We learned about Tara Thomas through a restaurant project she was involved in last year in New York. Curious about her story, projects and lifestyle, we reached out to her this summer about doing an interview and shoot in New York — only to find she was living in Copenhagen! This just made us more curious about her time there and how, if at all, travel makes its way into her work as a chef.
So we sent Tara some interview questions and some coffee to enjoy (Beachwood and Raro Boda) and her boyfriend Morten provided photography. We hope you enjoy learning about Tara and try out her home maple syrup latte recipe she shares at the end!
Tara, could you tell us a little about yourself, your story, and what you're up to now?
I’m a chef and foodie creative based in Brooklyn, NY. I’m originally from Portland, Oregon and came to NYC in 2018.
I’m currently developing a few restaurant projects in NYC, manage communications at Caldera Magazine, Phoenix Fresh Food Box collective, and am a co-founder of Breaking Bread NYC. I’ve been researching and empowering myself with the knowledge of food issues since I became vegan in 2015. I truly identify with the movement of affluent folks being mindful of their food choices and making it accessible to marginalized communities. This has definitely become something I am actively working on a daily basis for the various communities I am involved in.
My dream is that everyone can have access to healthy food, liberate themselves from societal stress, and nourish themselves and their families on a generational level.
Do you have a morning ritual? Has it changed over time?
Rituals are so important, especially when you’re experiencing change -- for me they ground me into my identity. In the mornings, I clean my space and set up my day while drinking something warm.
How’s Copenhagen? What drew you there, and how did you wind up spending the time there that you have?
Copenhagen has been nice, my partner relocated here after spending the pandemic in Norway with his family. I’m here to be close with him and enjoy the space!
Describe your ideal day in Copenhagen.
Ideally, I like to have a long morning at home, being cozy. Then go out for a walk together to eat something exciting, dip into some nature, stay spontaneous -- that’s easy with people you love.
What do you love about traveling? Do you feel like it changes us? And does it impact or inspire your work?
What I love about traveling is being thrown off my instincts -- finding ground. Relocating for a little bit allows you to reconstruct yourself with new food, friends, and spaces. It inspires my work to bring the influences of my travels to the table in a way that feels inviting. I want others to feel inspired, just as I was at that particular travel destination.
You were going to school for engineering when you decided to make the leap into food. Was that a tough call to make? And what drew you to food?
I really couldn’t imagine myself at a desk making other people's visions come to life -- especially in that field. I spent a lot of time using cooking as therapy to get through those days, and it became apparent that I should utilize food as my medium to bring my own visions to life.
Can you tell us a little about the recipe you are making?
This is a maple latte, with filter coffee and maple-frothed oat milk -- the not-so-fancy way. Maple is my favorite sweetener for its robust, sappy flavor. The combination with coffee and milk is divine!!
All you need is some good coffee, water, non-dairy milk, and a tbsp of maple syrup. My partner likes to drink his coffee black with no milk, but for myself—the occasional coffee drinker—non-dairy milk is essential. Without a frother at his home, I found that shaking warm milk in my kinto thermos achieved the foamy goodness I was feening for. That tip is for all my folks that don’t want another kitchen appliance, don’t have access to a frother, etc.