“The kitchen is the heart of the home” is a wall decal you would probably find over your Aunt’s stove in her home in Wisconsin, most likely decked out with red hearts and a few curly accents. It’s a saying that has caught on sometime in the last few decades between the use of regrettable ’90s slang words and flamenco girl emojis. But in the midst of this, this well-known phrase is packed with truth. The kitchen is where your loved ones comes together to recreate and learn old family recipes, where notes of spices and flavors fill the air, and where intimate conversations are had between washing and drying the dishes. Some of the most notable moments arrive and end in the kitchen no matter where you’re from and that’s why, according to today’s Boss Babe, food is the language that everyone speaks.
Aside from having a badass modeling career, Silja Danielsen knows her way around the kitchen. To put it bluntly, she has the confidence of Beyoncé and she wants you to, too. After growing up in a Norwegian home, where she was surrounded by made-from-scratch meals, Danielsen learned how to create wholesome dishes without refined sugars and processed foods. Not only does she believe that food is nature’s medicine, but she also wants to inspire everyone to gain “kitchen confidence” to cook their own meals, so they can live a heathy lifestyle and connect with others through wholesome cuisine. And, of course, we couldn’t agree more. Meet the Beyoncé of cooking, Silja Danielsen.
New York City
Easy go-to healthy breakfast meal:
My gluten free banana blender pancakes or oat bran both ways; sweet or savory.
Go-to restaurant in Seattle:
The Fat Hen (best brunch/breakfast, and Scandinavian).
Describe your cooking aesthetic in three words:
Unrefined, homemade, and experimental.
App that helps you stay sane:
Class Pass, anytime I need a break or a good sweat you will find me scrolling Class Pass.
Favorite modeling gig to date:
A German luxury outdoor brand that took me to the beautiful Alps in Austria.
Current girl crush:
Candice Swanepoel, always.
Three food items you always have in your fridge:
Homemade almond and cashew milk, Norwegian Brown Cheese (Gjetost), and crisp carrots and apples.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you knew Silja From Scratch and modeling were going to be part of your life?
My parents immigrated from Norway and brought European culture with them, meaning we didn’t go out to eat often and cooked most meals at home. Cooking was a way of showing love in our family. My mom made almost everything from scratch with a healthy focus and I liked to think of myself as her sidekick. At 17 I was discovered for modeling and at 18 I set out all over the world. It wasn’t until living abroad and in model apartments that I realized not everyone shared my love for cooking and for food. I have lived and worked in Australia, Paris, London, Germany, Miami, Greece, Los Angeles, and now in New York City. What I have found and love is that food is the language that everyone speaks.
In your bio on your site, you mentioned “kitchen confidence.” Tell us what you mean by this and how you believe someone can build their kitchen confidence.
I like to say Kitchen Confidence is your “Beyoncé Leotard” as soon as you start pretending to be Beyoncé all of a sudden you have a little sass and extra confidence.
A few tips to gaining kitchen confidence:
Think of recipes as a guideline. Don’t be afraid to experiment with spices or with making a sweet dish into a savory one. For example: I LOVE to make oat bran for breakfast, and one day I decided to add parmesan cheese instead of my normal nuts and berries. The result was SO good I eat that 2/3 times a week now. Another thing I recommend is when eating out, think of it as research for your own experiment in the kitchen. Remember the tastes that you liked and tweak recipes that you find online to match some of those dishes you found at your favorite eatery. For example: in Los Angeles, Gjusta’s is my favorite place to eat and I make a banana bread inspired by their miso date cookies!
Okay, your skin is FLAWLESS. What is your beauty regime like?
Thank you!! When I am not working I try and give my face a rest by just using a good skincare line instead of applying makeup. Right now I am a big fan of January Labs products, she’s all natural and has an amazing enzyme peel that I love to use when I want a nice face reboot. I also drink lemon water and try to stay hydrated all day. Recently, I have discovered Korean gold collagen eye masks on Amazon and love to use those after a long work day or long day of travel to depuff.
Describe your healthy living philosophy:
Eating well is staying healthy. I believe food is medicine and what we put in our bodies is important. If there is a way to change a favorite indulgent recipe by adding some nutrients and healthy alternatives, I am all about it. There’s not too much better than pancakes made from just banana, eggs, flax mill, chia seeds and almond flour topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt to me. Meals that seem to make my tummy smile make me smile too. 🙂
How do you believe your healthy lifestyle influences the other factors in your life?
When I am eating healthy and cooking my own meals I have control over what I put in my body and feel that because of that, I have more energy to accomplish more tasks like getting my daily sweat in at the gym, I also sleep better, and am motivated to always choose the healthy option because it makes me feel empowered.
How do you stay creative in the kitchen?
I love food challenges, a lot of my friends have developed intolerances but still want to eat their favorite treats like banana bread or pumpkin pie while avoiding dairy or gluten. My favorite thing to do is reinvent recipes, like dairy-free pumpkin pie using cashews, or gluten-free banana bread. My boyfriend is a scientist and he inspires me more than anything to keep experimenting so I make it a motto to never really use the same recipe twice, secretly I want to play the part of scientist too 😉
Where do you believe your confidence is derived from?
I believe my kitchen confidence came from my mom. Watching her just whip things together with instructions like “just a handful” or “a pinch” made it seem like there weren’t any rules in the kitchen and I liked that approach. Although I will have some mess ups, I think of it like a trial and in the end I still learned something. I think confidence when modeling is a models’ best attribute and for me that comes from being comfortable in my own skin. My freckles, weird dance moves on set are the same thing spices are to cooking that makes life so special.
Where do you hope to see yourself in the next few years?
In a few years I would love to have a cookbook of my own, a cooking show where I help build kitchen confidence and a line of dish ware that inspires others to cook 🙂
Any advice for future Boss Babes, especially those looking to enter into the model and/or food world?
Embrace your inner Beyoncé in the kitchen, it’s not that you don’t like to cook it could be that you lack that confidence to start. Just how slipping into a leotard suddenly gives you some Beyoncé sass, channel that sass and try a few things in the kitchen. You might surprise yourself with how easy it is to come up with some amazing results. It takes time and patient but soon you’ll be dancing too and it’s fully worth it.
Written by Raven Ishak
Photography via Vanessa Granda