Today's Women In Food Interview is with the founder of a restraunt I would be totally okay with eating at every day. I first went to Hälsa in Brookland area of DC with a fantastic group of women who work in the food world. Emily was amazing and shut down the whole restaurant so we could take the run of the place and she could share her story with us. Hälsa  works from a formula for each dish that I totally do at home. You start with a protein, you pick two amazing sides and you put it over a bed of glorious greens. There are tons of combinations! As for the interior? Hello. Please let me just enjoy the white washed wood peacefulness on every wall.  I really hope those of you in DC make the trek to Hälsa to see what I mean. 

Emily Gaines : Hälsa : @EatHalsaDC

Women In Food: 10 Questions With Emily Gaines of Hälsa
  1. Tell us about yourself and your business.

I am an entrepreneur with a strong interest in food, sustainability and health.   Hälsa is a business I started to address the need for healthy and sustainable food and to make those options more accessible to anyone and everyone who wants to eat consciously and live a healthier life.  

2. If you could define your food philosophy in one sentence it would be…


3. What are your 3 must have foods in your kitchen? 

Olive oil, sea salt, fresh produce

4. It’s your birthday. What are you eating?

I'm not a big birthday person, so I would probably be eating something to any other day of the week. Without fail, the day would start with a green juice. I'd have two eggs sunny side up, with a small portion of sweet potato hash, sausage, and seasonal greens. Depending on the week, there might also be a few mimosas made with lacto-fermented orange juice. Lunch would be a large salad composed of fresh greens, lots of herbs, avocado, seasonal vegetables, and topped with a piece wild salmon (medium rare). Dinner would be something special, probably a tasting menu from a restaurant I've never been to before.  The day would end with some type of raw birthday cake or dessert.

5. Signature cocktail?

My signature cocktail is the Golden Chai. This is a cocktail I developed with our head chef. It's take on chai tea but made with Kombucha, almond milk, and tumeric. We use a house made, heavily fermented ginger Kombucha that gives an alcohol level of about 6%.

6. Food you can’t like no matter how hard you try?

I haven't come across it yet.

7. What are your go-to resources for all things food?

For inspiration, it's travel, ethnic restaurants, and instagram. When it comes to cooking and recipe development I turn to the flavor bible, and for purchasing ingredients I always head to the farmers market with MOMs organic market as my back up. 

8. Food fad you wish would die a horrible death?

Ramen burgers

9. Must have kitchen tool:  

Music (to keep the creative juices flowing)

10. What’s the one thing you learned this year that changed the way you think about food?

Throughout the process of opening Hälsa, I have become much more  cognizant of all that it takes from planning to presentation and team work to make a delicious and beautiful plate of food, regardless of how simple it may appear.  It has led me to think about food with much more gratitude.

Dietitian Nutritionist. My husband Chris and I create food and beverage photos, videos, stopmotions and recipes. And they're really cool.