Ask Gaby

Welcome to Ask Gaby! Basically it’s a place that gets updated once-a-month where you can ask anything/everything! Full transparency. No holding back on my end. So without further ado…

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! (and FYI it goes in chronological order – so if you’ve been here a time or two, scroll down for the latest additions!!)

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!

How do you not get burnt out?

I’ll be honest – it doesn’t happen a lot because I really do love my job, but when I feel it coming on it’s a sign that I need to get out of the normal routine and switch things up. Whether that is packing up an going on an adventure, booking a weekend getaway, or just do something that is new and stimulating and inspiring. That can be as simple as going out to lunch at a new fun restaurant with food outside my repertoire, or as extravagant and packing my bags and heading off on safari for 2 weeks. For me, it’s important to travel. It makes me tick. Keeps me inspired. I love meeting new people and experiencing new cultures – so as long as I make an effort to do that, I’m usually good to go 🙂

I’ve also been known to try and put my phone down for a weekend and not obsessively participate in social media. It’s never lasted for more than 24 hours, but I’ve made a few solid attempts. Once I went for a walk and left my phone at home. It was a major milestone in my life 🙂

How did you meet Thomas?

Oh this is my favorite story to tell besides the story about watching Game of Thrones in the Miami airport a few years ago. But we’ll save that for another time.

I’ve never actually taken the time to write down our story, I always tell it in person so let’s see if I can make this work. Let’s rewind to the high school days and I’ll preface this by saying Thomas is a year older than me. I grew up in Arizona and when it came time to apply to colleges I sent applications to dozens of schools. After I finally narrowed it down (St. Mary’s College of CA up in the Bay Area) and was accepted to be on the women’s tennis team, one of my best friends, Emily, suggested I look at all the athletes on their website and see which teams had the hottest guys. (Totally normal for any 17 year old girl right?) She’s also a year older than me and is equal parts best friend, older sister and life council so she knows whats up 🙂

Emily came over, we scoured the SMC website, basketball, rugby, baseball, soccer, tennis, lacrosse, etc. HUNDREDS of profiles later we narrowed it down to Thomas. He was on the mens tennis team and he was 100% my type. (bleached hair and all – hahaha) A few months later I packed my bags, moved up to college, cried when I said goodbye to my parents and met Thomas on my first day of school at tennis practice. He waltzed down to practice too cool for school and I quickly learned that he had a girlfriend. RUDE.

I moved on to various other guys but Thomas and I always got paired up to play mixed doubles together and to cross train together when tennis got rained out.  I’ve never been a good poker player, so I think it was pretty obvious to him that I was interested. One thing led to another, he eventually broke up with his girlfriend and FINALLY asked me out. I wasn’t having any of it. In case you didn’t know this about me, I really only like to do things on my own terms. We casually dated for a few months but I wasn’t ready for any sort of committed relationship. I had only had 1 other boyfriend before and that was in high school and it was so casual that a real relationship scares me. That all changed when I went on a girls trip to Tahiti with some of my friends from the tennis team. After a few too many cocktails one night I decided it was a great idea to get a tattoo of a whale on my ankle. Super logical right? We had just seen a TON of whales off the coast and I was obsessed. (side note – I’m still obsessed with whales and will drop basically anything to go whale watching anytime anywhere) Before making any major decisions I decided to rack up a giant phone bill and call Thomas to run the idea by him. (He’d met my parents a few times at this point since they would come up to visit and take the mens/womens tennis team out for dinner and knew the family dynamic fairly well) and Thomas was like GABY DALKIN if you get a tattoo while you’ve been drinking in Tahiti your mom will be so mad at you. The rest is history. I came home from Tahiti, he surprised me at my house in Tucson and threw me a big birthday party and we’ve been inseparable ever since. We dated for 6 years starting the end of my sophomore year and then got married about almost 5 years ago.

How do I decide what brands to work with?

Easy! Is it a brand that I love? Is it something that I know my audience would appreciate and love? Is it delicious? Is it a product that I can get behind and incorporate into my everyday life? Is it providing some sort of value or education to my readers? Boom. There you go. I always make sure the brands I partner with are on brand for me personally and my audience. No amount of money is worth sacrificing the trust of you guys – EVER.   

What are your top 5 kitchen tools?

1 – my All-Clad Dutch Oven

2 – my Copper Vitamix

3 – Currently obsessed with my Instant-Pot

4 – my Kitchenaid mixer

5 – my Global chefs knife

How do you make the food so pretty?

3 years ago I realized I was allowed to put money back into my brand, (it is my full time business after all and most companies have some sort of overhead) what a concept right? So I tapped 2 of my very best friends, Matt and Adam to help me create a more cohesive What’s Gaby Cooking visual brand. Matt is a food photographer and Adam is a food stylist and between the 3 of us, we come up with all the creative for the images you see here on WGC. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s a little more challenging, but it’s one of my favorite parts of my job.  At this point we’re a well oiled machine. Three musketeers in real life!    

Have you ever paid to promote your blog?

Nope. Haven’t ever done any paid advertising on my end. But sometimes my brand partners will pay to promote a video on Facebook or something along those lines.

What’s your workout routine?

I get this question a LOT.  Here’s the deal…. I eat a lot of food. I can put it down and have zero shame in that. But I have to work out on a daily basis to keep that in check. I have a trainer in LA that I try and see about 3 times a week and we run through an hour of circuit training and my ass is officially kicked at the end of each session. I box 2-3 times a week too – best cardio workout ever. I try and do active things when seeing my friends, so we’ll go for a hike or a walk and then grab a coffee or brunch. AND lastly, I rarely drive. In fact I don’t have a car, so I walk everywhere. 10k steps a day minimum!

What conferences do you attend and think are worthwhile when you’re just getting started? 

When I first started in the culinary world, I went to just about every conference there was. I think it’s super important to get out there and meet your peers, especially when your job is isolating at times. (I mean, hello, blogging is basically sitting at a computer for a LOT of your time)

These days I go to IACP most years and find that the best networking is there. I love it because it’s not just digital media – it’s more food people from all different paths and getting to meet them and hear their stories is always super inspiring.

Can we talk blogging 101? How do you get a blog started?

Yup. First things first – you need a name. What’s Gaby Cooking is obviously what I went for so I bought my domain name online, I bought a host and then set up shop on WordPress. At first my blog was just a template, and over time I’ve hired designers, coders and tech gurus to make it customizable and easy to use for user experience. Do I think you need to hire someone out of the gate to design your blog – nope. I’d say start with a template and nail down your voice and brand before you start doling out money for it. There are various levels of design you can go for once you’re ready. At first I hired a designer to customize a template for me for like $200. After that I had my husband design a logo and build my site. He quickly became too busy to deal with the design and upkeep of my blog so I outsourced and hired a designer to create the What’s Gaby Cooking identity and then had a brilliant code guru / developer build the site from scratch. It’s not cheap but my site is user friendly so that’s a major win!

How did you turn your blog into a business in the very beginning / how long till the blog was my full time income?
oh man – it was a really long time before I started earning any money on WGC. When I first started in 2009 it was a few pennies here and there off of ads. It took about 3 years before I started doing any real sponsored work and it’s grown since then. Here’s the interesting thing – when I started my blog I had no idea it was a viable source of income. It was really just a place for me to brag to my friends and family about what I learned in culinary school. These days I think people start blogs and instagrams in hope of making money – but it’s not as easy as that. It takes a lot of time to build up a following and TRUST which is really important. There were a few deals that I took early on in WGC that I shouldn’t have. They were brands that weren’t really on brand for me and my audience so there were def some growing pains. But it’s all about time, networking, growing your following, being authentic and sharing valuable content. Once I started really honing in on my brand and messaging, things began to pick up because I had a purpose and a message which is something that I didn’t have in the early days. DON’T START your blog if you’re just in it to make money!!

Can you give me an idea of what you eat on a daily basis, workouts that you may do?

omg it really changes on a daily basis. When I’m home, I start almost every day with a smoothie. Lunch is a quick salad of some sort – that kale caesar salad I did a few weeks ago is on heavy rotation these days. Or I’ll eat whatever is leftover in the fridge or whatever I might be recipe testing that day. Dinner is some sort of grilled fish or protein and veggies on the days were attempting to eat clean. But that only is about 50% of the time, so I’m all about pasta and pizza other days. It’s all about balance so if I go balls to the wall at lunch, I try and keep dinner light and vice versa. I’m not good at depriving myself of things, so nothing is off limits. But I do try and moderate. And as for working out – when I’m in LA, I go to Rise Movement 3 times a week for private training. I’m obsessed with my trainers there and it’s the best workout I’ve ever had. It’s a circuit for 60 minutes and I usually get there 30 minutes early to warm up / do a few miles on the treadmill and stretch.

Can you provide the nutritional breakdown of your recipes?

Unfortunately, I can’t. But feel free to plug the exact ingredients you use into any of the free available online calorie counters!

Do you accept guest posts on your site?

Thanks for asking, but I don’t have guest posts on my blog. It’s just how things work over here on WGC.

Can I send you a product to review on your site?

I don’t do product reviews on WGC and I don’t accept free product either. Too much packaging waste! Occasionally I do a sponsored post which often includes some recipe development with a product. If you’re interested in that, shoot me an email and we can talk!

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  1. Sallie Cowan

    What outdoor pizza oven do you have??? Thanks in advance

  2. Kathryn Johnson

    Hi! We are expecting our first child in September, and was wondering what recipes of yours you think would freeze the best? Chili, lasagna, muffins, and banana bread are on the list!

    Thank you,

  3. Johanna Belleman

    Help! I made the strawberry crispy cobbler from your latest cookbook last night and I have too many/too much biscuits and not enough strawberry. I know what I did wrong (I only had 1 pound of strawberries and I thought I could adjust the recipe. Not. ) Any suggestions on what I can do?

    • Gaby

      do you have any other fruit to add to the strawberry mixture?

  4. Diane Crammer

    Thanks for sending me this link to how you got going. Very informative.
    Love your story.

  5. Janet Robinson

    Gaby, i Ordered the tie dyed monogrammed sweatshirt you wore on a live video. Can you please let me know the name of the company? I can’t find my confirmation email and i want to get in touch with them to ask when i can expect the sweatshirt.

    Thanks, Janet…congratulations on your wonderful news!!

  6. Gabi

    Hi Gaby,

    Just a short question from the other side of the world..I’m in love with your salt pot ( it’s called pot or…) …I think its wooden wit a cover. Can you please tell me where to find it?

    Gabi from Budapest

  7. susan gurvey

    gaby saw you talking about makeup and brushes. what brand of foundation do you use and where are the brushes from?

  8. Jill Lacombe

    You have been using a concealer and glowing product in your instastories. Can you provide the name for me. Thank you in advance

  9. JD Kammes

    Hello Gaby,
    I love your website and everything you do. I have been cooking for a while restaurants and catering but I graduated from Culinary school in Sept. 2019 and I would really love to be a private chef for a family. I live in Napa CA. I was just wondering if you have any advice?

  10. Cheryl Waterman

    Do you have any thoughts on the Bosch mixer? I never feel that my Kitchen Aid gets things mixed all that well. Just heard about this Bosch and am very curious.

  11. Alaina


    You had a makeup that you featured on your Hallmark home day recently and I did not write it down. It was a bronzer/highlighter you recommended.

    Thank you!

  12. Kera

    Hello Gaby,

    What happened to the Salsas on WS? I went on to order recently and they are not there. Are they coming back in stock or are they discontinued?

    Thank you,

    • Gaby

      discontinued!! we had to make room for all the other stuff coming in!

  13. Tina C.

    I love your recipes! I am wondering if you have a vegan/vegetarian book in the works?
    I love your online recipes and the photos, and would love a binded version of that. Guess I could print out myself, but I’d rather get one from you if it’s supportive of your work.

    • Gaby

      I don’t have a vegan/veg book in the works – but so many of the recipes in my other books are adaptable!

  14. Nicole Giroux

    What brand of baking sheets do you recommend? I never love any of the ones I buy and don’t feel like they hold up well.

  15. Liz

    Hi Gaby,
    I follow Jacey Duprie on Insta and she led me to you. As an avid home cook I really do love your recipes!
    I live in Sydney so not really to dissimilar a climate to LA and I find your approach to food so refreshing!
    The reason for the message is to say that your coriander vinaigrette (/basil vinaigrette) has been a game changer in my house.
    I just made a garlic naan and added a little Australian Buffalo mozzarella and cherry tomatoes and once out of the oven I drizzled the coriander vinaigrette all over, bloody fabulous, so thank you for you brilliance!

    Warm regards,

    PS: I now have all my friends and family making both vinaigrette’s and loving your work!

    • Gaby

      omg Liz!! This made my day!! So happy to hear it! Thank you 🙂

  16. Mike Tauckus

    I love the apple cider spritz cocktail. Can you share where I may be able to find the pitcher and glasses set in the photos? Thanks

  17. Carolyn


    My son is a fledgling cook but not as dexterous with a knife and hates chopping herbs, garlic, etc. What is the best chopper on the market for this out there?

  18. Jody Belleman

    I don’t know what I did to my brownie bites. They certainly do not look like little baby brownies. I don’t know how to insert a picture or I would sure you help! It looks like there was too much butter. They are crumbly. They have a good taste. The tops do not look like brownies. Is there a place where I could download a picture?

  19. Laura Phipps

    Help! I love your All Things Seafood, however, it seems to be all sold out! Any idea of when it will be back in stock?

    • Gaby

      that’s the only one that’s be discontinued! I need to put the recipe on my website asap

  20. Bay Jackson

    Happy New Year, Gaby!
    Congratulations on the birth of your new precious baby girl! She’s absolutely beautiful! And can we talk about her name? So cute! I’m so excited for this next new chapter in your life! It’s been fun following along while you’ve been under “construction” both with the house and your baby girl!

    Thank you so much for all that you do. Your passion, dedication, expertise, and zest for life is so refreshing! The world is so heavy right now and it’s simply just so nice to focus on cooking, family, quality time together, and design ideas. So, thank you.

    I have a few questions:
    1. If you find out, the morning of, that company is coming for dinner, what do you usually serve for dinner and dessert?

    2. I don’t eat seafood but my family loves salmon. I’m scared I won’t cook it properly and will make everyone sick. What tips do you have? And what is your favorite, crowd pleasing salmon recipe?

    I hope to hear back from you! I’ll probably get a little star struck, but no one will know!!

    I appreciate all that you do!

    • Gaby

      Hi Bay! Thanks for your comment!

      1: Chicken Parmesan is my go-to! And for dessert – depends on the time of the year but either cookies or apple crisp.

      2: you should try my steamed salmon recipe – it’s a game changer! xoxo

  21. Molly

    Hi Gaby,
    My daughter and I love following you and seeing all the beautiful, delicious food you prepare. I am wondering what kind of camera is used to take the pictures for your social media posts? I need to do some product photography for my new company and hope to do some of it on my own. Thank you!

  22. Emily Apenbrinck

    What are your favorite recipes to feed a big crowd? I grew up on casseroles so that’s what I always make when feeding a lot of people, but there’s only so many variations of casseroles and I’m getting tired of it. I’m looking to feed a crowd without a lot of time consumption. Prep time doesn’t bother me so much, time spent over the stove does.

  23. Mindy

    Do you have a recipe for Chimichurri using your Gimme Chimi blend which I recently purchased? Thank you!

  24. Haidee

    Hi Gaby!
    Before the new year, there was a brief insta post about your new MYX bike. I did some research and I’m finally decided on ordering one! I thought there was a discount code offered in your post, but can no longer find it. Is that still an option?
    Thank you!

    • Gaby

      unfortunately the code was only good for that week! I’m sorry!

  25. Noreen Berger

    I am in the market for a spice grinder. Which spice grinder would you recommend?

  26. Itzel Degante


    I am wondering if you have ever made lemon bars if so could you maybe let me know the recipe or how to make it please.


    • Gaby

      there’s a lemon bar recipe in my Everyday California cookbook that’s amazing!

    • Itzel

      Ok thank you for that do I need to buy the book or no?

  27. Christina

    I bought your magazine when it came out a few weeks ago and am hooked. I meal plan every week now using only your recipes. They are delicious, healthy and pretty easy to make. Your bowls are so amazing, even my 9 year old loves them. And your vinaigrette and pizzas Thank you for entering my life haha

  28. Devin

    Do you have a post for “I’m in my first trimester, and all I want is carbs but I’m trying to stay healthy between the nausea waves?” 🙂 thanks!!

    • Gaby

      bahahahaha nope. I legit ate grilled cheese and mac and cheese for 12 weeks straight

  29. Susan McHenry

    Hi Gaby, I started following you on Instagram and now own 2 of your cookbooks! Trying to pace myself before I get the third. I love everything I have made so far. Currently, I am counting my calories each day and my one wish is that your books contained nutritional information for each recipe. Do you ever think you will include that info. in future books? I will still eat what I want :), but it would be so helpful to track it. Everything in moderation! Keep doing what you are doing and congrats on sweet Poppy! I also went through years of infertility and at 60, I am the proud mom to a 22 year old and twin 19 year olds! They keep me young!

  30. Carolyn

    Gaby, I am frustrated with the clutter near my stove of oil and vinegar bottles, salt and pepper. Do you use specific dispensers that don’t leak to store O&V and if so what kind, glass, porcelain? Trying to declutter and streamline what I need when cooking. I would put them in a pantry but I use every day so want something aesthetic and with quick access

  31. Sara Scarborough

    What store bought pizza dough do you recommend? The ones I’ve tried seem to be tough and hard to slice.

    • Gaby

      I love the ones from Eataly if you live in a city that has one! Or i make the recipe on my website!

  32. Sara Scarborough

    What store bought pizza dough do you recommend?

  33. sher

    You had a brunch menu awhile back that included a cocktail using the blood orange peach spritz and a dish using your This Is everything seasoning. I have lost the paper where I lad it listed and wondered if you could tell me what date or menu name that was…..I was ready to recreate it! Thanks. LOVE your recipe ideas

  34. denise tomaselli

    Hello Gaby,
    I love your website and your cooking live. Thomas does a wonderful job balancing filming and asking questions.

    What is your secret for transferring a pizza from the peel to the pizza oven. I am finding the dough is sticking to the peel.

    thank you, ~denise

    • Gaby

      we’ll do a pizza IG live soon and I can show you

  35. Kaitlin

    Are there any plans to start the podcast up again? I miss it so much!

  36. Carleen Winn

    Hi Gaby!
    Wondering if you can send me your recommendation for your outdoor pizza oven . Did not see it on your list .
    Thank you !!

    • Gaby

      Fontana Forni – we are obsessed! any of theirs are amazing

  37. Paula donahue

    I wanted to make your arugula, cucumber, peach and avocado salad but can’t find recipe!! Saw video. Thanks!! Looking forward to your summer salads!!

    • Gaby

      not on my website yet – soon! It’s just saved on IG Live

  38. Julie+Iantorno

    Where do you post the winner of the monthly cooking club?

    • Gaby

      I posted it on instagram! Will update the blog post too

  39. Carol

    Hi Gaby! Thank you for sharing so many delicious recipes, they have all been a big hit! I am planning a 50th beach birthday dinner picnic. I’m looking for something fun to make ahead of time that can be eaten cold. Any ideas?
    Thank you so much in advance!

  40. Nancy

    Can I add nuts (how much) to your double chocolate chip bread with zucchini?

  41. Carol Mulligan

    Gabys go to seasoning is there a recipe? What is in it? Can it be purchased?

  42. Jan

    What is the large flat grater that you use. I have tried to find one like that but haven’t had any luck. My mother used a similar version 100 years ago! Thanks!

  43. Jenny Massey

    Hi Gaby,,,,about a year ago I made an enchilada recipe from you that my dinner party friends said was the best EVER….it used HERDEZ roasted salsa verde as the enchilada sauce I believe… easy, and can’t remember if it was chicken or cheese and beans whatever….cannot find it on you recipe page. Can you help?

  44. JoAnn

    When selecting the “Print” option, doesn’t print. There’s no option to select Open in Browser either which typically then allows one to print.
    I love your recipes but would really rather I could print a copy rather than write it out by hand.
    I’ve submitted this comment before but each time I go back and try to print, nothing has changed. Please help