FROM COSMETICS TO GASTRONOMY
Meet guest Mermaid Juliana Lepan, a natural French beauty who left the corporate cosmetic world to work in gastronomy, her true passion. Here she shares with us what called her to makes life changes, her reasons for choosing organic, her mission-based career and the joy found with family and food.
What called you to pivot from working in the beauty world to gastronomy?
I was passionate about food from a very young age, I graduated with a baking diploma in France during my free time when working in the beauty industry. However I was searching for a bigger personal quest and had to ask myself what was my cause. I could not see the positive impact I was truly bringing to our clients. Being more beautiful from a physical and subjective perspective was not meaningful to me at that time. The company I work for now is truly using business as a force for good. We are supporting artisans and chefs since 1922 and are always developing new products to help them resolve their challenges. The quest of sense is super tangible at VALRHONA and I am proud of what is used inside our products. www.valrhona-ensemble.fr
How has this change of industry impacted your life?
The impact has been extremely positive. Bridges were easy to make in the transition. I feel that was due to the fact I have previously worked in the beauty retail sector for hair stylist professionals and the comparison of problems that can arise with chefs can be quite similar. My main focus is always to think about how to be more efficient and at the same time how to make my clients happy.
What are your favourite aspects of working with a luxury chocolatier?
The tastings are amazing, travelling to cocoa plantations worldwide to meet the cocoa producers along with learning and understanding their needs is part of the experience, Plantations are in 16 countries around the equatorial line. It’s a pleasure to have met chefs Pierre Hermé, Chris Galvin, Christophe Michalak, Paul A Young and immersing in their universe. The passion we put into everything we do is in complete alignment with our mission, which is to implement a collective movement of cocoa, chocolate and gastronomy together to move the lines towards a fair and sustainable cocoa world and inspire a gastronomy that looks good, tastes good and does good.
One of our missions is to provide our mermaids with emotionally uplifting experiences. Do you have a favourite food or ingredient that always brings you a feeling of joy?
Dulcey chocolate which is a white caramelized chocolate, so addictive! We also call it the 4th colour of chocolate.
Do you have a place in the world where you associate with joy?
I would say Sainte-Anne in Guadeloupe, the island where my Father was born, where we use to spend many summers, with beautiful landscapes, clear paradise beaches, mountains, with an especially strong personality. People there are not fake. A bit rude sometimes but really authentic.
Do you incorporate organic ingredients in your cooking? If so, tell us why this is important to you.
Yes it is important for me because above the fact that it is more healthy, I want to support a model that banishes pesticides which are toxic for the people and the planet.
Seaweed is our beauty hero ingredient. Do you have a favourite seaweed-based dish or recipe?
I enjoy Japanese seaweed salad
Do you incorporate organic ingredients in your beauty rituals? If so, tell us why this is important to you.
I like to use organic skin products for the same reasons, to cut out toxins on my skin and to be kinder to the planet. I always use a moisturizing cream in the morning after having washed my face with water. Then I add a bit of mascara and pink lipstick. Sometimes, I use a night recovery serum to hydrate my skin when needed (winter mainly).
Since leaving the corporate beauty industry, did your beauty rituals change? If so, tell us why.
I used to use the products of the brand I was working for. But now, with pregnancy, the birth of two children and a change of industry, I go towards more simple, pure, natural, organic products, with effective ingredients and strong mission. I still use the same number of products, they are just better chosen according to my organic values.
Do you have a favourite way to start the day?
What are you reading at the moment?
“Let My People Go Surfing” from Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia.
What is your favourite self-nourishment ritual?
How do you unwind at the end of the day?
Hanging out with my children.
What is your instant mood booster?
To laugh, being surrounded by joyful, positive people.
What is your favourite aroma?
White flower/lily of the valley