Welcome to Creative Closeup, an ongoing series where we spend time with inspiring women learning about their creative practice, the spaces they inhabit and how their work influences their style choices.
This month, our conversation led us to NYC, where we chatted with culinary artist Maryah Ananda, who brings an elevated level of creativity to her recipe creation. Find out more about how design is a through-line through her work and style, how her background influenced her path forward and what is the best music for cooking.
Q: How do you define being a culinary artist?
A: For me personally, it's creativity and expression through food. Food is a blend of function and design. To be able to play with sustenance in an artful, joyous tone. We paint, weave, install, just like an artist would on a canvas.
Q: How did you develop an interest in cooking?
A: My mom and dad were very interested in food. My mom went to culinary school and is a wonderful baker, and my dad used to be a restaurant consultant, so it was always around me. I started to explore it during the pandemic when I had more free time to get curious in the kitchen. Moving to New York also excelled my interest in cooking, because I saw people that looked like me doing what I wanted to do. I was exposed to seasonal produce I've never tried before growing up in South Florida. So, wandering around the farmers market is something I still do to get inspiration.
Q: Does working with food influence your style?
A: Yes, the colors and textures of the seasons definitely inspire my wardrobe.
Q: You also DJ. How do you find that your interest in music fits in with you’re a: cooking?
Yes, I do, but more on a personal level. I think music and food share this powerful universal energy that creates a home within our hearts, that we can feel with our entire bodies.
Q: Do you have a cooking playlist or select songs in advance to listen to while you are creating recipes?
A: I usually listen to "Bossa Nova"; Astrud Gilberto is my favorite artist. I feel so centered in my body when I listen to her while cooking at home. If I'm preparing for a dinner or pop up I definitely need something more upbeat like disco or even 90s/early 2000s throwbacks to get me through long days.
Q: What draws you to Merlette?
A: I love Merlette's simple styles but with an elegant twist.
Q: As a female entrepreneur, what does it mean to you to work with female founded brands?
A: It's super important for me to work with not only brands founded by women, but also women of color. I'm Black and Asian so finding ways to collaborate with my fellow peers there feels good. It's nice to lift each other up in that way.
Q: How would you describe your personal style?
A: My personal style is however I'm feeling that day, haha. Could be a hoodie and jeans or a beautiful print dress with cowboy boots. I just flow with the energy of the moment.
Q: How did you style your Merlette pieces for this shoot?
A: I styled this shoot with a play on elevated basics. Thought of timeless pieces that can be owned forever and brought that vibe into this shoot.
Photographed by Shana Trajanoska