Guest Interview with Stephanie Sokolove

Many of you have heard of the Table of Life Fundraiser that supports the Foodbank’s Feed the Future programs, a sequential series of programs created by the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County that fosters nutritional health and independence in children of all ages. This year, on October 5th, the Foodbank is thrilled and proud to have Stephanie Sokolove as Table of Life’s keynote speaker. Stephanie is Owner and Executive Chef to THREE nationally recognized restaurants in the Boston area, Stephanie’s on Newbury, Stephi’s on Tremont, and Stephi’s in Southie.

Stephanie SokoloveStephanie has built her business on a style of cooking that she calls “Sophisticated Comfort,” a style that is fresh, interesting, and yet familiar. “Sophisticated Comfort Food” is the next generation of comfort food in that it blends traditional favorites with today’s food preferences. Dishes are imaginatively created with current, fresher ingredients and bolder flavors then artistically presented. At the restaurant, Stephanie spins familiar classics into elegant dishes that comfort and surprise without being fussy or intimidating.

I sat down with the gracious Stephanie Sokolove to ask her some questions about her health and food philosophies, and of course I couldn’t help but ask a little about her restaurants.


Waking up and feeling good.  It’s being energetic, clear headed, and ready to face the day.


It’s important to function at your top level.   If we’re not healthy, it’s hard to get through day. For instance,  I play golf.  I take care of myself by not eating big meals beforehand as I need to feel light to play well.  I fuel up after the game to replenish.


It has to play into it!  Survival probably comes first before health. If more people knew that healthy choices are offered through the Foodbank and they knew where they could  get that food, that message would be amazingly welcomed.  What kills me is to see overweight kids, eating unhealthy foods, they can’t feel well, but it’s not their fault!

Qusestion 4 SS

Personal health choices and restaurant services can be very conflicted.  What can make food delicious is not necessarily what you should eat everyday. However at our restaurants, everything is fresh, nothing comes out of a can.  Fresh is best, and that is a requirement to make food delicious.  While we still use butter and salt to flavor our food, we love experimenting with alternatives, such as, using a fresh sauce instead of a rich cream sauce for fish.  There has been an evolution over the last 20 years in restaurant food in California.  Many restaurants really focus on fresh ingredients and there are many more amazing salads.


AvocadoI think I would share that the Avocado is probably the healthiest single food we could eat.  It is fantastic in all sorts of recipes.  It’s a Fruit/ vegetable that is worth experimenting with!  Substitute oil or butter with it.  Use it in salads, sauces, and in baking, Salads don’t need oil.  A ripe avocado gives salads a lovely creamy texture.


Question 6 SS

Working in a restaurant where food is so abundant, you become unaware of how much food is needed.  Working with the Foodbank has been a real eye opener for me, to how much need there truly is.

Thank you Stephanie for spending time with us at the Foodbank, we look forward to seeing you present at the Table of Life Gala on October 5th!



The BEET: Meet Rhianna King, RD

Meet Rhianna King, RD

Rianna KingRhianna King is a clinical registered dietitian at Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria, and works with cancer patients at the Mission Hope Cancer Center to provide appropriate nutritional counseling, information and recommendations.  She currently serves as the Clinical Nutrition Manager at Marian.  She graduated from California Polytechnic State University in 2009 with a Bachelors of Sciences in Nutrition.  She completed her Dietetic Internship through Cal Poly as well.  She encourages patients and clients to focus on eating mostly plants to optimize their health and prevent/fight disease.  She embodies what it means to be a connected and caring nutrition professional and registered dietitian, whose focus is to provide evidence based nutrition information throughout Santa Maria.


“To me being healthy means feeling your best both physically and mentally to enjoy life to its fullest. This includes engaging in activities like healthy eating and regular physical activity that keeps your body functioning as it should.”


“Our health directly impacts our quality of life. Living healthy means a longer life, less time spent in the hospital, and less time spending money on medications and procedures that have the potential to be prevented through proper nutrition and physical activity.  Food fuels our body and has everything we need in it for optimal health. If you look at the composition of a tomato for example versus a human being you might be surprised at all the similarities; water, carbohydrate, protein, vitamins, minerals, etc. Our body is capable of so many amazing things and proper nutrition is the required fuel.”


“My motivation comes from my desire to have a positive impact in the lives of the people around me. I have knowledge in a particular field that can improve health, prevent and treat disease, and that knowledge needs to be shared. I want to help people take charge of their health and improve their lives.”


“I think food insecurity can have a negative impact on both physical and mental health. Inadequate nutrition can also cause social anxieties and behavioral changes all leading to poor quality of life.”


“Food First! I try to instill in everyone that consuming a variety of foods is the best way to achieve optimal nutrition, NOT through a pill. There is no “magic” single food or dietary supplement that creates the perfect diet. The FUNdamentals with Food class I started at the cancer center serves to be educational about healthy diet practices by exposing our patients to the variety of healthy foods we talk about through cooking demonstration and lecture.  I always comment that healthy food doesn’t have to be boring or taste bad and its part of my job as nutrition professional and advocate to prove that to you.”


“Enjoy a diet that is 2/3 plant based and experience great health for yourself!”

For more information about the FUNdamentals of Food Class and other health and wellness classes run through the Mission Hope Cancer Center, please click here.

And check out Rhianna King’s Article The Red, White, and Blue of Summer Produce that shares the Nutrition Power of summer fruits and vegetables.