We had the good fortune of connecting with Orly Elyashar and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Orly, as a parent, what have you done for you children that you feel has had the most significant impact?
The moment you become a parent, everything you thought you knew, had prepared for, and read gets tossed out the window. You are presented with little human very much like a blank canvas. This will have to be you’re greatest masterpiece regardless of any prior experience. I’m a mom of 3 incredible kids. Kylie, a 17 year old with a head so securely in place you’d guess she attended Anthony Robbins’s school of life. Kian, my 15 year old charmer who I’m sure will one day make a great impact on the world with his wit and smile. Finally, my little Hailey. An 8 year old who wishes to care for, “scary animals” as a vet because she believes they need love and care too. They are exactly what I’d hope for so far. How did they get here? Truth. Ever since each of them was little, I never sugarcoated anything. I spoke to them as adults and never underestimated their understanding of the real world. I didn’t protect them from the harsh aspects of life and pointed out the beauty of perseverance and strength. I encouraged them to have a positive outlook and know that when the sun sets, the sun will rise again. I truly believe the most important thing I’ve done as a parent as far as the impact I’ve had on my children is simply equipping them with the knowledge of knowing they can handle the rollercoaster. During the pandemic, I realized they had mastered this when their peers struggled with the changes in normalcy. They simply accepted this was a fork in the road. They accepted their new lives filled with bad Zoom connections, me chasing them with sanitizer, and the distance from their friends. They know this is a down and an up is very near because that’s just how life goes. Being a parent is a blessing. It’s difficult and rewarding. It’s exhausting and exhilarating. It’s a gift I am so very grateful for but I am most proud because these three individuals under my care are simply good humans. I truly hope the impact I have made on them as a parent stays with them and they too can pass the gift of truth to their own children and generations to come.
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 began an Instagram account called My Ghost Host shortly after I was helping friends set up and cook before their guests arrived. I’d prepare gorgeous dishes, set their tables, and leave. Hence, Ghost Host! I began doing this as my full time job and was teaching the hosts my recipes along the way. I’m a visual learner and began posting recipes in stories breaking down recipes into simple steps for other visual learners to follow. I began posting difficult Persian food recipes and simplified it into basic instructions with photos. I received hundreds of messages a day expressing how people were now cooking things they’d never imagine they could. I gave beginners as well as seasoned cooks the tools to take on exotic and traditional Persian dishes. I grew my account organically and have connected with people from all over the world. With the pandemic especially, most people turned to their kitchens. This was truly a blessing for me because I was able to share the action in my kitchen with others. It truly goes to show that when you do things wholeheartedly and genuinely, it becomes a success because it’s authentic. My goal was never to become anything other than what I was but the cooking was so well received that it took a life of its own. I’m truly grateful to share my love and passion with others. Truly nothing more gratifying.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If a friend was visiting LA, the first stop would be dinner at my house! There’s nothing I love more than cooking for family and friends. The next day, we’d do an early sunset dinner at Elephante in Santa Monica. We’d order my favorite eggplant dip with their fresh homemade naan and their incredible truffle pasta. Now, I’m Iranian so the trip wouldn’t be complete without Persian food. For that, we’d drive to Glendale and eat a massive meal at Raffi’s Place where they have the greatest Persian food. Next Day, we’d head out to the Palisades village for a stroll, shopping, and a little sushi at Blue Ribbon. We would do a nice walk along the Palisades bluffs where the ocean views are unparalleled. The next day, hamburgers! We’d drive to Heavy Handed and order a few short rib burgers. Also, no LA trip is complete without an eye opening trip to the Hollywood strip. We would definitely have to work all the food off and a hike at Runyon Canyon would be just the right idea. Our visiting friends would definitely see how beautiful LA really is from those high altitudes. Finally, back to my house for a final dinner of traditional Persian food filled with aromatic stews and fluffy saffron rice with our infamous crispy rice, tahdig. I’m fairly certain after this trip, our friends are moving here!Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My story wouldn’t be complete without recognizing the unconditional love and constant encouragement of my husband, Ben. I’ve been married for 20 years. Met him at the Hotel W in Westwood when I was 22 years old and he shook my hand as we met and said, “Nice to meet you! You know this is IT right?” We’ve been inseparable since and everyday he pushes me to be a better me with his love and guidance. He is truly the one person I can say has held my hand throughout my culinary and real life journey.