L’e Tastemaker: Workday Meal Prep with T: The New York Times Style Magazine’s Angela Koh
By day, you’ll find Angela Koh scouring the market for the best fashion and accessories, compiling her findings to be used for photo shoots, liaising with PR teams, and pitching story ideas. By night, she’s likely rubbing shoulders with some of the fashion industry’s finest (at events and appointments), dining with friends at some of Manhattan and Brooklyn’s coolest hot spots, and/or belting out karaoke tunes with her posse. But of course there’s also more than just work and play for this T: The New York Times Style Magazine Fashion Market Editor. She is also innately domestic – a side of her that isn’t as apparent as her die-hard work ethic and edgy personal style. Having grown up with the influence of the women in her family – namely, her mother, whom she lived with, and grandmother, who lived in Korea (and shared recipes with them) – Angela acquired some of their eminent skills. For starters, she knows her way around the kitchen. She watched her mother, who she calls an “amazing cook”, whip up delicious Korean meals, since she was just a toddler. It’s clear that although she is 3,000 miles from home (raised in Portland, now residing in Brooklyn), Angela keeps her heritage and upbringing close to her heart – especially at meal time.
As friends of Angela’s, we discovered that she had taken to preparing and packing lunch to bring to work everyday, over casual conversation – can you say #goals? This has been on our lists for “ways to better self” for years – and though we have successfully achieved this for a week at a time, here and there, we have never been able to stick with it. So, we enlisted our friend and T: The New York Times editor, Angela, for tips and tricks on how to finally master the work lunch conundrum. We visited her at her home away from home, The New York Times building – and even got an insider look at what she would be eating that day.
After a brief tour of the NY Times digs, we sat down with Angela for all the scoop on her lunching. She started by explaining that she wasn’t always as tactful with her meal prep. “When I moved into my own apartment, I started to cook more”, she said. Having more personal space (without a roommate) and alone time encouraged her to utilize her time differently than she had before. “I was also trying to save money, and to be a little more healthy”, she continued. This goes for meals she preps to be eaten at home, as well as the those she packs for the office. “I don’t exactly have time to enjoy a meal when I am at work. A lot of times I am eating while I am sending sample requests or organizing market appointment photos”. She proceeded to explain, that more often than not, she would spend ten dollars on a salad for lunch, “that wasn’t even that good . . . I was eating it just so that I wasn’t hungry”. It was after intaking many less-than-delicious meals, that Angela decided to bring her lunch to work.
“So what do you bring?”, was of course our next question. “It depends”, she said, explaining that whatever it is, it usually has a Korean influence. “When we (herself and her siblings) were young, we would sometimes just want an American dish for dinner – but even if my mom was making burgers, she gave them a Korean twist – which made them even more delicious”. She’s taken that rule of thumb with her – seeking out Korean spices and produce at specialty markets in Brooklyn, and sometimes (in a pinch), Whole Foods. On the day we visited Angela at her office, she had prepared a Roasted Veggie Quinoa Bowl – making it her own by adding and subtracting ingredients and seasoning the roasted sweet potatoes with Korean pepper flakes. “I like to get recipe ideas online, usually from Bon Appétit, and improvise from there”. She looks for dishes that are not too labor intensive, but that hit all of her key food groups – veggies, tofu, and wholesome grains are lunch go-tos for Angela.
The key to not getting lazy about it . . . “It’s always about having the right ingredients in your fridge”. She explained that making time to go to the store and stock up on essentials when she has time is the key to her packed lunch success. If the ingredients weren’t already in the house at the time she was ready to cook, she would be much less likely to prep meals. So, there really is a science to sticking to it – “it requires a lot of thinking ahead”, she said, adding that “once you get the routine down, it’s easy”. “I buy in bulk and prepare food in batches – enough to take for lunch for about 3 days, then I make something new”.
We followed Angela’s meal-prep journey for the length of four different recipes. Check out her photos and recipe inspirations below.