Healthyish: The Muay Thai Fighter With a Flair For Vegan Baking

How Watt Sriboonruang moved to NYC and fell in love with her home country's national sport.
Photos by Alex Lau
“I brought you a coconut water,” says Watt Sriboonruang handing me a metal water bottle. “I cracked it this morning.” We’re sitting on the edge of a boxing ring at Kings Thai Boxing in Midtown NYC, unwrapping our hands after a Muay Thai class. We sit in silence drinking, waiting for the coconut water to provide relief from the thirst and heat in our sweaty bodies. Her expression is calm—the sweat on her face and on her white tank top are the only signs of exertion. If she’s tired, she has a really good game face.

Sriboonruang is an amateur Muay Thai fighter in New York City and the founder of Rawsome Treats, a raw, vegan dessert business. Her first fight was in Philadelphia in 2010, when she was 33-years-old, the age when most fighters are retiring because the sport is so physically brutal on the body. It is literally young man’s game, with Thai Buddhist tradition dictating that women should not stand in the ring. It is only in recent history that women have started competing in the national stadiums. Sriboonruang has had 10 fights so far, a formible accomplishment.

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Cherry Bombe Magazine: Don't Lick the Art


Celebrated cake creator Margaret Braun ponders art and permanence.


2,000 Sugar Cups is the title and goal of Margaret Braun’s installation at New York’s Museum of Art and Design. Since June, she has been an  artist-in-residence there, handcrafting drinking cups, made exclusively of edible sugar materials like pastillage and royal icing. MAD’s Artist Studios program allows the public to see her work up close. Every Tuesday, people visit the sweet-smelling, glass-walled space with curiosity and questions.

Are they edible? Yes. Can you use them? They have a negotiable functionality. Why 2,000? “It’s a number I know. I made 2,000 cakes for the royal wedding in the middle east,” says Margaret. “It’s a balance of a big intimidating number that’s just about human scale.”

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NY Sun: From Dishwasher to Pasta Expert

2833_largeA Voce Restaurant serves about 100 pounds of fresh pasta each week. But as with most Italian restaurants in New York City, the penne, spaghetti, and ravioli are not made by Italian grandmothers or celebrity chefs. They are made by a little-known force of dishwashers and porters turned pastamasters.

At A Voce, the much-lauded pasta is made in-house by Jose Guermos, a prep cook who has become an expert in handmade pasta under the watchful eye of chef Andrew Carmellini. "There are prepguy dynasties in the city," Mr. Carmellini said, while sipping an espresso on the terrace of A Voce. He recalled the Vargas dynasty in the 1980s and '90s, when 10 family members worked at Lespinasse, Le Cirque, and Aureole. "Chefs keep them a secret, because you don't want someone to find out about them and steal them."

In 1999, Mr. Guermos was dishwasher at Café Boulud, where Mr. Carmellini was chef de cuisine. Pasta became increasingly popular on the menu, and Mr. Carmellini asked if Mr. Guermos wanted to learn to make it. "I had no cooking experience before," Mr. Guermos said. "But I said ‘I'll try.'"

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Gilt Taste: Wine Panel

Launched in May 2011, Gilt Taste was a revolutionary hybrid of magazine conent and culinary commerce. An online market of artisan foods, cookware and wines from around the world, were complimented with recipes from chefs and culinary experts, and thoughtful and original stories from writers like Ruth Reichl, Francis Lam, and Melissa Clark.

Gilt Taste was a part of the Gilt Groupe. Founded in 2007, Gilt is a pioneer and industry leader in the online flash sale space. 

Jkl wine panel

Jennfer Leuzzi by The Gilt Taste Kitchen  August 23, 2011

What's the best way to start learning about wine?

Drink it! Note what you like and what you don’t like and you’ll start to have a base knowledge of your favorites, which are much more important than anyone else’s.

Tell us about a memorable wine or wine related experience.

When I had my PR company, I planned a trip to Bordeaux and visited all the premier Grand Cru Châteaux (d'Yquem, Margaux, Latour, Laffite, Pétrus!). The trip was in October, during harvest, and it was almost cinematic from my point of view. Much of what I know about winemaking I picked up then—along with an intense love for Château Cheval Blanc, which was the only big red I tasted in barrel that I found palatable and delicious (when it’s been in the bottle for a bit, it’s spectacular).

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The New York Sun: Archives

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Jennifer Leuzzi Archive at NY Sun 

Introducing the African Brasserie
February 6, 2008, Food and Drink section

Chefs' Christmas Menus
December 19, 2007, Food and Drink section

Chefs' Last Suppers
October 31, 2007, Food and Drink section

Where Food Is on the Marquee
September 19, 2007, Food and Drink section

Cordial Invitations
September 5, 2007, Food and Drink section

A Steak in the Family Business
August 22, 2007, Food and Drink section

When Mercury Is on the Menu
July 25, 2007, Food and Drink section

From Dishwasher to Pasta Expert
June 13, 2007, Food and Drink section

TV Dinners
June 6, 2007, Food and Drink section

A Bubbly Treat
May 30, 2007, Food and Drink section

Best in Chow
April 25, 2007, Food and Drink section

Central Park's New Chef
March 28, 2007, Food and Drink section

Pastry Chefs Prepare for the Main Course
February 14, 2007, Food and Drink section

The Taste Of the West
January 17, 2007, Food and Drink section

Restaurant Openings For 2007
January 10, 2007, Food and Drink section

The Year in Eats
December 27, 2006, Food and Drink section

Gordon Ramsay Lands in New York
November 15, 2006, Food and Drink section

November Restaurant Openings
November 1, 2006, Food and Drink section

A Well-Timed Spa Vacation Just Before Boarding
October 30, 2006, Travel section

Michelin Makes Its List
October 25, 2006, Food and Drink section

Chefs, Exhale: Zagat Makes Its Appearance Today (But the Michelin Guide Looms)
October 11, 2006, Food and Drink section

New York's King of Hospitality
October 4, 2006, Arts+ section

October Restaurant Openings
October 4, 2006, Food and Drink section

The City's Next Flavors
September 20, 2006, Food and Drink section

Opening in September
September 20, 2006, Food and Drink section

The City's Mecca for Epicureans
August 30, 2006, Food and Drink section

When Salt Dresses Up
August 23, 2006, Food and Drink section

A Top Chef Arrives in New York (Finally)
August 9, 2006, Food and Drink section

A 4-Star Farm
July 24, 2006, Travel section

A Taste of the Future (Maybe)
July 12, 2006, Food and Drink section

In Las Vegas, the Stars Are Out
June 28, 2006, Food and Drink section

The Pitmaster Parade
June 9, 2006, Food and Drink section

Le Cirque's Incarnation Is About To Be Tested
May 17, 2006, Food and Drink section

The New Chef in Town
May 10, 2006, Food and Drink section

Ian Schrager Finds 'an Antidote to Living in a Busy City'
May 4, 2006, Real Estate+ section

May 4, 2006, Real Estate+ section

A Feast For the Eyes
April 19, 2006, Arts+ section

King of the E.U.
April 5, 2006, Food and Drink section

Restaurant Forecast (Plus New Spring Drinks)
March 22, 2006, Food and Drink section

Crowds Swamp Trader Joe's as It Opens in City
March 20, 2006, New York section

Al Fresco at A Voce
March 1, 2006, Food and Drink section

The First Serving at Morimoto
January 25, 2006, Food and Drink section

Third Time's a Charm
January 4, 2006, Food and Drink section

Next Wave Italian
December 28, 2005, Food and Drink section


Town & Country: High End Extravagence at Joël Robuchon Las Vegas


I’ve often felt that the true test of a restaurant’s design is not so much how the space looks but how you feel sitting in it. While a great meal these days still means good food and fine wine, today more than ever, it may be comfort food or fusion cuisine served in an environment filled with denim and sneakers. So the million-­dollar question for the adventurous chef is, Can you create a high-end tour de force that will nonetheless be appealing in a casual world?

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Fodor's: Fashion Forward in London

In this issue: Seattle, Oahu, London, and Los Angeles...

Eat: A gelato master lands in L.A. Frozen treats in Los Angeles are usually zero-calories, but not at the Gelato Bar in Studio City. Made fresh daily, flavors range from traditional chocolate chip to original combinations like the Veneziana, with ribbons of bittersweet chocolate and candied orange. Sorbetto, savory and sweet snacks, espresso, and roasted coffees round out the menu. Everything about the place is authentically Italian, from the bar to the gelato case to the Venetian gelato master turning out the fine flavors. 4342 1/2 Tujunga Avenue, Studio City.


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Epicurious: Coconut Cake Recipe

DownloadedFileCoconut Cake by Jennifer Leuzzi

Coconut Cakefork user ratingfork user rating

100%would make it again



95saved to recipe box


Yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings

This recipe's a family favorite from my Auntie Delores. It's actually a version of bibingka, a Pilipino dessert. I call it coconut cake, because I don't know how to translate "bibingka" into French, and Laurent and I mostly speak French. At home we simply cut it into squares. For a fancy restaurant-style presentation, you can cut it into various shapes using cookie cutters. If you want to cut out shapes, lining the cake pan with parchment paper will make it easier to unmold the cake. Packages of coconut are usually 14 ounces, but an ounce or two more or less won't make a difference.

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Epicurious: Roast Chicken Recipe


Roast Chicken by Jennifer Leuzzi

Roast Chickenfork user rating4fork user rating

95%would make
it again

624saved to
recipe box


Yield: Makes 2 to 4 servings

Now that I'm married to a chef (Laurent Gras), the inevitable question from friends is, "What do you cook for your husband when he's such a whiz in the kitchen?" Well, I always joke that I'm the Sunday sous-chef, as I'm the one making supper on the day of rest. Here's a roast chicken recipe of mine that seems to meet with his approval.

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New York Magazine: Chef Kiss-and-Tell Gives Ducasse Indigestion


The young chef-author of a new tell-all memoir about four-star restaurants is being accused of cooking his facts. The Seasoning of a Chef: My Journey From Diner to Ducasse and Beyond was written by Doug Psaltis, 31, and his twin brother Michael. Alain Ducasse’s spokesperson says that many of the book’s most colorful anecdotes never occurred: Ducasse never threw a chair during a meeting at the Essex House, and he was not unrecognized and locked out of Mix by staff. Jeffrey Chodorow’s name never appears, but he was quick to dismiss the chapters on Mix by noting that he got the number of seats in the restaurant wrong (there are “90, not 65”). And don’t get Anthony Bourdain started. “God knows, I’ve talked a lot of shit over the years about other chefs,” he says. But “Psaltis has done his subjects, his readers, and himself a disservice by painting himself as being without fault.” Chodorow says, “The sad fact is, the only reason that anyone was interested in this book is because of the opportunity Alain Ducasse gave him. I find the lack of respect shown to him and his organization, let alone to ours, unfortunate, but not that surprising, knowing Mr. Psaltis.” Michael Psaltis responds, “There are criticisms, but how could you paint a more loving portrait of a man? Doug considers Ducasse his mentor.”

Originally published in New York Magazine.