Sam and I connected over IG when she was quite outspoken, in my favor, about the drama I went through with Chissy Teigen. This lady really had my back and we got to talking. I quickly realized that Sam is a very special, incredibly kind, bright and hilarious person and we formed a cute lil internet friendship. Sam happens to be engaged to my favorite chef in the world, Grant Achatz so naturally I began to plan a trip to Chicago so we could meet in person and so that I could finally fulfil my dream of going to Alinea. This is absolutely still happening, but to my delight Sam and I managed to meet sooner than expected because she recently popped to LA and so of course I demanded she be a Caker Crush. Can you get enough of that smile? There were 150 photos to go through (thanks to the wonderful Tristan Kallas) and in literally every shot, she is smiling that sunny, contagious smile. Sam, you are a goddess and I am so lucky to call you a friend!
Can you write a short paragraph about yourself - you can talk about anything at all
Like any city dwelling millennial, I usually talk about myself via my work. I have had a winding career path - the hats in my closet span titles of fashion editor, creative strategist, startup founder, beauty executive, activist, angel investor, stylist, artist, friend, you name it, I probably did it. I think today, I tailor how I talk about myself based on who I am talking to - what makes them connect with me best, what makes people feel comfortable. So, to go against the idea of being defined by work, I think I’d best define myself as a creative empath. I love helping people tell their stories, visualize and contextualize their missions and products in current culture, and create moments of joy in the world.
What does food mean in your family? Are there any classic dishes?
My fiancé is a chef and I think people expect me to say that we are food snobs, which is quite inaccurate. Food to us means a lot more than that. Food means love. It takes consideration and effort, and that shows you care.
What was your birthday cake of choice as a kid?
For my family Filipino parties I would get Mocha cakes from Goldilocks Bakery in Chinatown. The icing has a very subtle sweetness, that feels quite restrained. And the spongey cake has a hint of mocha, the way you smell it more than you taste it.
Have you ever made Grant a cake? Or a memorable dessert?
The first dinner party we threw together was for my friend Jane, it was jungle themed. I made the invitations, crafted the jungle animal table decor, and Grant dreamt up the most imaginative menu ever. I was living in LA at the time and every day for a week I got things like wet banana leaves, sharp knives, and coconuts in the mail. The birthday cake was a massive pineapple upside down cake with cream frosting that he just whipped up from scratch, alongside a full jungle themed dinner spread for 12. I had gotten loads of tropical flowers from the market and for some reason just started fully decorating his already perfect cake, filling the top with tiger Lillies and palm leaves - not even thinking about the fact that I just took over this man’s cake without asking. I think he was a bit shocked that someone fully stole his kitchen, which I realized when I saw the look on his face. I think it was one of the first moments when we locked eyes and knew we were going to have many food adventures for a long time…
You’re getting married soon, tell me about your dream wedding cake.
This is an IMPOSSIBLE question! Our vice is sugar - Grant is an ice cream addict and I will eat a bowl of frosting if left unsupervised. We both love cake, I think this will be one of the harder things to choose!
What are the best things about living in Chicago?
The summer here is next level. I lived in NYC for 11 years and LA for 3, and Chicago in the summer is a beautiful mix of both. You have all the great shops, restaurants, people watching of the city but then go under a street tunnel and you’re on a boat or at the beach. The summer here is also so short, that people really go all out to make those days special and fun. The energy is unmatched.
Which 3 people, dead or alive do you wish you could share the chocolate cake you made with?
Hmm… Oprah, Willy Wonka, and Grant. All chocolate loving creatives which will surely make an incredible conversation.
For you, what is the ultimate song to bake or cook to?
I go through phases - lately I’ve been listening to Retro Road Trip or Bossa Nova French Jazz shuffle playlists on spotify.
If you could live in the world depicted in one movie or novel, or if you could travel back to a different era, which would you choose?
Wonderland, no question.
Finally, a 'would you rather' question. Breakfast in the middle of a giant flower, lunch on a cloud above the rainforest, or dinner in a giant bubble under the ocean?
I have too many allergies to fully enjoy the comforts of a flower, and Grant and I just had a lengthy conversation about how clouds are actually very wet, not dry and fluffy like we imagine them to feel - so I think I’m going to have to go with giant bubble under the ocean - I would be dry, and hopefully see all the oceanic aliens down there that we have yet to discover.