go to primalwellnesspro.com and join our community! You’ll find product reviews, lifestyle advice, and an ever-growing library of recipes to support your health and fitness goals while providing absolutely delicious food for you and your family, all seasoned with a bit of humor and lots of transparency. I’m also very active on Instagram so I hope you will follow along! Those are the best two ways to stay on top of everything going on with Primal Wellness Pro.
Enter to win our October 2018 Primal Wellness Featured Chef Prize Pack!