For chef Lauren D’Agostino, the journey from pastry chef and cake creator to plant-based chef and author was a path paved in personal growth and self-discovery. Today, she’s preparing to launch her second cookbook, Cooking with Essential Oils (now available on Amazon), while also taking her knowledge and passion of intuitive eating on the road at wellness retreats around the world where she crafts nutrient dense culinary creations that support deeper healing. When she's not away on retreat, she supports busy families by teaching in-home cooking classes to help get a healthy meal on the table that encourages the entire family to lead healthier, happier lives.
We were so curious to find out Lauren’s secret sauce that has led to her success and what it’s like to launch a cookbook while also traveling the world making beautiful food. Fortunately, Lauren is incredibly generous and was happy to dish on her business secrets in our interview.
Pepperlane: Can you share a bit about the journey to start your business and what inspired you to do this work?
Lauren: From a young age, I always knew I wanted to be a chef. I got a little lost along the way, but found my way back to food service and hospitality by way of pastry school. After overdosing on sugar and noticing its effect on my body, I began to do some research and discovered the power of plants. Living in Florida and working at a juice bar opened my eyes to the vibrancy and flavor of purely plant-based and nutrient dense recipes. The Institute for Integrative Nutrition opened my eyes further, and inspired me to turn my fire into a business that would create a powerful—and flavorful— impact.
After that, I was hooked! I came to the lifestyle because of health, environmental, and animal ethics reasons, but I have sustained it for over four years because I am so in love with the food. I can't imagine eating any other way! When your food makes you dance, and smile with total love and joy, the energy spreads into everything else you touch. Witnessing people's reactions to my dishes, and opening their minds and palettes to this style of vegan eating, is the cherry on top!
Pepperlane: What was the process like to launch your cookbook?
Lauren: I began writing the cookbook about a year ago, but had the initial idea a year before that. It took some time to get to know the flavor of the essential oils, do some recipe research, and find inspiration. When I initially set out to find recipes that used essential oils that also fit my plant-based vegan diet, I couldn't find any! So the book really took shape out of a personal necessity. I am so proud of the recipes, the beautiful photography, and how the cookbook really celebrates each culinary essential oil. Sharing this cookbook is a childhood dream come true! I am very much looking forward to scheduling a national book tour in celebration later this year.
Pepperlane: What advice would you give other entrepreneurs who are still building their businesses?
Lauren: It's true what they say, you CAN create your reality - once you become crystal clear on what you want.
As soon as I fully felt— beyond a shadow of a doubt— that I had something worth sharing and that I am 100% worthy of success, opportunities began pouring in! It's called magnetism. Approaching my business with a "that's easy" attitude, along with complete joy and love are part of my identity as a business owner now - and I can't imagine being any other way!
You can learn more about Lauren, her classes, and her cookbooks on her Pepperlane profile. Her newest cookbook Cooking with Essential Oils is now available on Amazon.