If you want an expert on living well and sustainably in New York City, you can’t find a better advisor than author, chef, restaurateur, entrepreneur, television personality, advisor, journalist and mother, Renée Loux.
She’s been the trendsetter in the sustainable space for over twenty years. The author of several books, including the Gourmand Award-winning The Balanced Plate , Living Cuisine , The Whole Green Catalog , and Easy Green Living, she’s also the host of the TV show It’s Easy Being Green, and has appeared on the Food Network, HGTV and the Cooking Channel. She’s appeared as a green-expert and organic chef on Today Show, Good Morning America, Extra, Insider Edition, and Fox News. She founded one of America’s first raw food restaurants, the Raw Experience, in 1996 and has been developing curriculums and teaching at the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC since 1999. She was a founding partner of Mala Wailea Ocean Tavern in Maui, Hawaii, and founded the Food First Institute in collaboration with the University of Hawaii and the Maui Culinary Academy in 2013. Last year Modern Farmer recognized her as one of the 14 chefs revolutionizing the way we farm and eat.
In short, she’s one of the most knowledgeable and experienced women in the sustainable NYC scene, and I wanted her to share some of her knowledge with EcoCult readers. Read on to find out where she eat, drinks, and shops, and what her biggest sustainable living challenge is.
What’s your favorite NYC restaurant?
Do I have to pick one?? ABC Kitchen is one. Jean-George doing farm-to-table rings all my bells. Blue Hill at Stone Barns is not
technically in NYC so I will default to Blue Hill (near Washington Square Park) because Dan Barber is one of the most thoughtful, talented and visionary chefs on the planet. And, The Butchers Daughter is one of my favorite neighborhood haunts that rocks a tasty, casual, plant-based menu and the best pressed juices in the city in my humble opinion.
Your fave bar?
I’m more of a foodie than a bar-goer, but the Gramercy Tavern bar and the NoMad hotel bar are always great.
Describe your perfect Sunday.
Sleeping in, doing my breathing practice, cooking breakfast for my family, taking a pilgrimage to the farmers market, getting into nature with my little boy, getting a facial or massage, and cooking a Sunday dinner for friends and family.
What’s your favorite place to shop in the city?
I like different places for different things. If there were a Fred Segal in NYC it would be there.
Where do you do your grocery shopping in the city?
I’m a serial food shopper and I like different places for different things. I shop for food virtually every day and it’s one of my greatest pleasures and indulgences. Union Square Greenmarket, Whole Foods on the Bowery, Dean & Deluca, Foragers, Integral Yoga Natural Foods, and Westerly.
Do you vintage shop? Where do you go?
Yes, I love to. I’m genuinely happier to use something of quality that already exists than get something new. Ina is one of my go-to’s for a well-filtered and curated collection.
What’s your favorite non-toxic beauty product?
I’m an admitted product junkie with high standards for both clean ingredients and performance. My favorite brands for skin care include Spa Technologies, La Mer, Amala, Tata Harper, Gemstone Organics and an exquisite yet relatively unknown handmade brand called Oil of Angels . For cosmetics, I love La Bella Donna pretty much above all.
You have one day to get out of the city; where do you go?
Up to the Hudson Valley. Martha’s Vineyard if I have a few days.
How has living sustainably changed your life for the better?
It catalyzes me to think more macro, more comprehensively, and more about the interconnectedness of virtually all things.
What’s your biggest, unsustainable bad habit?
Packaging and flying on airplanes. While I try to minimize packaging and recycle every bit possible, it’s difficult to avoid completely and there’s a lot of packaging, like coated cardboard, that is not recyclable.
Do you ever lecture your friends on their non-green choices?
I’ve come to ask questions of friends about their choices. Lecturing is pretty futile.
What do you find most challenging about living sustainably?
Living in the modern day where virtually every consumable good has a measurable impact on the planet, humans, water, and resources.