Ask Gaby

Yay!! New Feature alert here on What’s Gaby Cooking and it actually isn’t recipe based. Here’s the deal – I get a TON of questions on various platforms and there is a lot of overlap. Whether its on snapchat, Facebook, instagram, twitter etc… there are some fun and interesting questions out there and I think we should answer them all in one place so it’s easily accessible for everyone! Every few weeks I’ll be adding to this post so if you think of something you want to ask me, shout it out in the comments below!

I’m kicking it off today with the top 5 questions I get on a regular basis and we’ll go from there! Here we go….

How did all this start??
Oh man… ok here we go. I was the pickiest eater growing up. No joke. I ate pretty much only pasta and grilled cheese until I got to high school. In high school I started watching a bunch of cooking shows and was obsessed with making chicken parmesan. Literally, thats the only thing I made for the first few years and trust me when I tell you that I make the BEST chicken parm ever. When I got to college, I got chubby REAL fast. Freshman 15? I wish. It was more like the Freshman 25 and I was playing tennis every day too. I had 4 square meals a day (in college we’d go eat a second dinner at 9pm – super healthy… NOT!) and eventually took matters into my own hands and started cooking. After college, I moved down to Los Angeles and got a regular office job. HATED IT, and the company eventually folded. I was only there for about 9 months and rather than go get another job right away, I decided I would go to culinary school and put off the real world for just a bit longer. After culinary school I went to pastry school and meanwhile did the blog as a hobby. I started working as a private chef and the rest is history (aka I’ll fill you in on the next few questions)

Where did I go to culinary school / would you recommend going to culinary school?
I did 2 different culinary/pastry programs. The culinary program was at Westlake Culinary Institute, it was a condensed 6 month culinary program and we learned pretty much everything you’d learn at a big fancy culinary school but for a fraction of the price. After culinary school, I immediately enrolled in pastry school (Academy of Culinary Education) because I LOVED it. Plus, who wouldn’t want to make cookies all day. Turns out pastry school isn’t all about cookies and brownies. There are a lot of fancy pastry techniques that weren’t really my jam. I learned how to make puff pastry and all that jazz, ate a ton of sugar, got my first cavity and then peaced out about 3/4th of the way through and said bye!!! Would I recommend going to culinary school? Depends on what you’re interests are post school? I don’t think its MANDATORY but it absolutely helped me in my career. More on that coming shortly…

How did you become a private chef?
While I was in culinary school, I was interviewing to be a nanny for this incredible family in Malibu. I told them I was going to culinary school at the same time and I ended up being their chef and cooking for them for a handful of years. It was incredible, their kitchen is the kitchen of my dreams and I just love them!!! I had a handful of clients while I was working as a private chef and was incredibly fortunate to love all of them (I lucked out – it’s not always so fun or carefree)

Do you think you need to go to culinary school to be a private chef?
I do. I think it really helps and gives you some major credibility. At least here in LA where every other family has a private chef and they come from incredible restaurants and fly around the world to cook for their clients. That said, I don’t think you have to go to a super fancy culinary school!! And a HUGE part of being a private chef is your personality and disposition. You’re spending your days in your clients kitchen and you’re responsible for feeding their entire family. I think it’s one of the most intimate jobs as you’re in the heart of the home. So having a positive and professional demeanor is equally as important as your culinary school cred. And while this isn’t exactly the same question – I certainly think it’s helped me learn how to write recipes and learn ratios. I can look at a recipe and tell you off the bat if it’s going to work and/or taste good. So that’s a major bonus.

What keeps you inspired?
omg so many things. Living in California I have access to some incredible year round farmers markets which I visit on a weekly basis so seeing whatever is in season or new and exciting is a constant source of inspiration. I’m also pretty lucky to have such incredible friends and family who LOVE food. We’re always talking about food, throwing dinner parties, hosting brunches, and cooking together etc… and just being a part of that is a great way to constantly be coming up with new ideas to share with YOU guys!

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  1. What are some recipes you recommend for a college student living with their partner and pet rabbit haha.

  2. In your snap that references this Q & A , you were wearing a University of Michigan shirt-it appeared to be at least-lol. What are your ties to Michigan? I’m a Michigan California transplant. 🙂 thanks and love your recipes!

  3. I tried making the basil vinaigrette in my vitamix, but because of where the blade rests, it seems like I would have to put in larger quantities than what i would want for one or two servings. Do you have this problem with your vitamix?

  4. I’m ALWAYS in the kitchen cooking for my kids. They’ve loved everything I’ve made from your site! Question : Any pots/pans you can recommend? I feel like we go through them so quick. I’d rather spend the $$$ and have ones that will last me! Also, any MUST HAVE kitchen items? Thanks Gaby!

  5. Yes, please tell me the best nonstick pan that won’t cause weird diseases AND can last longer than a year.

  6. You mentioned in a snapisode why you don’t wash mushrooms. I thought it was so interesting and was telling my fiancé about it a couple days later, but completely forgot WHY you don’t wash them! My brain is mush! What is the reason again?! Thanks!!

    1. They absorb a lot of water when you wash them, therefore you’ll get soggy mushrooms. I clean mine with a slightly damped paper towel and remove any dirty 🙂

  7. Hello from a fellow LA-er! Are there any weekend or shorter day-length cooking classes or courses you would suggest in the LA area? I’d love to hone my cooking skills, but I work a 9-5 and don’t have the resources to dive full-time into a culinary school right now. Thanks Gaby!

  8. What’s the deal with maldon salt? It seems like it’s your favorite salt to use, but why? I would love to get in the secret!! 🙂

  9. Hi Gaby! I know you shared your content calendar scheduling before, which I need to reread. But was curious if you al so used any apps to help with social media planning? Thanks so much for all that you share!! And your recipes are so on point, just love them !! xo- Em

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