If you take a cooking class with Omei Eaglerider—also known as Chef O, and the executive chef instructor at Fry’s Signature Marketplace Cooking School at Tatum and Shea boulevards—take time to ask her about her life as she shares her recipes and cooking tips.
Multitalented, she’s not only a culinary artist, but had an art career in the film industry too—she’s won an Academy Award for Titanic, an Emmy Award for Miracle Landing, and an American Music Award for Michael Jackson’s Black or White. These collaborative awards were all for special effects.
“I was a special effects artist and built hard model physical structures, that would often times have an action element to them,” she explains. “For example, we would get to blow them up—now how fun is that?! This was before computers were used for special effect.
“At first glance, it seems that these two paths are very different, but for me food and cooking are another art form. Cooking is part science, part technical skills, and a lot of creativity, so the transition from movie work to chef isn’t as big of a shift as one may think.”
Chef O was drawn to cooking from a young age, sharing that some of her earliest memories involve being in the kitchen with her family. After culinary school she was a private chef and caterer both with her own company in the Valley as well as others, had a bakery in Downtown Glendale, and a coffeehouse in Arcadia.
At Fry’s, she handles all aspects of the school, including writing the schedules, menus and recipes; community projects; and teaching classes.
“I love helping people gain confidence in the kitchen,” she says.
SPRING GREEN SHAKSHUKA
1/2 bunch spinach
1 oz. flat-leaf parsley
3/4 fl. oz. cream
1/4 cup water
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp. butter
3 spring onions, finely sliced, top reserved
2 cloves of garlic, minced
About 1/2 bunch asparagus spears, cleaned, finely sliced with about 1” at the top intact
1/2 cup peas
½ pint cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters
1 tsp. oregano or mix of herbs, chopped
1/2 bunch lacinto kale stalks removed, rough chopped (can substitute broccolini)
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 oz. mild, full-fat cheese, Kashkaval, gruyere or other, grated
1 avocado, sliced
Baguette or sourdough bread, sliced and lightly toasted
Salt & pepper, as needed
Blanch spinach and parsley (with stems) for 10 seconds in boiling, salted water. Strain and immediately submerge in ice water. Let drain and press if needed to remove as much liquid as possible. Purée with the cream and water with a stick or canister blender until creamy. Season to taste with salt. Set aside. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook until softening, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a couple minutes more until fragrant. Add asparagus and peas, sauté very lightly, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a plate and set aside. Add the tomatoes and oregano to the pan, sauté about a minute to release juices. Add kale, lemon juice and a tablespoon of water if needed, stir to coat. Spoon in the spinach-parsley mixture, distribute evenly about the pan. Scatter the asparagus and peas over the spinach. Sprinkle the cheese over the vegetables. Using a spoon, make 6 small wells and break 1 egg into each. Salt and pepper, cover and cook for 4-5 minutes. The egg whites should be firm but the yolks still runny (like a poached egg). Garnish with sliced avocado, serve with toast, and hot sauce on the side for those that like it spicy.