How Leanne Citrone Is Whipping Up Her Second Act
The pandemic undoubtedly sparked change within many of us, but for Citrone, quarantine helped nurture her underlying passion for food. “Because the salon was closed during COVID-19 and I was home so much, I was cooking like a crazy person,” she says. If you scroll through her new website (which essentially acts as a virtual recipe book filled with images guaranteed to make you salivate), you’ll quickly notice that hair isn’t the only thing Citrone is great at chopping.
Capturing her homemade dishes and posting them for all the world to see started well before social distancing was added to the modern lexicon. “I looked at all these kids with amazing Instagram followings and I knew I couldn’t compete with that, so I never posted hair pictures,” says Citrone. “I started posting food photos and everyone at work encouraged me to post more. It really grew because of the people around me.”
These days, her colleagues primarily consist of her husband, two children, and dog Lottie. Her confidence in the kitchen, however, has continued to rise. “When I first started cooking, I took classes from Pamela Salzman who is amazing and If the recipe said I needed a tablespoon of dried rosemary and I didn’t have it, I couldn’t even fathom going rogue,” says Citrone. “Whereas now, I can’t imagine following a recipe. For me, that was a huge achievement.”
Transitioning from one creative outlet to another after two decades of doing hair is certainly an adjustment, but she’s not the first in her family to make a drastic career move. “My great grandfather started working as an undertaker before he went into barbering,” says Citrone, who comes from a long line of hairdressers (her dad, sister, aunt, and uncle were all in the biz). “My grandmother came from a family of 10 kids and eight of them did hair,” she adds.
Her best advice for novice chefs: "Just keep trying. The more you cook, the better it gets. Of course there are some recipes where you’re like, ‘I’m never making that again,’ but there are other things you can adapt, change, and make your own.”
Her go-to spot for fresh ingredients: "The Hollywood Farmers’ Market. I go every Sunday. I used to go with a recipe, but now I buy whatever looks good. We live in an age where you can Google and figure out how to use anything. There are millions of options and recipes out there!”
Her pantry staples: "Good olive oil. Good salt. Good vinegar. I like Bariani Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Fini Modena Organic Red Wine Vinegar, and Selina Naturally Fine Ground Celtic Sea Salt.”
Her most requested recipe: "The recipe I get hit up for most is my chicken soup. It’s Jewish penicillin.”
Her must-have tool: "A good knife. I love the six-inch Miyabi knife.”
Her quick dinner fix: "Sugarfish or a 10-minute pasta with fresh tomato and garlic.”
Her favorite place to make reservations: "Craig’s. I love their vegan spaghetti Bolognese and chocolate pizza.”
Her food aversion: "I hate avocado. It’s a sin and people get really upset. I don’t even know if I should admit it, but I’ll pick it out of sushi. I think it’s the texture because I also don’t like almond butters or bananas, but I do love mashed potatoes!”
Her treasured family recipe: "Our Christmas is very authentically British. My mom used to make a Christmas pudding where you pour brandy on top and set it on fire. It’s super fun. I used to buy one from England and have it shipped over, but the past few years I’ve started making it. I literally start the process in October. It takes a long time because the fruit has to sit in the alcohol. It requires major preparation. It takes a month.”
Her must-try summer dishes: Garbanzo and cucumber salad. Tostada with halibut ceviche. Spiraled zucchini with garlic and pasta. Creamy, cheesy, dreamy potatoes.
Her future food goals: "I always loved to bake, but when I had kids I realized I couldn’t make extravagant cakes and give them boxed mac and cheese. I sort of pushed myself away from baking and into food. If given the opportunity, I’d probably bake more.”
Her beverage of choice: "I’m big on hydration. I get my chlorophyll drops from Erewhon. I’ve always been into chlorophyll and a few weeks ago my daughter, who is a TikTok queen, raided my stash. I realized that TikTok is having this massive chlorophyll moment. I was ahead of the curve for once!”
Her beauty essentials: "I love a good serum, like Heraux’s Molecular Anti-Inflammaging Serum. I use Jao Goe Oil on my hands and feet. Skin Trip Coconut Moisturizer is also great.”
Her dream dinner companion: "The Queen, obviously, because I’m British. I would have her for tea and make her a lemon cake and some scones. I’d go full English for her.”
Written by Amber Kallor
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