Jessica Koslow, the owner of the incredible SQIRL Cafe in Silverlake, is a glowing entrepreneur building the most delicious empire. She's carving out an incredible niche in the LA food scene, and we just can't get enough of what she's creating.
Jessica Koslow started out SQIRL as a preserves company in Los Angeles, where she hand-makes every batch of locally sourced product. Everything she bottles up is organic, local, and sustainably grown--and she will drive 5 hours up north for that perfect apple! Jessica decided to expand her production space in Silverlake into a breakfast/lunch cafe, and the rest is history. Magic is created in her kitchen, with the assistance of her head Chef de Cuisine Ria Dolly, Sous Chef Matthew Wilson, and Pastry Chef Meadow Ramsey. Many of the staple dishes consist of brioche toast (baked by Proof Bakery), homemade SQIRL jam, Kokuho organic brown rice, and an egg, but the creativity in these dishes are on another level. Their inventive specials include dishes like homemade cavatelli with uni butter and chicharon, and homemade burrata with caramelized garlic chips and toasted baguette... just to name a few.
Driving up to Jessica's home in Silverlake, we couldn't wait to check out the SQIRL garden where she sources some of the fresh produce at the restaurant. We had the best time chatting with her about future expansion plans for SQIRL (so much exciting stuff in store!) and hanging with her cute rescue pup Monk. We foraged French radishes and kale from her garden, and shared them over some breakfast yogurt and SQIRL jam. There's such a natural confidence about Jessica that is so pleasant and inspiring to be around--she knows what she wants and she goes after it. There's a reason why she was nominated for Food & Wine's Best New Chef... she's really got a stroke of genius. It's people like Jessica Koslow, who commit to their passions and dreams, that spread the GLOW to everyone in their orbit.
HOW THEY GLOW QUESTIONNAIRE
NAME: Jessica Koslow
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP: Long Beach, California
WHEN YOU ARE EATING HEALTHY, WHAT IS A TYPICAL…
BREAKFAST: Yogurt, Sqirl granola, jam (OR) cold porridge, hazelnuts & jam.
LUNCH: The “J1” -- brown rice, sorrel pesto, preserved lemon, lacto-fermented hot sauce, kale, sheep milk feta
DINNER: Garden salad, roasted veg, small amount of protein
SNACK: Air popped popcorn
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE INDULGENCE? Ice cream. I can put it AWAY!
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR LAST MEAL ON EARTH? Dinner at Urasawa
WHAT IS THE BEST DISH YOU COOK/ YOUR FAVORITE RECIPE? One of my favorite recipes is such a simple one. Based on a chicken soup from Scott Peacock and Edna Lewis, it’s full of lemon, brown rice, dill, and a bit of magic.
WHERE DO YOU GROCERY SHOP IN LA? I go to the farmers market as MUCH as I possibly can. Lassens in Los Feliz fills in the gap when needed. McCalls butcher is a great resource for protein when I can’t get my fill from Rancho San Julian or my fisherman (Stephanie!)
WHAT IS YOUR FITNESS REGIME? (HOW OFTEN & WHAT DO YOU GO) 4 – 5 days a week. I recently just started working out again after breaking my foot (and surgery) in October. Now I’m switching off between Gravity or Pilates (1 hour a day) or running (1 hour a day).
WHAT IS YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE? (PRODUCTS, FACIALS, ETC.) My mom is a dermatologist so I’ve been brought up with the mantra of less is more. I wash my face with an Antioxidant Foaming Cleanser from Topix followed by their Green Tea Cream & Sheer Physical Sunscreen.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE NATURAL MAKEUP/ BEAUTY PRODUCTS? I’m not a makeup gal. If I go out, I’ll put a bit of neutral powder on from Nars, lipstick from Terry or Mac and Mascara from Chantecaille.
IF YOU WERE STRANDED ON A DESERT ISLAND, WHAT 3 PRODUCTS WOULD YOU TAKE WITH YOU?
1. Toms Toothpaste
2. Foaming Cleanser
3. Sunscreen... I'm practical.
WHAT PROFESSIONAL BEAUTY/FITNESS/HEALTH GURUS DO YOU SWEAR BY? Krishnamurti (for the mind). And then I just try to listen to my body!
TOP 3 FAVORITE SONGS?
1. "Smokestack Lightning" by Howlin' Wolf
2."Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye" by Leonard Cohen
3. "Dusty McNugget" by Brad Mehldau
MOST LIFE-CHANGING BOOK? Margaret Atwood: The Handmaids Tale
WHAT IS THE BEST GIFT YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED? Two gifts come to mind --- a pink kitchen aid was given to me for my birthday when I was in grad school. It’s still in use at Sqirl today. Foreshadowed things to come, really! And airline miles so I could travel far and wide. Exploration internally and externally is key to existence!
DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY. I get up early and seize the day. Taking a minute to organize how I want the day to play out --- Perhaps researching and testing a couple of recipes, knowing that whether they succeed or fail, that’s it’s always progress. Spending time in the garden, picking produce for dinner, and then a midday run. The rest of the afternoon is spent cooking for dinner, knowing that the table will be full of friends and family, energetic conversation and love.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST VALUABLE BEAUTY TIP/SECRET? Respect yourself. Treat your body with care and consideration. You only live once – live it with integrity.
WHAT MAKES YOU GLOW? Connecting with what’s important to me each and every day. Reminding myself why I’m here and what I want to do. And then, well, doing it.
Photography by: Emily Knecht