My Ritual: Valerie Gordon
The chef, author and entrepreneur relies on down-to-earth practices that help ground her full, inspiring and very sweet life.
Valerie Gordon is sitting in her charming, garden-adjacent office in Los Angeles, which today is flooded with an uncharacteristically overcast, yet beautifully dramatic, dim afternoon light. It’s the perfect setting for some reflection on what it takes to make her 20-year strong chocolate and confectionery empire thrive.
Looking around the LA compound that houses the operations, production and chic storefront retail of Valerie Confections, the chocolate company she launched in 2004 with her partner and husband, Stan Weightman Jr. she assures that it’s not about balance, but bringing each part of her life together as one wonderfully layered and creative whole.
“People talk about life-work balance, to me it’s all life,” says Gordon. “I don’t feel a deficit in certain areas and I’m fortunate that I get to decide how my work day flows.”
Infusing every part of her life, from developing new recipes to hosting global cooking events or cheering her children on in their own endeavors, Gordon brings the same unabashed zeal and curiosity for life and learning regardless of the category.
She counts Wellness East’s Ginger Shell Alpinia Oil as a non-negotiable when discussing her daily rituals. “I love it. It lives on my desk.” She says about the antioxidant rich oil. “It truly does hydrate my hands very well, doesn’t leaves an oily residue and the ginger scent is extremely subtle. Working with food, I can’t have any aromas on my body.”
Here, Gordon delves into other daily and weekly rituals keep her focused, grounded and grateful.
My Ritual with Valerie Gordon
What is one wellness ritual or routine you never miss?
My one wellness ritual that I never miss and that supports healthy aging is my Sunday morning “GLOW” which stands for “Glorious Ladies on a Walk.” It’s a time of open conversation where there is no edit to what we talk about. At this stage in my life I find female companionship to be the most rewarding, healthy and stabilizing social aspect of my life. I embrace walking so much. GLOW is only women and it’s like a date and really, really important to me. Sundays, I have my coffee, have a moment with my family and then my kids know, moms going to GLOW.
What is the one Wellness East product you can’t live without?
It’s the Ginger oil. I love it, it lives on my desk. Working in food, I wash my hands 30 times a day which leads to a lot of dryness. It truly does hydrate my hands very well and doesn’t leave an oily residue, the ginger is extremely subtle. I like that it’s not a floral scent. Scents and working with food can be problematic and I’m extremely sensitive to scent in general. I can’t have any aromas on my body.
What’s one thing you’d go back and tell the younger version of yourself?
I’d tell myself to go with your gut. I don’t think I trusted my instinct a lot when I was younger. It was baked on insecurities and a lack of confidence. I think I had a lot of instinct at a younger age that I think I suppressed because I didn’t feel empowered enough. This is one of the glorious things that each new decade I enter I feel less apologetic about my existence and more content. I am more forthright in decision making.
How do you do it? You’re a chef, a mother and business owner and you make it look easy. Tell us your approach to making it all work for you.
My secret is that I don't necessarily compartmentalize my life. People talk about life work balance to me it’s all life. So I don’t feel a deficit in certain areas. I’m fortunate that I get to decide how my work day flows. I’d rather be at home to cook dinner for my family then go back to work virtually, which is a choice that I make. My days are long, but they’re broken up fairly strategically at this point where I'm dealing with work, wellness and family. I sort of zig zag throughout the day. Every day is extremely full. Of course there are some days and seasons that feel completely overwhelming. I hit all the spaces that I want to hit. It’s an unconventional coordination but for me it works. I layer work and socialization a lot and I do that intentionally.
What is a mantra you subscribe to and why and how does it help you both personally and professionally?
“Let’s flow” To me that means, don’t be your own obstacle. Obstacles will show themselves and it’s never about that, it's about how you navigate it. Maintain flexibility, we have no idea what will happen - that’s flowing. Never be the stone that obstructs the water. Sometimes it will be a raging rapid that you have to go with. Sometimes it will be a mellow stream, but you have to go with the water. All of it. Pivot, navigate, pivot, navigate, flow.