People Making Things

Cooking with Phillip Lim

5 months ago by

Cooking with Phillip Lim

I’ve admitted on this website before that I am not much of a cook. At all. Exhibit A: I’ve been living in the same apartment for two years and the oven has NEVER worked. And I’ve NEVER tried to fix it. I’m serious. I rarely even think about it. That is, until recently.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about breaking my takeout habit. It’s not so cool to be an adult who can’t cook for themselves, you know? Plus, takeout is expensive, unhealthy, packed in tons of little plastic containers, etc, etc…

So, it was perfect timing when I got invited to a cooking class with Phillip Lim, as part of Bergdorf Goodman’s Designers Off Duty series. The idea behind the series was to introduce designers to guests in a different way than the usual presentation or runway show, through their hidden talents or unique hobbies. Phillip Lim’s hidden talent is cooking.

I really admire creatives (we all do at the Atelier, if you haven’t noticed this month). I especially love creatives who can express themselves through different mediums. Phillip is definitely one of them. The cooking class centered around his recently launched cookbook, “More Than Our Bellies”.


The book was more of a personal project for Phillip than a business idea. As he told us during class, he first dabbled in cooking to remind himself of his mother and his childhood home. His relationship with food is summed up in the book’s opening line, “Food is like love to me; the love we dream about, the love we give and the love we receive. Love memories that sustain and nourish more than our bellies”.

One thing to note, the book is freaking gorgeous. He collaborated with his friend and photographer, Viviane Sassen, and the results are really inspiring. The images and warm-hearted sentiments kind of make me want to… cook something? I think it’s working.

During our class we learned how to make shrimp summer rolls with the most delicious sauce (no oven required, natch!). They were easy to learn, and super easy to eat. So easy, in fact, that I made them again at home the next weekend. I’ve officially added them to my repertoire, which prior to this recipe, included eggs and adding things to yogurt.

What I loved most about the class was not the cooking, but the sharing. I could tell that Phillip was very excited to share this part of himself with us. It was touching, personal, and unique. And that’s a huge part of cooking, isn’t it? As Phillip says, it nourishes more than our bellies.

Photo by Rhianydd Hylton

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