Looking to gain some cooking confidence? “Just get in there and try,” says foodie Amanda Fredrickson. 

Amanda took this ethos to Instagram with her wildly popular Fridge Foraging series. It was inspired by friends who were intimidated in the kitchen—both with cooking itself and the specialty ingredients they assumed they needed. “I wanted to show them, and anyone who tunes in,” she says, “that you can make a delicious meal using what you have in your fridge. The more you do it, the easier it will become—with the bonus of saving money and food waste!” 

It was a no brainer that Amanda should be a part of our first-ever print issue of the magazine. Let’s be honest–beautiful kitchens are totally our thing but putting them to good use can be intimidating. We really appreciate Amanda’s approach. Stock the fridge and pantry (no need for anything too crazy!) and learn a few basics, and you too can become a pro at home cooked meals.

In addition to sharing her kitchen genius with us, Amanda recently opened Radish, a fast-casual restaurant in Nashville that offers up healthy, tasty meals. In the mag, she shares a taste, but we wanted you to get to know her a bit better. Editor-in-chief Kelli Lamb recently sat down with Amanda to learn more.

I’d love to know a bit about your background. When did you discover your love of cooking? 
I am originally from South Florida and have lived in NY, SF, and LA. Currently I live in Nashville with my 2 kids and husband. 

I have always been interested in cooking and food, and that was really fostered when I moved to San Francisco. Everywhere you turn in the Bay Area there is some type of amazing food, it is just part of the life out there. I discovered farmer’s markets and local food and just fell in love. I never thought I could make a career out of working in the food world until I saw how intertwined food and life was in the Bay Area.

What was your career path? 
After working in the nonprofit world for a number of years, I quit my job and went to cooking school. It was something I had always dreamed of. From there I landed in the Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen. I worked in the Test Kitchen for 2 ½ years developing recipes for their catalog. From there, I jumped into the freelance world where I have written cookbooks and now own a restaurant. 

What do you love most about what you do?
I love a couple things about what I do. I love inspiring (I hope!) people to cook and use what they have in their fridges – basically making cooking accessible and approachable for everyone.  I also love working for myself and making up my career as I go. It can be very challenging at times but also super fulfilling.

What inspired your Fridge Foraging series on Instagram? What has surprised you most about the series? 
Fridge Foraging was inspired by a couple things but mostly friends that were super smart and accomplished would come to me and say they were too scared to cook because they knew they were going to mess up dinner or they didn’t have time to go to all the specialty groceries stores for the perfect ingredients. I wanted to show them, and anyone who tunes in, that you can make a delicious meal using what you have in your fridge. The more you do it, the easier it will become—with the bonus of saving money and food waste!

What would you tell new (or nervous) home cooks as they’re getting started? 
Most of cooking is just confidence to get in there and try! The more you do it, the easier it will be. Just keep doing it and I promise it will get easier. Also make sure to go to trusted sources for recipes and technique. Just because a recipe looks beautiful and is perfectly styled on the internet does not mean it will work. 

When you renovated your kitchen, what were some of your must-haves? What do you love most about the space? 
Functionality was the most important thing. I needed a kitchen that not only looked nice but was actually good for cooking. Pretty much the day after we finished the renovation, I shot my entire cookbook in it – which was cooking over 90 recipes over the course of 9 days. We really broke it in, and it stood up really well to all that cooking. 

One of the most important things I wanted was counter space and an under counter sink. The kitchen had an above counter sink before. It drove me crazy because it was so hard to clean! 

What is in the “Amanda Frederickson” starter kit? What tools or ingredients do you think every kitchen needs? 
I am of the mindset that less is more when it comes to equipment in the kitchen. I think having a cast iron fry pan, Dutch oven, and a nonstick pan is all you need, and a one really good chef’s knife. The rest is just extra. 

Tell us about Radish. What is the concept and what was it like opening in a pandemic?  
Radish is a fast casual healthy restaurant that serves salads, grain bowls, and wraps. We make almost everything in house with the goal of serving fresh healthy food fast. 

My husband and I moved from Los Angeles to Nashville three years ago and while we loved the food scene and all of the fantastic restaurants here, we missed the ability to quickly grab a healthy tasty meal. That type of fast casual concept didn’t exist here. I kept waiting for someone to open one because it seemed like such an obvious need and when I realized no one was going to do it, I decided to do it myself.  Two years later I am now a restaurant owner and absolutely love it. 

Although I wouldn’t recommend opening a restaurant in a pandemic, we don’t know anything different. We opened August 2020! I keep on saying that if we can make it through the pandemic, everything else will be easy. Fortunately, our type of food lends itself to takeout and delivery. 

What has brought you the most joy since Radish opened its doors? 
I love that people outside my immediate family get to eat my food. I love every single thing on the menu, and it really brings me joy to see other people enjoying it. 

What is your favorite item on the menu? 
It changes weekly but right now I am really digging our Caesar dressing. We make all of our dressings from scratch every day and when I developed the Caesar dressing, I knew it had to be spot on since that is such a classic salad dressing. I love our Caesar grain bowl with sweet potatoes and avocado and extra dressing. I also love our frozen yogurt. We also make that from scratch, and I could eat it all day, every day. (I might actually do that, so don’t tell anyone!)