My name is Amanda Grace Johnson; I am a chef de cuisine, whole-foods pastry chef, passionate writer and activist, and fledgling multimedia storyteller. I am currently based in Los Angeles. I recently relocated from London, where I’ve lived for the past 20 years, but I am originally from Florida.
I did not set out to become a chef, it was a passion that grew more and more into a vocation. In London, I was the creator of the underground restaurant, Midnight Steakout. Midnight Steakout started life as a small pop-up dinner for friends, and friends of friends, on the roof garden of my flat in Wapping. I cooked simple dinners of steak on the BBQ, vegetables I grew in the garden, served with cakes that I baked.
Midnight Steakout quickly snowballed into a series of huge, all-night parties, and themed, sit-down dinners, held in various, secret industrial spaces, for 172 people.
I am originally from DeLand, Florida, where I also founded the baking business, Gracie Gourmet. Gracie Gourmet became known throughout the town for its unique, bespoke, free-from, sweet & savoury, sustainable, artisanal modern British & American fine foods. Gracie Gourmet produced all manner of cakes and baked goods, all made with whole-food, natural ingredients, organic and locally-sourced wherever possible.
I discovered a love for food at a young age, through a passion for travel and discovering diverse cultures, and at an even younger age, through the delicious homegrown produce in my parent’s kitchen garden. I fondly recall long, summer days sat eating fruit in mulberry and Florida citrus trees.
When I was 14, a chance meeting at a pizza parlour in my hometown led to me being discovered and leaving home (chaperoned by my mother, sorry mom) to begin an international high-fashion modelling career, which spanned over 15 years.
This experience gave me the opportunity to travel and live all over the world. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, Iceland, North and Central America.
The food and cultures of many countries have influenced me and given me an insight into a multitude of fare, not to mention a diverse palate and a taste for the exotic. The cuisines of Japan, Thailand, Italy, Spain, France, England and California being among some of my favourites.
When I was 16, I had the chance to live on an organic raspberry farm in Northern California, which helped turn me on to healthy living. The woman who owns the farm, herself an incredible botanist, midwife, farmer, and all around renaissance woman, was instrumental in introducing me to a whole-foods, plant-based diet, and true, farm-to-table eating.
When I was 17, I went to London for a week, met a boy on my first day there, fell in love and ended up staying. The food in England has come a long way in the past 20 years, and the culinary scene has recently had an explosion of excitement. My cooking has, thankfully, also progressed leaps and bounds since the early days and some memorable dishes such as ‘period pie’ and ‘welly stew’ (as in wellington boots). I am grateful to the friends who were amazing cooks and were generous enough to teach me much of what I know.
I am passionate about food, food politics, food justice, sustainability, reducing food waste, health and nutrition, overcoming food poverty, permaculture, urban farming, farm to table, agricultural diversification, and the overall raising of awareness of the issues surrounding food. The ultimate dream is the creation of a food system where everyone has access to fresh, nutritious, delicious and sustainable food.
I love to cook and bake healthy food in the most decadent way possible, with an emphasis on fresh, local, organic and sustainable produce. I delight in making healthy food taste scrumptious. Good produce, prepared simply, in an effort to enhance the natural beauty of the food, is a speciality.
One of my current clients has significantly lost weight, lowered cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure since I started cooking for them. The doctor could not believe the dramatic improvements made in just the first month.
I have vast knowledge and experience preparing natural, raw, vegan, macrobiotic, Paleo, whole-food, plant-based (as well as ethically sourced meat- climatarin/ flexitarian), and able to cater to many other healthy diets and menus.
I am also a creative and experimental baker of gluten-free, naturally sweetened and other free-from desserts, as well as savoury baked goods. My baked goods are made entirely from ingredients which are naturally derived.
Whether it is for a celebration dinner, regular meal preparation, or an occasion cake, your dream menu can be designed and executed, bespoke to your specifications.
Get in touch today to discuss the delightful ways in which your dining experience can be made more delicious, nutritious, and sustainable.