With the Nyala Foldover Clutch as our August product of the month, we couldn't resist sitting down with one of our favorite owners of it - Alyssa Ponticello, founder and eye behind Runway Chef. Los Angeles dweller, foodie, and traveler at heart, Alyssa encompasses so much of what we value here at Parker Clay. We loved getting to chat with her a bit, and we hope you will too!
Hey Alyssa! Tell us a little bit about yourself and what is behind the name Runway Chef? How do you currently spend your time?
Hello, hello! I am a born and raised East Coaster + Midwesterner, who moved from NYC to LA just a couple of years ago. I do product and food photography, recipe development, and content creation for brands, and run my website, Runway Chef. When I first started my site, it was more focused on just food and fashion, hence the name runway (for the fashion) and chef (for the food). However, these days I now cover everything from food to fashion to travel, home decor, clean beauty, and more.
We are so inspired by your feed, especially all of the amazing food you cook! What are a few of your go-to dishes during these summer months?
Thank you so much! Salads are big, especially a Mediterranean chopped salad (I just shared the recipe on my site, but we make it almost every day for lunch), lots of grilled fish, za’atar chicken, zucchini and corn on the cob, really anything that is light and fresh and just needs a little olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and some fresh herbs to complete it. Oh, and Fridays are always grilled pizza night in our household!
Where are you drawing inspiration from during this unique pandemic season that we’re all in?
I usually get the majority of my inspiration from traveling so I’m trying to find ways to mimic that whether it’s through movies, browsing coffee table books, listening to themed playlists, trying recipes, and food from other countries and places, going for drives through different neighborhoods or spending time exploring nature.
What are your favorite Parker Clay pieces, and why?
I adore all of my Bone colored pieces! The color is just so beautiful and dreamy! I think my absolute favorite, coincidentally is the product of the month, the Nyala Foldover Clutch! As soon as I got it, it became my go-to bag for going out for anything from coffee to happy hour. It's just such a great transitional and versatile piece, it's roomie enough to hold all of my essentials and I love that I can fold it and use it as a clutch or carry it as a bag. I also love my Abeba Leather Envelope to hold smaller items, like cards or cash and keys, and I can just take that if I'm running a quick errand, or throw it in a bigger bag when I'm more on-the-go/traveling. And, of course, I love my Omo Overnight Bag, which was my very first Parker Clay piece and how I discovered the brand and all of the incredible things y'all are doing!
What are your favorite neighborhoods to explore in LA, and what are a few of the must-hit spots to eat, drink, and play?
Not to be biased, but I really love where we live, on the west side of LA, so places like Venice and Santa Monica, even up to Malibu, are my favorites. Between the beaches, hikes, and great food, there’s just such a nice variety of things to do. A few favorites that come to mind include Gjelina, Élephante, Great White for an epic breakfast burrito, hiking at Los Leones (the views are amazing), and having a beach day in Malibu.
We use the phrase “We Go Together” a lot here at Parker Clay, referring to the importance of community in everything we do. What does community mean to you right now?
I think community is more important than ever. At a time that feels so tumultuous, having that community connection, to share the ups and downs with, to lean on, and to support each other through good and bad is vital.
How are you currently practicing self-care?
At the beginning of quarantine, we put a garden in our backyard, so I spend a lot of time in there as a way to unwind (weeding is weirdly therapeutic). I’ve also gotten into some old hobbies, like painting and drawing, I find baking very relaxing and I also love giving myself at-home facials.
Where is next on your travel bucket list when the time comes?
Where isn’t on the list next? I’m only sort of kidding! Currently, a few spots that come to mind include Tokyo, South Africa, Marrakech, Oaxaca, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives.
Follow along with Alyssa's adventures over at @runwaychef.