/Samin Nosrat — Master Creative, Master Teacher (#339)

Samin Nosrat — Master Creative, Master Teacher (#339)

Photo by Adam Rose

“Things that caused me so much pain and confusion as a kid ended up being really wonderful tools in my work.” — Samin Nosrat

Samin Nosrat (@ciaosamin) is a writer, chef, and teacher who is masterful at turning complexity into simplicity. Her first book, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking, is a New York Times bestseller, a James Beard Award winner for Best General Cookbook, was named as Cookbook of the Year by the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and is soon to be a Netflix original documentary series produced by Jigsaw Productions.

Samin has been called “The next Julia Child” by NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and she has been cooking professionally since 2000.

This episode is about much more than cooking. It’s about the creative process, creative highs and lows (and how to push through those lows), rejection, vulnerability, and much more. If you liked the Brandon Stanton episode, you’re going to love this one. Please enjoy!

Want to hear another podcast with a world-class chef and writer? — Listen to my conversation with Eric Ripert in which we discuss daily routines, mindfulness, conquering anger, and more! (Stream below or right-click here to download):

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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…


  • Connect with Samin Nosrat:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


  • How do you pronounce “Samin,” anyway? [05:32]
  • Samin tells us about her manifestation journal: how it originated, how often she’s used it since then, what happens when it gets lost, what it helps her put in perspective, and how it’s formatted. [06:07]
  • Samin shares some of her earlier goals from the journal and explains what a bay leaf piñata is. [12:02]
  • How does Samin follow the goals put forth in her journal, and is she ever embarrassed by what she’s written there? [13:00]
  • What does Samin do to dig her way out when she finds herself at the rock bottom of the creative process? [15:44]
  • As a perfectionist, how did Samin get over the fear that her book might not be received well? What has she done to overcome a lifetime need for external validation? [19:24]
  • We discuss the pain we’ve shared from mistakes making it to first printing — from the resulting hate mail to learning to forgive ourselves. [23:34]
  • What kind of therapy has been most helpful for Samin? [31:10]
  • How does Samin’s therapy increase her somatic awareness and allow her to reconnect with her own body? How does this enhance her gut intuition? [33:53]
  • Honest feedback from Samin’s friend made her cry for two hours — this is why it was a good thing. [36:11]
  • When did Samin first fall in love with food? [42:33]
  • Samin talks about growing up as the daughter of Iranian immigrants in San Diego with a foot in each world — and how it instilled what she considers one of her superpowers. [45:34]
  • Samin shares a Marco Pierre White quote about people who have suffered tragedy early in life. [49:44]
  • Samin never forgets what it was like to be an absolute beginner in the kitchen, which helps her reach people experiencing cooking for the first time. [51:39]
  • How Michael Pollan helped Samin find her teaching voice. [54:03]
  • Samin’s first exposure to fine dining and Alice Waters, and how she started working at Chez Panisse. [56:52]
  • Samin talks about the first letters she wrote reaching out to Alice Waters and Michael Pollan. [1:01:19]
  • How overcoming her fear of asking got Samin into Michael Pollan’s exclusive class, which led to collaboration and entry into a community of journalists and writers she wouldn’t otherwise have known. [1:06:31]
  • Books that have had a tremendous influence on Samin. [1:13:14]
  • What apparent failures have set Samin up for success? [1:20:34]
  • How might an editor deliver criticism to Samin in a constructive way that builds trust? [1:24:57]
  • The two biggest culinary failures of Samin’s career. [1:29:27]
  • Why Samin opened what became a successful food market and the internal conflicts she faced when she made the decision to close it. [1:31:44]
  • How this experience attuned Samin to understand when doing things she doesn’t want to do interferes with lifelong ambitions. [1:39:02]
  • Samin talks about teaching Michael Pollan to cook, throwing around potential book ideas, and how she settled on writing Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. [1:46:21]
  • Why Samin’s writing residency early in the process didn’t give her the results she was seeking. [1:51:52]
  • Even Samin the artisan bread hoarder frequently goes through imposter syndrome when writing. Then she’s reminded why her writing is valued. [1:53:19]
  • Should you write a book? [1:55:27]
  • Why did Samin decide to do a television show, and what surprised her about the process? [1:57:12]
  • What can viewers expect from the series? [2:06:55]
  • Samin’s kitchen stocking recommendations. [2:08:47]
  • Parting thoughts. [2:16:14]


Posted on: October 1, 2018.

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