The Fresh Face of Healthy Living

Image THE MOST INFLUENTIAL TURKISH-AMERICAN WOMEN #1 - By Cemil Ozyurt - Daphne Oz is a natural foods chef, New York Times Bestselling author, and co-host of ABC’s hit lifestyle series “The Chew,” seated alongside restaurateurs and “Iron Chef America” stars Mario Batali and Michael Symon, “Top Chef” alum Carla Hall and style expert Clinton Kelly. In 2006, she wrote her national bestseller, The Dorm Room Diet, sharing the healthy lifestyle plan she developed in college that helped her permanently shed over 30 pounds without ever giving up the foods she loves. In April 2013, Oz released her New York Times bestseller, Relish: An Adventure in Food, Style, and Everyday Fun, a cookbook.

The daughter of Dr. Mehmet and Lisa Oz, Daphne Oz is a 2008 graduate of Princeton University, a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and received her culinary degree from The Natural Gourmet Institute. In 2003, Oz helped found HealthCorps, a non-profit organization that provides nutrition, exercise and stress management education to teenagers in more than 50 schools nationwide.

She and her husband, John, live in NYC. They welcomed a daughter, Philomena Bijou, in February 2014! During a taping of ABC's The Chew on April 2015, Oz surprised the show's live studio audience by announcing that she was pregnant with her second child. Daphne Oz answered to TURKOFAMERICA’s questions.

What does your Turkish heritage mean to you?
Being from Turkey represents being from a place that prides itself on incredible traditions and incredible progress and potential. My favorite thing to do - besides eating all the delicious food! - when we visit my grandparents in Istanbul every summer is to drive along the Bosporus and see all the examples of old world architecture and commerce (the Grand Bazaar, the fortress) right next to all the examples of bright new industry and modernity. It's such a beautiful example of how Turkey has held on to its vibrant history, and yet continues to modernize and create prosperity. I love feeling like that ambition and that wisdom is part of my heritage.

When were you last in Turkey? What is your favorite place in Istanbul?
I sadly couldn't travel to Turkey last summer because I had a newborn, so I missed my family trip. But I was there the summer of 2013. My favorite place to be is at my grandparents' home in Istanbul, eating a Turkish breakfast on the Bosporus. There's always a pile of freshly fried sigara borek that goes fast! And the perfect fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese, baked eggs, and simit. And of course Turkish tea. It is my favorite way to start the day! I brought a bunch of college friends to visit Istanbul and do a mavi yolculuk several years ago, and they loved staying at the Four Seasons and going out at night in Bebek. I took them to see the Blue Mosque, to bargain at the covered bazaar and sample some of the delicacies in the spice bazaar, and to eat at Assk Cafe on the water - fresh karpuz ve beyaz peynir, the perfect afternoon snack! They loved their visit.

What is your favorite Turkish dish? Do you cook Turkish food at home?

We make Turkish breakfast at home a lot, and I have perfected my sigara borek recipe. I also make a lot of kofte that my husband and baby love, along with begendi, and lentil soup. But my favorite Turkish meal is coming out of the Mediterranean in the summer and eating freshly caught fish that's been grilled with olive oil and lemon, coban salad or semiz oto with yogurt, and buttery pilaf.

Could you describe your life before and after your first baby?
Ha, well I slept a lot more before I had my first baby! My husband and I have loved welcoming Philomena into our lives - she is such a happy little girl, with such a funny sense of humor! And she is my favorite kind of girl: feisty, adventurous and very sweet all at once.  We made a commitment to each other that having children was going to be about bringing them into our lives rather than making our lives all about them. Of course, so much of our lives became about being parents and catering to what our baby needed, but we also like to bring her out to dinner with us, on weekend adventures, and to impromptu gatherings with friends. It's about finding a way to bring all the things we love to do together. We'll be having another baby in October, so we shall see what juggling two children under 2 years old is like!

Which women do you believe have been the most influential?
I really admire and respect all the examples of women I see who somehow manage to juggle living up to their commitments at work and at home while still finding time to do the things they love or need for themselves. It's not always easy, and we are so tempted to forget ourselves when we have so many other people we are responsible for. But we can take even better care of those around us if we take good care of ourselves, and I am a big believer that happy children come from happy parents. So the more we invest in our own happiness, the more we can spread that happiness around! I also love to see women reinvent themselves - it is the most inspiring!

What do you do when you’re not working?
If I get a free night, my favorite thing to do is go out to dinner with my husband and baby. I fantasize about going to a cold, dark movie theatre by myself with a giant bag of popcorn and just doing nothing for two hours, but it's been a long time since I've gotten to do that. I also love photography, and with little kids, I want to get good at taking their pictures, so I'm finding a class to take for that. My favorite way to relax and decompress when I only have a little bit of free time is just to walk to my next appointment. Being outside, stretching my legs, and listening to good music or a podcast is such an easy way to let my brain relax.

Could you describe someone outside your field of interest who inspires you and why?
I look to a wide variety of fields that have yielded people who seem to have led such rich, full lives: veterans I've met who know so much about sacrifice and discipline; doctors who've held another human’s life in their hands and helped them to survive; women who have reinvented themselves as fashion empires or branded businesses that are endlessly inspiring to me. I can't choose just one!

Could you tell me about your new book? What is it about?
My most recent book, Relish, was all about finding little ways to do things a little bit better in the kitchen, in our relationships with family, friends, and spouses, in our style at home and in fashion, at work, and with our free time. It had a ton of recipes, but also a lot of the best life advice I've picked up and used myself to feel like I am maximizing every day. My new book that will be out in 2016 is a pure cookbook, including all the recipes I make during the week that really let me and my family feel like we're indulging but still being healthy. And of course, they have to be fast, because I only have about 30 minutes to get dinner on the table most nights!
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07