What is A Good Carrot?
A Good Carrot blog is a collection of recipes designed to inspire the creation of home-cooked food made with high-quality ingredients. We celebrate the community and culture created by sharing food with others through cooking classes and events, .
About the Founder
Diagnosed with a kidney disease at age 15, Aliye Aydin taught herself to cook. Now, 25 years later, living free of kidney disease, she believes deeply in the ability of food to heal the body. She created A Good Carrot to share her 20+ years of experience in the natural foods industry. Aliye is also passionate about the connection of food from farm to fork, and the role that food plays in our culture and sense of identity. She studied nutrition at U.C. Berkeley, lived on organic farms around the country, attended the whole-foods-based culinary school NGI, worked in various catering and restaurant kitchens, and owned a home delivery produce business for 8 years.
Let’s Get Personal
My name is Aliye Aydin, and I help busy people reconnect with their health by teaching them how to cook, using simple techniques and recipes. I believe food needs to taste good and make us feel good, and that cooking and eating at home is the best thing we can do for our health.
I cook because it connects me to my culture and identity. Growing up with a Turkish father and American mother, with hamburgers for dinner one night and lentil soup the next, I became aware of the role food plays in creating and connecting to our sense of self. I have witnessed many times the community and camaraderie created at the table, sharing food, regardless of our beliefs. As humans, we come together to eat.
I cook for my health and the health of my family and friends. Being diagnosed with an autoimmune kidney condition at age 15 awakened my passion for healthy cooking and eating. Healthy eating for me is not only about putting proper nutrients into your body. It’s holistic and includes the ritual of eating itself: sharing meals with others, and indulging what one “shouldn’t” eat sometimes, and enjoying it, guilt-free!
Joy is both an ingredient and outcome of my cooking! I love the tactile, straightforward experience of cooking; working with my senses to nourish myself and loved ones. Cooking and eating for me is a direct connection to the earth. The alchemy from soil to cooking to food to meal is what has kept me interested in cuisine and culture for so long.
I am bound on most weeknights by “What’s For Dinner?” because inquiring family members want to know! As much as I like to wax philosophically about what my ancestors ate, I also put a meal on the table almost every night. I strive to create recipes that are easily accessible to all who want to learn how to cook, or just add more recipes to their repertoire.
Finding My Path
After realizing my love of cooking, I devoured cookbooks and food TV. I took a chef training course in high school at age 16, and spent Saturday mornings my sophomore year chopping 40-pound bags of celery and onions in the kitchen at the local mega-hotel. Later, torn between a four-year university degree and culinary school I chose the former. At U.C. Berkeley I crafted an interdisciplinary major that allowed me to study human nutrition and organic farming, as well as anthropology, and what motivated people to put in their mouths what they did. Living in the vegetarian housing co-op in school turned out to be my hands-on case study for this. After university, I worked for CCOF, an organic certification agency, in one of my only office jobs ever! After this I wanted more hands-on experience, so I worked for a non-profit, Long Beach Organic, that started community and school gardens.
My Love of Travel
I crave new experiences (if I’m honest I don’t love leftovers). After traveling to Cuba, and living and working for a season harvesting and processing coffee on a coffee farm in Kona, Hawaii, I decided the desire to attend culinary school was not completely out of my system. I decided to enroll at the The Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC, a culinary school focused on whole foods cooking, nutrition, and health. After graduating, I moved to Seattle to meet my newly born niece, and continue my culinary education via working in restaurants and catering, attending farm school, teaching cooking classes, and writing recipes.
The sun called me back to Southern California after 2½ years, where I created, owned, and managed a produce home delivery business called beachgreens, for eight years in Long Beach. During that time I met many wonderful farmers who introduced me to the incredible bounty of vegetables and fruits that California has to offer, more than I was ever aware of growing up in Long Beach.
I am thrilled to be building a community around food, health, family, friends, and above all, joy.
Please contact me at aliye[at]agoodcarrot[dot]com with any questions. Please ask permission via email before using any photos and recipes found on this site.