We chatted to Kyra de Vreeze about her work and life as a chef, author and photographer. All of her texts and photographs reflect her love for plant based food and seasonal slow living. She combines taste with style and ethics with aesthetics. Both at work and at home. Kyra lives in Utrecht with her husband Yoshi and their daughter Lou.
What does slow living mean to you? ‘To me, slow living is a lifestyle. It is about following your natural pace. You pay attention to the things you do. And you listen carefully to your very own needs. What truly makes you happy?’
How do you find out what it is you need? ‘Because the rest of the week is like a puzzle to put together, every Sunday is about solid rest. No social media. No email. No plans. I don’t force anything. So I won’t tell myself to clean the house either. If I don’t want to do anything, I won’t do anything.’
How does an average Sunday look like? ‘Lou usually wakes up around seven and joins us in bed. My husband and I drink a cup of coffee. Lou enjoys a piece of fruit or reads a book. If she is “done sleeping,” we go downstairs in our bathrobes. We simply relax and play a bit. When the sun is out, we put on our warm coats and go out to have brunch. Sitting on a terrace, with a cup of coffee and a slice of vegan, raw pie: that’s the ultimate luxury if you ask me.
What happens next? ‘We go for a walk in the forest. Or play some vinyl records at home. I find the music of Ólafur Arnalds truly beautiful. So peaceful. Sometimes I spend my Sunday reading articles I bumped into during the week. Or I work a little bit on the balcony. Prepping pots. Planting seeds. Growing edible flowers. Other Sundays I open a book, then figure out I don’t feel like reading and decide to just stare a bit out of the window.’
You like to be bored. ‘They say that people who are bored, are boring. Nowadays everything needs to have meaning, a goal. However, I believe the most creative ideas pop up when you’re bored. Sometimes, when I feel stuck, I like to do the dishes. Simply because it’s so lame. I’m totally running on autopilot. That’s when I start dreaming. And when my mind drifts off, I suddenly find the solution.’
What are you working on right now? ‘After writing several lifestyle books, my very first recipe book is coming out in May. It combines old favourites with brand new recipes. Some existing recipes are now simplified. I looked at them and thought; hey, now you’re making things unnecessary difficult. You don’t need much to eat healthy and delicious food.’
For the first time you’re in charge of the design and photography. ‘I now know better what I like. And what is important to me. That’s why I wanted to be completely in charge. I teamed up with entrepreneurs who are on the same level of understanding. For example, I asked somebody I deeply admire to do the design of the book. And I shot some recipes with By Mölle table linnen. I love the natural tones and soft fabrics. The atmosphere is just right. It looks beautiful, without being too composed. As if I've just pulled a towel from a drawer.’
How would you describe your style? 'Minimalistic. I like natural materials such as wood, linen and cotton. No worries, you’re not sitting on a piece of wood in our house. It has to be comfortable too. But I like to have enough space at home. Sometimes, when people visit us for the first time, they go like: ‘you guys just moved?’ Errr… Nope! We live here for more than four years now.’
Do you also have enough space in your agenda? ‘Since I’m a mother, I work much more efficiently. I give my full, undivided attention to everything I do. Before, I used to work six days a week, but I could spent three hours on Facebook without a problem. That doesn’t happen anymore. I maybe work less, but I get done just as much. Maybe even more.’
Let’s wrap it up. Do you have a tip for our readers? ‘Look for silence every now and then. If you constantly have noise around you, you can’t listen to others anymore. Let alone yourself. By spending more time in silence, you discover who you are, what you want and what is healthy for you. Because that’s different for everybody.’