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Lookbook Cookbook, The Glossy Side of Vegan Food

Lookbook Cookbook, The Glossy Side of Vegan Food

A chat with Jessica Milan, creator of one of the fashion world’s most successful recipe blogs that mixes white backgrounds, good-looking girls and vegan sweets

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Lookbook Cookbook is the brainchild of Jessica Milan, an ex-fashion communications student from Toronto who cut her tooth in modeling to later become a photograper. Her white background shots of good-looking girls tasting homemade vegan sweets, like the apple pie smoothie recipe or the maple pecan pie recipe she shared with us, are part of one of the fashion world’s most successful food blogs.

With a list of fans that goes from Glamour Magazine to Net-a-Porter and from the animal rights organization PETA to American Apparel, Jessica spends her time between Toronto and Spain’s most popular island, Ibiza.

She was there when she answered our questions, revealing how she ended up in the bloging world and talking about her real-life predilection for vegan pesto, even if her readers know her mainly for her pancakes!

How did you get involved with photography?
I got scouted by a well-known scout in Toronto, Peggi Lepage, when I was 18 and studying Fashion Communications in university. I wasn’t the happiest in that program, so I decided to pursue modeling instead. After modeling for a few years, I was looking for something different to try. Peggi, the woman who got me started in modeling, asked me to help her out with taking portraits of her new faces. I gradually got better at it and more shoots started coming my way.

And what about cooking?
I don’t have any formal training in cooking, I have always just had a huge passion for it. Eating is one of my favourite things to do!

Was Lookbook Cookbook a conjunction of the two?
Exactly. I wanted to start a food blog and because I was shooting a lot of models at the time for other projects, I thought it would be fun to combine both. So, a year and a half ago I started my blog!

Yours is an all-vegan approach, why?
I prefer to eat a vegan diet, and I actually enjoy vegan treats better. They can taste just as good as the real thing, so why not?

At the same time you seem to be obsessed about sweets, which is curious considering your modeling past!
I’m actually not overly obsessed with sweets. I started the blog only featuring them, but I am very looking forward to releasing a cookbook that has actual food in it as well. Now about the shape/sugar issue I think it’s all about moderation. I usually go days without consuming any sort of sugar, besides fruit. And when I have a treat, I enjoy every last morsel of it. Cutting out gluten and dairy for the most part also helps a lot as well.

So what’s the ultimate taste?
My all time favorite is pesto. I make it vegan of course.

How about the printed cookbook that you mentioned earlier, how would it look?
I think it would be a lot like the blog, but with a bigger focus on delicious savory food recipes as well.

How do you produce the photo shoots for your blog?
Usually I have the models bring their own clothes and do their own makeup, and they get some help from my stylist friend at Naughty Mess Vintage. I take care of the pictures and recipes, while my models are just themselves!

You have recently collaborated with American Apparel making an in-store tasting and photoshoot for them. How did this come up?
Just by accident I suppose! A few of the models on the blog work with AA in Toronto and showed the site to people from their PR team. They liked it and asked me to do something together!

Is there a famous personality that you'd like to feature in your blog and why?
I’d love to have one of the famous bloggers from Fashion Toast or 4th and Bleeker, because they have such great style.

A cook/chef that you admire?
I think the Chef Chloe Coscarelli is just full of personality and I really admire her passion for veganism and food.

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