We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicole Campoy Jackson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nicole, what do you think makes you most happy? Why?
Discovering ingredients, delicious foods, ways to make a drink, crazy pairings that somehow work, talking about food…And the most important bit: sharing those with others. That’s what makes me happiest. Finding some under-the-radar market that’s great, sending someone else there and hearing they also think it’s great? Total joy. The shared happiness of finding, making, and eating really, really delicious food is at the center of it all for me. A part of that has been un-intimidating food, as well. I love when I can encourage someone to try a new food or flavor for the first time and watch as they discover (and maybe love!) it or at least find it less “scary” than they had. What a treat.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I jumped into writing because job opportunities were at a historic low when I graduated from college (in 2007). And I found that I really loved it. I started writing about the arts, then restaurants and culture in Los Angeles, then became an editor, and so on. In my experience, the easier times have been when I put little to no pressure on myself. Those early days when I was batting around ideas and trying to get noticed had their trials, believe me, but also felt exciting and like anything was possible. Writing and cooking are my mediums and when they start to feel taxing, rather than thrilling, I know it’s time for a pause, a deep breath. Now I get that pioneering feeling from the chance to add more of my own personality to my writing and the content I create in general.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is the best question for me at any time, but particularly after 10+ months of not seeing my best friend because she lives in another city. Let’s say she lands Friday evening, so we’d go to dinner somewhere really good, fun, and where we can be loud and laugh: Fia, The Brentwood, Birdie G’s, or Gjusta. The next morning, we’d grab croissants and coffee at Clark Street in Brentwood and go for a walk on the beach. Tacos from Tacos 1986 for lunch. And then dinner would be sushi, but not just any sushi…. maybe downtown Sushi Gen or Shibumi or if we’re really going for it, n/naka. A nightcap, for sure, at Mignon. Sunday, a late start, a trip to the Malibu Farmers Market and lobster rolls from Broad St Oyster Company. (And then maybe a green juice on the way home before she heads to the airport.) Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There’s a very long list of people without whom I wouldn’t be where I’m at today. First, I have some friends that I’ve come up with in the food world. We all worked together at a pretty toxic company but out of the ashes came our friendship and support of each others’ careers: Yasmin Fahr, Ali Rosen, Maryse Chevriere, Molly Ahuja, to name a few. Likewise, the friendship and support of other colleagues and friends from other outlets: Arabella Bowen, Julia Clancy, Paul Underwood, Karen Day. I’d dedicate this to all of them, to my closest friends (they know who they are), and to writers who write things that make me love writing: MFK Fisher, David Sedaris, Ruth Reichl, this list is damn near endless.