Meet, Ashley Cuoco, a trained interior designer who has a passion for hospitality. She loves to cook food that tributes back to her Italian origin. Her last name ‘Cuoco’ literally translates to cook or chef in Italian! She is also an author at One Green Planet where she shares her amazing recipes. Keep reading to find out more.
What did you do in college?
I studied Interior Design at the New York Institute of Technology. The entire experience was wonderfully enjoyable—from the conceptual creativity to late nights and healthy competition among my peers. Unfortunately, my real-life experience in the design field was not quite as exciting as school was! My deep love for cooking only revealed itself after I graduated and married my husband, Josh, in 2014. This new passion completely won over my heart—I left the design field in 2018. Now, I like to think of myself as designer of food. My path through the architecture realm taught me countless invaluable lessons and tools that I use in my food photography business today.
What are the things that matter to you the most?
My family, heritage and service to God are most important to me. My ultimate goal is to encourage a practice of hospitality through my work. Hospitality can look like many things, but serving others is at its core. I grew up watching my mother invite family, friends and strangers alike into our home for holiday meals. She is the first to rise and the last to sit (if, that is, she ever does). She instilled a love for serving in me that inspires everything I do.
I take pride in my Italian heritage! I am only about 50% Italian but married into the name Cuoco (Italian for “cook”—and yes, it’s purely a coincidence!) Making pasta by hand is one of the most special practices for me.
What does a typical day in your week look like?
Honestly, I never live the same day twice and I am grateful for it. But I do crave routine. On a typical day, I like start with a 20-minute jog followed by a good breakfast. Some days, I am doing the creative, fun part of my job: cooking, styling and photographing client work or content for my blog. Time in and around that is rather computer heavy: writing, editing photographs, researching my approach to a particular subject, corresponding with clients, sending proposals or drafting contracts.
Are there key people or books that have molded you?
The first chef I ever admired was Curtis Stone at age 13. Maybe it was the Australian/British accent or striking good looks? Whatever the reason, he was the first to get me excited about cooking—although it would be years before it was realized. Today, I most look up to my grandma for passing on her apple pie making genes to me. I treasure her recipe and will happily keep it alive through the generations.
Tell us something we don’t know about the creator’s work?
Often times, there is a misconception about what it means to be a food blogger or influencer. I’m sure you can spot an ingenuine ad. Keeping true to my values is key. The term “influencer” can be off-putting—but the reality is that we all have influence, no matter if you have 1 follower or 1,000. It’s important to gain the confidence to say “no” when a brand is not a good fit. I have turned down partnerships because they had absolutely nothing to do with who I am (one example: vegan meat—I love meat…and dairy)! As they say, if you stand for everything you stand for nothing. If you are speaking to everyone you are speaking to no one.
What is your favorite recipe from your blog?
Three-Cheese Ravioli, hands down. The filling of ricotta, mascarpone (extra creaminess!) and Parmigiano-Reggiano was inspired by a pasta recipe I watched Dom Tesoriero make on an episode of Food Network Star. I also love these Sweet Corn Agnolotti, which uses the same formula.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
It’s challenging to say. I don’t have huge dreams or aspirations. That’s not to say I want to limit myself, but I am content with a quiet life. My biggest hope is to serve home-cooked meals to those who would otherwise never experience them. I believe my mom and I will collaborate on a book—one that is not strictly a cookbook but also more of a family memoir. Writing is another love of mine. I love to pick apart food memories and describe them with surrounding details, relying on all the senses. Memories around food are some of the most powerful.
We hope you enjoyed it and we thank Ashley Cuoco for this interesting interview.
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