Cooks at Home: Yara Shoemaker
Growing up in Damascus, Syria, Yara Shoemaker spent much of her childhood in the kitchen or at the markets with her mother and grandmother. The farm-fresh fare from the bakeries and butcher shops in Western Asia had an uplifting effect on her mood, her complexion, and her overall health. So, when Shoemaker relocated to the United States seven years ago, she was jolted by the boxed and processed foods she saw on the grocery shelves. She knew getting back to culinary basics was essential for Americans, and that wisdom has been the basis of her business, a women’s lifestyle website called Yara’s Way! (yarasway.com).
“I wanted to combine the traditional way of cooking with the modern way of living,” says Shoemaker, who is a former esthetician, model, and posh clothing boutique owner. “Healthy cooking is kind of in my blood, so I want to show people how to read labels and understand what’s in their food.”
Launched in March, the online resource includes recipes, beauty and holistic health secrets, and travel and wedding recommendations. Shoemaker’s book, Health On Your Plate, will be available in January. Readers will glean insights about fruitful, luxury living from a woman who teaches by example.
Shoemaker’s day-to-day routine usually begins at 6 a.m. with a breakfast of yogurt and granola with her husband, Dr. David Shoemaker, the CEO and director of cataract and lens replacement surgery for the Center for Sight. The Shoemakers sip coffee on the dock of their waterfront Sarasota home, watch the sun rise, and listen to the chirping birds before heading off to their respective workplaces.
Yara Shoemaker’s office is adjacent to her residence and houses three staff members who do her hair and makeup for on-camera sessions, shoot her cooking videos, edit her recipes, and update her website. At sunset, Yara Shoemaker embarks on her sunset beach walks before returning home to cook dinner in what she calls her “second office” (the kitchen).
“I cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. I don’t ever write lists. I just buy, put everything on the counter and try to invent dishes,” she says. “I’m vegetarian, so there are always salads in the kitchen, and I like to make them fun with beans, broccoli, bulgur wheat, and all kinds of ingredients.”
Shoemaker purchases these ingredients at Jessica’s Organic Farmstand and the Sarasota Farmers’ Market, and incorporates seasonal produce into homemade dressings and soups.
“Traditional Syrian food is very healthy and simple, and I keep my cooking that way,” she says. “You don’t need all kinds of chemicals and preservatives in your body. You will look and feel much better without it.”yarasway.com.