Food has always been an essential; however, the culinary scene has truly exploded after the last few years with the recognition of celebrity chefs, pop up restaurants and the cross over of this space into other areas.
Our favorite meals are components of dishes from meats, fruits, vegetables, and spices. We took a moment to chat with the Co-Founder of Delicacies Jewelry, Nicolle Nelson, which brings our love of food and jewelry together with this fine jewelry, which has a portion of the line curated by Chef Andrew Zimmern who brings notable chefs to Chef's Table as collaborative portions of the line.
We talked with Nicolle about the line, how she stays inspired, how Chef Andrew Zimmern was involved with the line and what we can expect with the upcoming line.
ATHLEISURE MAG: Nicolle, tell us about your background and how you came into the jewelry business.
NICOLLE NELSON: I did media relations for about 18 years when I (quite unexpectedly!) got into the jewelry business. I was winding down my media relations career, living in Merida, Mexico, trying to figure out what came next — and was struck with dengue fever. (As were my husband and 5-year-old daughter simultaneously. Not so fun.) While sick and feverish one afternoon, I “awoke” to a vision of a bracelet featuring a single, tiny, gleaming garlic bulb on my wrist. As soon as I recovered, I set about to create that tiny bracelet I had seen, so clearly.
That original "fever-dream" bracelet now exists as the Delicacies Garlic bracelet!
AM: Tell us about the epicurean line Delicacies Jewelry and how this came about?
NN: Delicacies is the first ever full-line of jewelry for food lovers. My husband (and partner in Delicacies) has worked with Andrew Zimmern since 2001, so we’ve definitely experienced in the full-throttle growth in the food world in the past 15 years. Food has exploded! Food personalities are TV stars and chefs have rockstar status. Why not jewelry for food lovers?
Also, people are more conscious of what they are putting in their bodies each day. But besides simply sustaining us, food has other qualities as well that we have tapped into. Food carries memories for people, and can be used to bring certain “energies” into ones lives. (Think aphrodisiacs.)
Some of our customers have gifted pieces for loss; an onion to remind a loved one that “sometimes in life, you cry” or a tomato pendant to remind his wife of her father, who had recently passed away and planted over 60 tomato plants in their yard every year. And some pieces are bought as tokens of luck, fertility, protection from evil, and my own personal favorite, perseverance. (Check out our ingredient “mythology" on our website to see what ingredient brings what energy into your life, and why.)
AM: What is Chefs Table and what is Andrew Zimmern's involvement with this?
NN:Delicacies’ Chef’s Table is our conduit for charitable giving. Andrew, a dear friend and longtime client and now business partner of my husband’s, agreed to serve as our Chief Giving Officer, and he helps identify and contact the chefs we want to make up our Chef’s Table. Each chef chooses an ingredient to represent them and a hunger-related non-profit organization. We then donate a percentage of proceeds to these charities (10 percent of ALL proceeds and 50 percent of each of the “chef’s ingredient” pieces sold.)
AM: Tell us about the chefs who have collaborated with this line and are there others on the horizon that we should keep an eye out for?
NN: We are currently reaching out to chefs now, and finalizing our year two Chef’s Table. We don’t have any names set in stone currently, BUT look for all women to be on this year’s Chef’s Table. We feel a homage to women chefs and food personalities is most definitely in order for 2017.
Last year, we had the following chefs join us on our Chef’s Table: Chef Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn (ingredient: tomato; charity SF-Marin Food Bank), Chef Gavin Kaysen of Spoon & Stable (ingredient: shrimp; charity: Appetite for Change) and Chef Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster (ingredient: chicken; charity: Three Goats).
AM: Tell us about your new addition of avocado into the line!
NN: Ever since we launched, there has been an overwhelming (excuse the pun) hunger for an avocado piece. And who are we to leave food lovers wanting? It took us awhile to get the avocados right; we realized the pendant had to be a 3D piece to show both sides of this delectable fruit. The avocado comes in the Delicacies bracelet, the sterling silver pendant, the 14K gold pendant and the pave gold pendant. We've already sold out of the pave avocado pieces - we are thrilled that people like their avocado with a little sparkle.
AM: What are your favorite Delicacies that are currently available in the line?
NN: I have two! I cannot pick just one. My favorites are the ginger and the octopus.
The ginger because I simply love the ingredient itself and use it in my Thai curry pastes that I make from scratch.
Second, I’ve worn the octopus pendant since the first one was created. The octopus represents perseverance and it is the energy which I have needed most since I started on this entrepreneurial journey. I never could have imagined the moments of doubt that I’ve faced in this journey, and each time doubt creeps in, I feel for my octopus around my neck and it reminds me that I have overcome setbacks before and that I will continue forward.
AM: What new ingredients can we expect to be introduced in the line that is not available yet?
NN: Look for rosemary in the next couple of months. I’m excited about this one because it stands for remembrance, and is just so beautiful cast in silver and gold.
AM: Where do you get your inspiration from?
NN: I’m a bit strange, I think, because I love walking around farmer’s markets the world over. I find them so beautiful, brimming with colors, food stalls — and piles upon piles of produce. I think fruits and vegetables are the most beautiful shapes ever created by nature, which is why our jewelry line focuses on whole, simple ingredients.
AM: When you're not making jewelry, do you workout - if so where, and what foods do you enjoy eating for energy versus splurging?
NN: I love working out and try and do something about 3-4 days a week. (Some weeks I’m better than others…) When I’m in the States for the summer months, I do yoga with weights. When I'm in Mexico, I do CrossFit — more recreationally than serious, I enjoy the variety of the workouts. I also take a day every so often to just run a few miles.
I love food. (I created a line of food jewelry; of COURSE I love food!!) We cook a lot at home, and do a lot of Asian foods (Thai being my specialty; I make my own paste which is quite the production!) We also do a lot of oven-roasted meats, stuff that goes stove top to oven all in the same cast iron skillet. And of course living most of the year in Mexico we eat our fair share of tacos, which would definitely be my guilty pleasure.
AM: What's your personal style when you're out and about versus when you're going to brunch with friends?
NN: In the daytime, I’m in jeans all day long. I’m tall, so I prefer something a bit longer on top. And I love my shawls to combat overly air conditioned spaces, most of which I’ve found in my travels throughout Mexico. At night, I prefer simple (either classic or kinda flirty) dresses, a shawl, always heels, and my Angela Damman clutch handmade from beautiful natural fibers from the Yucatan.