Meet Noreen Wasti—recipe developer, food stylist, writer & content creator based in New York City. We sat down to discuss how her heritage plays a role in the foods she's drawn to, her go-to dinner on hectic evenings, finding creative inspiration in the kitchen & her favorite Tejari blends. Read on for the full interview.
The dishes you create are absolutely stunning! Can you share how you first became interested in recipe development and food styling?
Thank you so much! Food has always been a part of my life — from an early age a love of eating and cooking was instilled in me, mostly by my Dad. I started sharing recipes online as a sort of side hobby and was so incredibly lucky to gain a community along with that. It’s grown organically, slowly and is definitely a work in progress. I simply just love to cook and eat, and share that love with others through recipes, storytelling and beautiful imagery.
We love that you often incorporate edible flowers into your recipes! Where do you purchase them and how do you decide which ones to use?
Edible flowers and herbs are my absolute favorite — I can’t finish a dish without them. I buy them from Union Square Greenmarket in NYC and pick whatever catches my eye in a plethora of colors. I like to tear the petals rather than keeping them whole, I find it more undone and beautiful.
How does your heritage play a role in the kinds of foods you're drawn to?
I think of myself as an amalgamation of my Pakistani heritage, American upbringing and time spent living abroad in the Middle East and this reflects in how I approach cooking and eating. I am drawn to bold flavors, spice, and beautiful ingredients.
What is your go-to dinner on a hectic evening?
A simple daal with rice or really buttery scrambled eggs on toast.
Where do you go for inspiration whenever you find yourself in a creative rut?
As a freelancer I have the privilege to decide whether I want to take on a project and I think it’s really important to give yourself time to create in a non-work setting. Cooking is such a creative outlet for me, but when I’m constantly developing recipes for work I sometimes lose a bit of the fluidity. It’s hard to get the creative juices flowing when you have to measure and test every single thing. When that happens, I like to pause and just create something that comes naturally and slowly.
Why are you drawn to Tejari’s products? What is your current favorite blend?
The simplicity of the ingredients is what I love most - no second guessing or analyzing a nutrition label with Tejari. The Tejari Organic Cacao Blend is my favorite, paired with peanut butter of course.
How do you like to use Tejari products in your own recipes?
I was pleasantly surprised to see how simple it was to incorporate Tejari into everyday cooking. I try not to overthink it and love to add it into simple cakes and crumbles which I make often.
Can you share a simple healthy eating tip that keeps you on track when traveling?
Due to the pandemic I haven’t travelled in ages, but I don’t believe in restricting myself in any sort of way.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become more adventurous in the kitchen?
Don’t stress too much about the recipe, it’s there as a guide if you need it, but the magical kitchen moments happen when you cook intuitively.
For more from Noreen, check out her Instagram at @noreenwasti.