My Formula: Chef Joanas Riccardi on powering up with plants

My Formula: Chef Joanas Riccardi on powering up with plants

Originally from Northern Italy, at 25 years old, Joanas Riccardi moved to New York to study English where he began managing his friend's bar on the Lower East Side part-time. Five years later, he decided to go back to school and study Culinary Art at Plant Lab under Matthew Kenney’s direction and mentorship. In 2018, Joanas shifted his focus towards curating private plant-based dinners for brands such as Matchaful while also serving as a culinary advisor for Kioko bar and recipe developer for Sun Potion. 

Joanas journey into plant-based cuisine began out of necessity: since childhood, he has suffered from a liver condition called Gilbert’s disease. In order to control the symptoms of this disease, Riccardi became accustomed to maintaining a low sugar and low-fat diet at a young age.

Currently working as Culinary Director at Matchaful, Joanas Riccardi has a deep appreciation for the intricacies of plants. Balancing their colors, flavors and textures with minimal processing, he artistically plates his dishes to create edible works of art that are as rich in nutrition as they are in aesthetic.

We spoke to Joanas about how he energizes through the power of plants and he shared the easy and nutritious recipes he developed exclusively for The Nue Co. using ENERGY FOOD + PREBIOTIC.



Has your approach to food changed over the course of your career?

It has definitely changed so much; I used to only eat pasta, bread and refined sugars. Over the course of my career, I adapted myself and refined my techniques based on my body's needs. I started by integrating more raw and wholesome foods into my nutrition. I always try to eat food with minimal preparation so that my body absorbs all the nutrients and vitamins.

How did starting as Culinary Director for Matchaful impact your energy personally?

I think I started to believe in myself more and as a result, my creativity expanded. I have a lot more control over myself, my diet and my time. 

What ingredients are vital for energy levels?

From my personal experience, I always did well with cordyceps, maca and matcha and tons of leafy greens and microgreens. I found them essential on a daily basis.

Is drinking coffee detrimental in combating fatigue?

Coffee is a quick fix. In Italy, we drink espressos all day long. Growing up I was addicted to coffee but that changed for me once I began experimenting with other amazing foods that are also rich in caffeine. Matchaful has one of the highest quality matcha products on the market. Our matcha comes from a farm in Shizuoka, Japan. The tea is grown without pesticides and with a 100% organic fertilizer locally produced from organic food scraps. Most innovatively, the tea is grown under solar panels (rather than traditional shading) which helps to generate clean power for nearby homes. The caffeine in matcha impacts our brains, bodies and spirits in a different way than it does in other caffeinated beverages due to the presence of a natural amino acid in matcha, L-theanine, which induces relaxation and actually increases the quality of sleep. Matcha will give you a boost of energy like coffee but without the coffee jitters. Drinking or eating matcha regularly will improve your mental function and calm your mind.

How do portion sizes and meal times affect energy?

I like to maintain a schedule for my meals; I believe it’s important that your body has discipline and organization. In terms of meal portions, I can’t say too much. I try to listen to my body and my gut feeling as much as possible. I believe in building a close relationship with your stomach and paying attention to what it needs. 

How do you balance flavor with nutritional benefits in your recipes?

I think I trained my taste buds to enjoy clean flavors. I’ve never been a big fan of fried, creamy or intense flavors. Ever since I was a child, I loved the flavor of beets, carrots and cabbage. I was never a big fan of chicken and beef. I think what you eat as a child can influence your taste buds in adulthood. I always try to adapt my recipes to Italian and Mediterranean flavors while keeping them simple, gentle and clean on the palate. 

B12 is often highlighted as an important supplement for those with plant-based diets, how do you incorporate B12 into your cooking?

I usually incorporate ENERGY FOOD + PREBIOTIC which is a great B12 supplement in the morning with a smoothie, my yogurt or my overnight oats. I love to add B12 to my elixirs during the day as well. The Nue Co.'s supplements make it easy for me to incorporate B12 into my diet.

What is it about adaptogens that you love exploring?

What I love about adaptogens is the way they interact with your body. Adaptogens are incredible substances that help the body to adapt to stress, support normal metabolic functions and help restore balance. They create harmony in the body by strengthening the immune system, nervous system and glandular system. 

Top tips for preparing food to fuel at home?

- Use organic and local ingredients
- Eat according to the seasons
- Keep it simple and minimally processed
- Use foods that are rich in water
- Use foods that are nutrient-dense 
- Pick the right source of plant-protein (I love the PROBIOTIC PLANT PROTEIN)
- Use supplements and adaptogens
- Try to prepare at least your quinoa, milk and yogurt at home
- Listen to your body 


OVERNIGHT OATS

  • 1 cup plant-based milk
  • 3/4 cup oats 
  • 1 tbsp black chia seeds
  • 1 tsp ENERGY FOOD + PREBIOTIC
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or any other sweetener
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  1. Add all the ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Stir the ingredients until well combined.
  3. Let the ingredients rest in the fridge overnight.
  4. Enjoy it in the morning with fruits or granola.

OR

  1. Add all the ingredients except the oats and the chia seeds in a blender.
  2. Blend the ingredients until well incorporated.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Mix them well until fully incorporated.
  5. Let the ingredients rest in the fridge overnight.
  6. Enjoy it in the morning with fruits or granola.

WINTER HOT CHOCOLATE

  • 1 cup plant-based milk
  • 1 tsp ENERGY FOOD + PREBIOTIC
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • pinch cayenne powder or pinch cardamon
  • 1 tbs maple syrup or any other sweetener
  1. Add all the ingredients in a milk pot or saucepan.
  2. Warm the ingredients gently at a low temperature.
  3. Keep stirring until well combined.
  4. Enjoy it warm.