• Alissa Wagner's Pantry •
Miso, Kate Bush, hummus, EVOO. These are a few of Alissa Wagner's favorite things (ours too, tbh). You may know her from Dimes, the vibey cafe and market of our dreams, where she's the chef and co-owner along with Sabrina De Sousa (fun fact: you can also get Dimes delivered to your door via Caviar).
Inspired by her background in painting, Alissa has paved the way intersecting visual design with the food experience in her career. Her diverse food style and contemporary aesthetic is nothing short of inspiring, and her home kitchen is all that and more: she’s also a mother of two so functionality reigns supreme. Peek into this colorful pantry where composing a veggie bowl is an art form and nutritional yeast is an absolute staple.
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“My basic cooking philosophy is to always keep it seasonal, fresh, and balanced. I’m a mom to two toddlers so when I cook at home I’m all about planning ahead and keeping certain pantry staples (lots of lemon juice, a signature spice mix stored in oil, frozen homemade bone broth) in stock at all times to make meals come together quickly and easily while still having tons of flavor.
How I find inspiration: I wander aimlessly in the Dimes Market studying all of the inventory and then pore over “The Flavor Bible” - an encyclopedia of produce and ideal pairings. This gets the ball rolling until something small catches my eye. Then the idea kind of tumbleweeds into existence.
markets & shopping
I’m pretty spoiled by co-owning the Dimes Market in Chinatown, which specializes in local produce and thoughtfully selected pantry items. I tend to stock up at the end of a work day before running home to get my kids. There are definitely some staples I always make sure to have at home. Keeping a variety of grains on hand is key- right now I’m really into the maftoul and freekeh by Canaan Palestine. I use miso pretty liberally so you will always find a container of Miso Master mellow miso in my fridge. Lacinato kale from Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op is such a versatile and healthy green, whether eaten raw in a salad of blended in a smoothie, or simply sautéed and thrown in some grains or under some grilled fish. I wash it and chop it as soon as I get home so it’s always ready to go.
Illadia Extra Virgin Olive oil for cooking/La Vucciria Extra Virgin Olive oil for finishing
Mild Yellow Curry powder from Dual Specialty in the East Village
Dwight Miller Orchards organic apple cider vinegar
Organic canned chickpeas (guilty 🙂)
Standard issue restaurant supply mandoline
Microplane (without grip!!! Very important)
Kuhn Rikon peeler (purple please)
Vitamix blender (a completely worth-it splurge)
I own a lot of cookbooks and never use them but I refer to “The Flavor Bible” often as I mentioned above. I learned to cook professionally when I went to culinary school ten years ago (I attended the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC) and have been co-owner and chef at Dimes since 2013. I cook intuitively and playfully - it’s a constant process. There’s always something new to learn and ways to improve my skills and fine tune my taste and aesthetic. I love collaborating with other chefs because it’s a great way to move out of my comfort zone and discover new territory.”
To Sum it Up:
pantry item she can't live without: miso
one or two items that are always in her fridge: bone broth, lemon juice
her go-to inspiration cookbook: The Flavor Bible by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen A. Page
her most trusted kitchen tool: mandoline
5 adjectives that describe her pantry style: spicy, inspired, functional, diverse, organized chaos
her favorite music to jam out to in the kitchen: Kate Bush, Ariel Pink
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PS! Did you know that Dimes is on Caviar? Head here to support one of our all time fave womxn-powered businesses & get free delivery by using PINEAPPLE at checkout!