Among our more adorable supporters is vegan chef Mary Mattern of Nom Yourself. (Er, celebrity vegan chef.) Most recently on tour whipping up unreal dishes for Travis Barker of Blink-182. If you're the kind who's thinking "I mean, I want to be vegan but I'll miss chicken parm, fried chicken, tacos, meatballs" so on and so forth, Ms. Mattern is the hero you've been looking for. Taking a sincere, but light-hearted approach to veganism, there's not much that's beyond Mary's reach. Which is why we're dedicated followers of the Nom Yourself Instagram, where she caters to those of us who want chicken and waffles, sausage and eggs, and also cookie dough and ice cream, (sometimes all at the same time) all kind, cruelty free, and accessible. From traveling chef, to cookbook author, to food blogger, we're not sure how Mary finds time to pause. Here at NICORA, we're just glad she's sharing the recipes so the rest of us can catch up on our vegan culinary pursuits. Thank you Mary, for all you do!
NICORA: We know you were in a ska band in high school, can you tell us what it was called?
Mary: Haha, how do you remember this? We were called Hurray For The Lunch Ladies. I played upright bass.
NICORA: Now that that's out of the way, what is your proudest accomplishment, professionally or otherwise?
Mary: I feel like I may have peeked in Hurray For The Lunch Ladies. Second to that tho, definitely printing my first cookbook. I did everything for it (and you can tell). The good, the bad, I loved everything about it. I learned a lot from the process and it's still really cool to be able to look back on that 5 years ago and realize how far it's taken me.
N: Vegan since —
M: September 2012.
N: Personal Chef since —
M: Oof, July 2013
N: Best tour moment?
M: Meeting my future husband on the Blink Tour. Hands down. Runner up, chickening out going on stage with Matt and Kim to do a choreographed dance I had memorized from their music video before I even knew they were going to be on the tour. Even tho I chickened out, it was still unbelievable rad to be able to dance with Kim backstage. And throw dildos at the wall to try and make them stick. It's a thing. And they do it. And it's incredibly fun.
M: Heat exhaustion. We cook outside a lot and if you're not drinking enough water it will catch up to you quick. I'm the opposite of a fish. I hate drinking water. So it would get the best of me every once in a while.
N: Something you'd eat all day if you could?
M: Truffle fries. God damn it. Even writing this makes me want to break out the deep fryer. Oh and tacos. There's nothing better than a good taco. Wait, also peanut butter banana sandwiches. Ugh this is too hard. I'd honestly eat anything all day if someone made it for me.
N: Strangest food love?
M: Cinnamon. It's not that strange but I try to slip it into a lot of dishes. Even if maybe you would think it doesn't belong.
N: Secret aspirations?
M: I'd love to go to Kenya to cook one day. It's been a dream of mine ever since I started cooking. I want to learn. So I aspire to just keep soaking in as much knowledge as I possible can from the chefs/cooks/friends/family around me.
N: Craziest year of your life?
M: 2015 probably. It was such a transitional year for me. I moved to LA, had a break up, released the second print of Nom Yourself: Simple Vegan Cooking, became a chef to people I admired in the music/entertainment industry and really was trying to figure out my place in life at that moment.
N: Secret crush?
M: Cole Spouse. Yes, the kid from Big Daddy. It's not a crush tho, it's more of an admiration. I've been following his career forever and it's really cool to see him come into his own. He broke away from childhood acting to become an amazing photographer. I really admire anyone who breaks away from something people really want you to do to follow their own path.
N: Not so secret crush?
M: Neil. I wake up every morning and I hear him snoring and I think to myself 'I never want to wake up to silence every again'. I crush so hard on him every day. I still catch myself checking him out. That smile, those eyes, his laugh. Ugh. Yeah, it's not much of a secret.
N: In 10 years I'll be —
M: Hopefully very far away from the internet.
N: Currently listening to —
M: Portugal, The Man.
N: Afraid of?
N: Wish I had more time for —
M: Friends and Family. Our schedules are never concrete so it makes it very difficult to travel to see them.
N: Best friend?
M: I have many. There is not one that has the title of best. Everyone in my life is so different and serves a different purpose as I do for them. I will say that I know some of the most interesting, talented, humble, ambitious females on the planet. And I treasure them so much.
N: Secret admirer of —
M: Crocheting. It's a beautiful thing.
N: One thing you'd wear everyday if you could?
M: Jeans and a t shirt. And, I do.
N: Best advice you've ever gotten?
M: Don't ever let ANYONE make you feel like less of a person because you know what you want out of your life. Always speak your truth and hold that with you while you move forward.
Oh, and p.s. she's also designing merch, so you can shop Mary's new pins. #VeganLife
Mary is wearing the Sinclair Boot (top photo)