~ an interview with Robyn Webb by Lee Romano Sequeira.
I love to find out what makes people tick, especially about how their given vocation “found them” or vice versa, so I hope you enjoy my conversation with Robyn Webb, nutritionist, teacher, author & chef! ~ Lee
So nice to let your readers and friends learn more about you, so here goes question number one: You’re known in the media as Robyn Webb — do you have a middle name, and what was your maiden name?
Robyn Amy Webb, Maiden name is Berman.
Where did you grow up, and how long have you been in beautiful Alexandria, VA?
I grew up in upstate NY in a town called Monticello which is part of the Catskill Mountains. It’s only about 1 1/2 hr drive from NYC. I’ve been in the DC area since 1987, and in Old Town Alexandria since 1991.
Do you have a daily “uniform”?
Depends: if I am teaching a cooking class it’s a def uniform! Jeans, Fitted T Shirt, Flat shoes, hair up in a ponytail. For meeting clients for counseling I dress up either in pants and jacket or dress. I actually love the French style of dressing (chic, looking effortless) and a lot of my clothes are from Paris.
Did you have an “A HA” moment when you knew nutrition, cooking and teaching were for you?
I grew up in the hotel business. My father was the Social Director and my mother was the owners private executive secretary at the very famous Concord Hotel Resort. So I was around really good food practically from birth. If you have ever seen the movie Dirty Dancing (who hasn’t!), that movie was an extremely accurate depiction of how I grew up. Yes, we had the dance people( not quite as good looking as Patrick Swayze though!) and we served way too much food to all the guests.
My father passed away from a massive heart attack at age 38 (he was quite heavy) when I was 6 (my sister was 7) and even at that very young age, it implanted a mark in my being that nutrition is very important. I started cooking around age 12 and I mean really cooking, not just making cookies. From the on I prepared all the family meals; my Mom had to return to work and so I was glad to help her out. My sister made the salads (she continues to beat me in that area to this day)!
And the I always had a knack for imparting information to others in a way that they would learn. I just enjoy the process of teaching and breaking down steps into doable parts. Maybe it’s the “little boss” in me that comes out; I love telling others what to do (ha!).
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you do?
I’d probably be an actress; in fact I went to theatre camps and always was in plays. My father was more than just the Social Director, he actually was a comedian and actor.
He appeared on Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas and many other shows. All his friends were comedians and actors; his best friend was comedian Rodney Dangerfield who actually lived in our house for some time. At my first birthday party, dancer and actor Gregory Hines performed. Yes, this was my what it was like in young years; but ultimately I am not the best at continuous rejection, so acting was ruled out.
I love that! So interesting, and something I never knew about you! Ok, next question: What’s one thing people don’t understand about your job?
I am not sure it’s a matter of misunderstanding, but I think people don’t realize that not just anyone can write a cookbook, teach a class, counsel a client. With the “celebratization” of the food world, everyone thinks they are an expert. That’s why the world of nutrition and food can get so confusing often to the detriment of people’s health.
Any occupational hazards?
My feet hurt a lot! You never saw a person stretch her calves so much in your life!
Robyn, if you inviting friends over for dinner, what would your specialty be?
I love preparing mostly Mediterranean foods; big salads with homemade dressings, grilled fishes, lots of veggies, and a sweet treat usually something chocolate based for dessert.
Ok, I am getting hungry. Let’s find out what all-time favorite restaurants are.
I’ve traveled all over the world, been to close to 70 countries and have been on every continent except Antarctica. So I’ve taken advantage along with my wonderful husband, the many top restaurants all over the world. But truth be told, I can enjoy Michelin starred and heavily lauded places as much as a undiscovered hole in the wall. So by contrast; one of my favorite restaurants was Louis XV restaurant in Monte Carlo; it was pure magic, almost theatre. But then in Haifa, Israel, I went to a complete hole in the wall falafel place called Michaelis and I speak of both experiences with the same enthusiasm and same elaborate hand gestures!
– and your favorite vacation spot?
Do tell – your ‘secret’ talent?
I can get my eyeliner on in one fell swoop!
Nice to have in a rush! What are you looking forward to this summer?
Seeing my grandson of course! And we are going to visit the last 3 states we have not been to; N Dakota, Idaho and Montana. I’m not much of a nature gal, but this was one of hubbies wishes and hey you got to compromise.
If your hubby could describe you in one word it would be
If you had to describe you in one word it would be:
Any food trends you wish would dry up and blow away?
Cupcakes, please let them shrivel up and die
What new food trends are you enjoying?
I just hope the continued interest in supporting local farmers never ever goes away
Favorite foodie movie?
It’s a new one for me-Chef starring Jon Favreau, John Leguizamo and Sophia Vergara. I just saw it; it’s a must see!
I cannot wait to see that movie! Your favorite kitchen tool is?
It has to be tongs. So good for more than just transferring food. It’s my hubs favorite tool too (ooops, that’s a little more information than you need!)
Thank you Robyn – this was fabulous, just like your blog!