Meet the Friends of TMDG -- Venus Lau

By kowshi

As a trainer food is a very important aspect of my profession. But it goes even deeper. My parents owned a restaurant for over 20 years back in good ole Texas. Yes, I'm a rare Asian from West Texas. And my parents ran a rare Chinese restaurant that went from being able to seat 30 people to a few years and remodels later to seating over 400. As a good friend from childhood put it... "I can't describe it but it was not only a Chinese restaurant but the best restaurant in town, known for the best Chinese food, steaks, desserts, cocktails, ugh, it's hard to explain."

My parents had said the reason why they got into the business was they were immigrants and didn't have many choices so they did what they knew. But in my mind after watching my parents day in and day out try new recipes over and over again at home, even throwing away perfectly good food that they labeled as not “perfectly cooked”, I knew they just LOVED cooking and entertaining people! It was not uncommon for my mother to cook the best Asian food, American food/French food/Italian food/pastries etc, that I'd ever had. And I'm telling this from my experience of eating at Michelin star restaurants. At age 7, I enjoyed foie gras and raw oysters because my parents did not give me an option to not try new things (unlike many of the kids these days). And I was not shocked when watching my mother cook live octopus and other random things in the kitchen.

Luckily I can say I've always had a healthy relationship with food. Because I had everything available to me. I've never seen food as an escape because my parents never told me I couldn't have certain foods. So I rarely crave crap foods... as long as we are erasing my college-partying days.

Nowadays, I try to be more conscientious of the nutritious value of foods I choose. Current keywords are grass-fed, organic, pasture-raised, sustainable, wild. It's not to be trendy but I'm a big believer of what Thomas Edison said: "The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease." Because unfortunately I watched my parents pass away from cancer and also watched the not so fun results of chemo and radiation. Even my own health has fluctuated with the foods I put in my body and the older I get, the more I am aware of what "feels" good with the cells in my body and what doesn't. And I don't believe it's one size fits all. We all vary in our genetic makeup, environment, stress levels, active/non-active lifestyle, goals, so we all require different nutrition. And I don't believe in the food pyramid we were taught is good for us, nor the counting calories diets... But my rant on nutrition and food quality for a different article.

Childhood memory with food...

My mother cooking at 4am almost every morning. Sometimes it was typical breakfast. Sometimes perfecting a recipe for French pastries, making dough, making homemade ice cream, pizza, the newest dish for the restaurant, or even her knife cutting skills. She could throw that giant butcher knife over her head and slam it through a chicken without looking at it and it would land in the same spot every single time! All while also watching golf on television, we were also a very golf-obsessed family.

Favorite dish my mother made...

It's quite simple, her boiled chicken with sauce on the side. The sauce was a sautee of oil, garlic, ginger, green onion, soy sauce, and white pepper. That with watercress and pork soup. Mmmm, home. The only sweet thing I really craved was her flourless chocolate cake which she sifted melting dark chocolate with fresh coffee grounds (Kona, Amaretto, and Hazelnut).

Favorite dish my father made...

My mom was the queen of the kitchen but my dad could sweeten up any fish. Black bean sauteed fish with tomatoes... any fish.

Favorite restaurant in your city and/or in the world?

I don't have one favorite. Just depends on what my mood wants. But to just name a few in mostly Los Angeles...

For Health: True Foods or Sauce on Hampton. The serve yummy organic, locally grown veggies and grass-fed meats.

Sushi: I love SugarFish, it's just classic, no fancy rolls but the cuts are to perfection and the rice is the perfect consistency and temperature.

Seafood: Blue Plate Oysterette, I just love the ambiance and the oysters with a nice Sauv Blanc.

Dare I say Pizza... Stella Barra, perfect crust, great ambiance and drinks.

Beach side: Venice Ale House, great people watching and great grass-fed burger!

Vegas: Eiffel Tower, a Michelin star restaurant and the fact that you start with a blue cheese butter spoon for your bread... say what?!

Cheap Chinese food: Hop Li on Santa Monica Blvd (in West L.A.), tasty food, terrible service that grows on you.

Salad: Greens Up! Yes with an exclamation point! Organic and they make their own dressings.

Cold-Pressed Juice: Rejuice and Clover Juice. Love my green juice! My body refuels and keeps my immune system up to par!

Shabu Shabu: Mizu 212 on Sawtelle... Organic and Grass-fed qualities and the cook that knows me best, myself. ;)

Favorite thing to cook at home?

My "go to" is a bolognese I make with grass-fed beef, red wine, rosemary, onions, garlic, curry spices, cayenne, Himalayan sea salt, and store bought Marinara (cause I'm too damn lazy to also make sauce). Usually over spinach or rice or angel hair... depending on how clean I want to eat. Bikini season also makes an impact on that decision.

What is you favorite thing to eat on a Saturday morning?

Every morning I try to enjoy pasture-raised eggs flash-cooked with grass-fed butter... cooked juuuuuust enough and served in a bucket glass. And I drink a half bottle of cold-pressed green juice and a spoonful of almond butter. Totally not normal, I know, but it's what makes me feel good and I love the taste! But when I go out for brunch with friends I can't resist a good eggs benedict and extra spicy bloody mary.

Favorite food related scene from a movie or TV show?

The entire movie of Julie and Julia… just classic! And in the movie Honey I Shrunk The Kids, where they are eating the giant cookie, I want to cannonball into that cookie! Also gotta say I'm always cracked up how people in movies/TV eat the smallest bites.

What is the one food item you cannot live without?

Pasture raised eggs... they're the perfect food. Does whiskey count?

Anything else you want to add?

I kinda wish we lived in a hunter gatherer world cause crops are being over used and livestock are mistreated and not fed properly. There is way too much abundance and it's getting harder and harder to find good quality food. Fortunately I live in one of the most health-conscious cities but that's not the case for many people. If more people refused to buy the easy to come by foods, the big chains would be forced to create higher quality for the populations. And I wish the FDA would have higher standards for food quality as well. We are what we eat.

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Venus Lau is a personal trainer, golf fitness coach and a writer/actress in Los Angeles.

Her fitness website: www.VenusFit.com or www.facebook.com/Venusfit.

Her comedy troupe website is www.SoBad-ItsGood.com.

To check it out on YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/SoBadItsGoodComedy

         

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