We had the good fortune of connecting with Stacy Michelson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Stacy, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I feel like you gotta risk it to get it, right? If you believe in something, it’s always worth it to just go for it, otherwise you’ll never know! I think putting myself, my art, my ideas, and humor out there can feel scary or make me nervous sometimes, but I tell myself to just do it, because awesome opportunities, jobs, and people are on the other side. Early in my illustration career, I gave myself jobs that were food focused and I posted them on Instagram. No one asked me to do these things, they weren’t paid jobs or anything; they were just things I was interested in and wanted to explore and thought–hey, maybe other people will like these too. If they were based on a podcast, article, or book, I would tag the people involved. I figured there were two ways it could go: on one hand, there was a chance they’d never see it, or they’d see it and wouldn’t like it, or they would just ignore it. On the other, they could see it and like it (or maybe even love it), maybe they’d repost it, or it could lead to a job or a connection. And guess what? Those risks turned into connections, jobs, friendships, and I got my foot in the door of the room I wanted to be in. If you play it safe you have zero chance of things happening, and I want things to happen!  

Alright, so let’s move on to what keeps you busy professionally?

I’m an illustrator and food journalist. I’m always looking for the story behind the food. I used to work in the restaurant industry so I’m lucky to know that side of it, plus I’m a big food nerd and I will gladly go on a deep dive about persimmons, for example, for days on end, reading and watching everything I can until I feel like I know all there is to know about them (which sometimes, depending on the subject, is impossible). I take lots of notes and sketch out ideas of how I can present the subject in a fun, unique way, then I shake it all up in my brain and hopefully something cool hits the page. Most topics could have a whole book written about them, but my job is to give you the highlights and make them easy to digest. I like to describe my work as part celebration, part education–you’re definitely gonna go away with some knowledge, but the goal is to get you excited. Maybe that means you share some cool fact you learned with a friend, repost the illustration on social media, buy a print, search out a new ingredient at the store, order something different next time you’re out to eat, or maybe you change your mind about something you thought was bad, like MSG.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

I live on the east side in a neighborhood called Atwater Village, so we’d have to start there… we’d hit up the Atwater farmers’ market on Sunday to get stuff to cook later in the week, then grab lunch at Hugo’s Tacos or Dune. If we go to Hugo’s, I highly recommend their torta or green tamales. And if we go to Dune, the initiation dish in my opinion is the green herb falafel sandwich. We can walk the food off at Forest Lawn–Glendale, a cemetery just down the street and my favorite place in L.A. And it’s not creepy at all, it’s actually a gorgeous place with views from Griffith Observatory to Dodger Stadium on one side and Glassell Park to Burbank on the other side. And we’d have to get dinner at my fave spot, Hail Mary. Great pizza and delicious seasonal vegetable sides with a bottle of wine. Dessert at Wanderlust across the street for their famous mango and sticky rice ice cream after is a must. On another day we would head downtown and do some shopping and snacking in Little Tokyo, then go to Chinatown and hit up the best store for anyone who likes to cook: Now Serving. They sell my food prints and have the best selection of magazines, cookbooks, and tools for the kitchen. If the owners’ daughter Frankie is there, then that’s a huge bonus, she’s my little friend. She is a super adorable kid; she’s famous in the L.A. food scene. And then we could walk down to Burgerlords and grab some veggie burgers, fries, and tahini shakes. We’d have to find a day to hit up Highland Park and catch a show at Bob Baker Marionette Theater, which is not just for kids. Grab coffee at Kumquat, blow a bunch of money on cute office supplies and stationery at Shorthand, and then drive down a few blocks to Galco’s Grocery to check out their incredible selection of old fashioned candy and soda from everywhere in the world, and grab some hard-to-find beers. Maybe we just stay in and cook that night if we need a break or we can go to Night+Market for dinner. One morning we’d have to take a hike in Griffith Park up to the Observatory and get coffee and pie after at The Trails. We could hit up India Sweets and Spices or Silom market on the way home because those are some of my favorite markets and there are so many good things you will wanna buy to take home. That night we can go to Pine and Crane in Silver Lake because that is ALWAYS a favorite place to take friends. The dan dan noodles, three cup mushroom, spicy peanuts, and appetizers from the cold deli case are probably gonna haunt them once they go home; they’re insanely good. And even though that seems like SO MUCH food, we’re gonna stop at Magpies Softserve on the way home because they have rotating flavors like black sesame, candy corn, and thai tea, plus they have regular and non-dairy options. Make sure you get the chocolate magic shell or honeycomb as a topping, trust me! I know this sounds like a lot of food, but anyone who is my friend from out of town is up for this kind of adventure!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Martha Stewart, but she’s already doing pretty good in her career. But I will always shout her out, cos she’s SUCH an inspiration. I love Martha.

Website: www.stacymichelson.com
Instagram: @stacymichelson
Other: https://www.etsy.com/shop/stacymichelson

Image Credits
Camellia Tse and Veronica Kablan

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