In our current food-obsessed era, it’s not enough that your meal tastes good. It also has to look good. From pretty pink dutch ovens to Brightland’s Memphis-inspired bottles of olive oil, there are plenty of ways to elevate your kitchen into a fashion statement. Brightland founder Aishwarya Iyer started making olive oils in California after learning that most of the EVOO in America is “rotten, rancid, or adulterated.” Her all-American oil is packaged in bottles that would look at home at any trendy diner or young chef’s kitchen. Not only is it pretty, but it tastes pretty good, too. We spoke with the L.A.-based CEO about her other favorite things.
How do you thank someone for a gift?
If it’s in person, a big hug. If it’s someone who is not in huggable distance, then I try to write a thank-you card.
What would you never wear?
All the club gear that I enthusiastically donned in the mid-2000s to go to Pink Elephant, Cain, Bungalow (all RIP): sparkly halter tops, bootcut jeans, denim skirts with kitten heels and a wristlet. Never again.
What’s your dream vacation?
Three months with my husband and dog in Istanbul, Mykonos, and Paris with no phone/internet.
What’s a good book on your coffee table right now?
TONAL from my friend Zarna Surti. It’s a bi-annual journal celebrating women of color and monochromatic aesthetics.
Favorite piece of furniture in your apartment/office?
I adore our bar cart. It’s functional, has so much character and charm, and we bought it for $35 in a yard sale in Venice.
Last show you binge-watched?
Derry Girls with my sister who visited from New York and told me that “everyone in New York LOVES this show.”
Secret to hosting a good party?
Being okay with the fact that everyone will inevitably congregate around the kitchen and spend the most time in there.
What’s another decade you’d like to live in and why?
I just watched Studio 54 on Netflix, and I wish I was around then to be a part of that wild scene in New York.
Rank the following: Salt, fat, acid, and heat.
1) Fat 2) Heat 3) Acid 4) Salt.
The Favorite museum/gallery?
Brooklyn Museum has a special place in my heart, although I’m starting to carve some space out for LACMA as well.
Shoes you wear most often?
Hobes Point Slip-Ons — comfortable, chic and go with everything.
What’s your favorite…
Jasmine flowers: they remind me of my mom and the women of South India who weave jasmine flowers in their hair.
So many, but lately I’ve been experimenting more with my cast iron skillet, and Charlotte Druckman’s Stir, Sizzle, Bake has the perfect cast iron recipes.
I’ve been a Santal33 woman for a few years but recently discovered Velvet Haze from Byredo and I instantly felt a calling to it.
Maldon Sea Salt. Chop some cherries + dark chocolate, drizzle Brightland, and add some Maldon salt. It’s outrageous.
In L.A.: my neighborhood spot, Highly Likely. No fuss and solid food (the Japanese breakfast bowl is excellent!)
In New York: Desi Galli on 28th + Lex. It’s run by the loveliest woman (Hi Priya!) and they have wonderful kati rolls, chaat snacks, and more.
Cutting board: a multi-use surface that can be used for chopping and more fun things like cheese boards. I love Material Kitchen’s cutting board.
I have a pair of socks from Henrik Vibskov and they are colorful, cozy and bright. They make me smile.
Lunya: Softest shirts I’ve ever worn. They are technically sleepwear, but I wear them underneath sweaters all the time.
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