Superstar paleo chef. Dog lover. Cookbook master. Meet Simone Miller of ZenBelly – a San Francisco-based food blog that will leave your mouth watering. You might have noticed some of her amazing recipes popping up on our blog, like the Blackberry Mint Arnold-Palmer. We sat down with Simone to discuss food, cookbooks, and tea. Check it out.


1. How did you get into the world of food?

Kind of by accident! I never saw myself being a chef, even though I loved being in the kitchen with family. In college, I got my first job in a little cafe. Over the years, I continued going to school for things other than cooking but kept going back to food. I honestly resisted it as an actual career until moving to the Bay Area almost 10 years ago; that’s when I was finally able to choose my own adventure with food as a business.


2. What is your favorite guilty pleasure when it comes to food?

A big bowl of popcorn, popped in a pot with ghee with lots of salt. And a glass of wine. It’s one of the few things I refuse to make myself because my husband makes it best! (and no, popcorn is not Paleo)


3. What inspired you to go Paleo?

I went to the nutrition program at Bauman College, which did a great job educating students about all of the types of diets, and the pros and cons of each of them. I was already gluten-free and eliminating grains altogether was interesting to me, mostly because it went against everything we’ve ever been taught! I read The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf and it was kind of a lightbulb moment. I quickly found that getting carbs from veggies instead of grains was way better for my blood sugar- I didn’t get hangry anymore and people don’t fear for their lives if I haven’t eaten in 2 hours. Of course, my #1 love is food, so I’m mostly Paleo, not strict. I’m all about each person finding what works for them.


4. What is the process of writing a cookbook like?

It’s a walk in the park right? 😉 Haha yes it’s exactly like that. A park with dog poop everywhere. Seriously though, being able to write cookbooks is really a dream come true, and I have to pinch myself sometimes. It has moments of being somewhat high-stress, but for the most part, it’s my favorite part of my job.


5. What is your favorite restaurant in San Francisco?

Oh man I can only pick one? That’s a tough one, I don’t think I can do it. Everything I’ve eaten at Rich Table has been incredible. State Bird is just so fun and their food is so inspiring. Spruce is a favorite special occasion date spot. There are still so many I need to try!


6. What is your favorite meal to eat on the go?

I honestly don’t eat much on the go… I usually have a bar of some sort in my purse in case I get hungry while running errands, Nana Joe’s granola bars are my favorite.


7. Who has been one of your biggest inspirations?

Well if I could come back as anyone in my next life, it would be Anthony Bourdain. He’s my spirit animal.


8. If you had to pick on type of tea to describe your personality, what flavor would it be?

Definitely Earl Grey. Because it’s elegant and complex. Hah!


To learn more about Simone, follow her on Instagram at @zenbelly or check out her cookbook here.

Simon Cheng
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