SHERMAN OAKS, Calif. — While most recipes list ingredients such as milk, sugar and flour, the recipe that hangs in Chef Maggie Lind’s kitchen is very different.
“More love. More hope. More peace. More compassion,” the blue post-it note reads, with Lind adding, “That is my recipe for everything. For life.”
Her Sherman Oaks kitchen is barely bigger than a breadbox. Still, Lind uses every nook and cranny efficiently to whip up an array of healthy meals and snacks, from her popular “fruit salad” granola which she’s been making since the ‘70s to her roster of vegan soups.
“I love the harmony of all the flavors dancing together,” she said. “It makes your taste buds dance.”
It wasn’t always this way. In the early 2000s, Lind was between jobs when a friend who owns a restaurant asked her if she could make some lemon bars.
“I said, well, I could, but you know I’m not really a chef,” Lind recalled. “And she just started laughing. She said, ‘you’re the best chef I know.’”
She suggested Lind go to culinary school, so she did and landed a job as an evening pastry chef at the Viceroy in Santa Monica. She was only there for a year when she was diagnosed with stage three anal rectal cancer. It didn’t make sense, she told her radiologist’s assistant. There was no history of cancer in her family.
“And she said, ‘You must have bad luck,’” Lind said, throwing up her hands. “Well, that threw me into a frenzy, and I had to prove her wrong.”
She began what she called the long, laborious, exhausting, healing journey, including chemo and radiation. But with no insurance, she eventually lost her home in addition to her energy, her hair and her taste buds, which took six years to reawaken.
By 2020 she was getting back on her feet, working part-time at a small shop, enough to make ends meet. And then COVID-19 hit, and the shop closed. She realized she was teetering once again on the edge of homelessness with no savings and no income.
“I was so afraid because I’d already lost my home once, and the thought of losing everything again was overwhelming,” Lind said. “I had to dig into the last money I had for the last month of rent, and then I started making food.”
She went back to that recipe and her small-batch, homemade business born. She calls it More Please.
“More courage…more dancing in your kitchen…more saying yes to things that we’re afraid of,” she said. “You know, I was really scared of doing this. I thought, who is going to like my food?”
Lind started with one client and has grown from there, sending a weekly menu to her mailing list of repeat customers. And while it’s still a struggle, she says she has faith.
“I’m resilient,” she said. “I’m a warrior. When a challenge comes to meet me, I believe I become brave enough to meet it.”
Lind said that cancer was a good teacher, but now eight years cancer-free, she hopes to share what she learned. That life is short. That we only have one body. That time and food should not be wasted. And that sometimes what you need most is just a little more, please, of whatever feeds your soul.
To receive her weekly menu updates, email email@example.com.