As a former athlete, I was always looking for ways to improve my performance. Understanding the healing powers of food as medicine, I was able to peak and recover faster when fueled with whole, clean, non-inflammatory foods. So I designed a healing, nutrient-dense, meal program made with fresh, plant-rich, whole food ingredients and clean preparations. Word spread, and soon I was delivering these meals all over the Bay Area, and the Nona Lim brand was born. Today, we offer a variety of prepared meals and soups, broths, and noodles that you can find at Whole Foods and other grocery stores nation-wide.

Nona with carrots

When did you first decide you wanted to make food your career? How did you get where you are today in the food business?
When I was still training and fencing competitively, I discovered that the food I ate made a difference in how my body performed and recovered. I decided to create a meal plan that helped my body perform the best way with the best ingredients possible. The meal plan was shared among family, initially, and then quickly gained traction to people in the Bay Area. Soon, I was receiving requests from people to create convenient and nutritious soups. Before I knew it, the Nona Lim brand was born.

What is the most exciting thing going on in food right now, in your opinion?
Consumers are really exploring outside their comfort zone when it comes to food. Asian food doesn’t only mean Chinese food anymore. People are looking for exciting new flavors outside of the broad category of “Asian,” from Japanese, Indian, Southeast Asian, Taiwanese, Thai, and so many more.

What condiment is always in your refrigerator?
You will find me with 10 different types of hot sauce at all times. Every culture has their different spices and treats spices in different ways, creating and enhancing dishes in exciting ways.

What was your first cookbook?
I first learned cooking from my dad back in Singapore. He would walk with me through wet markets to buy the freshest ingredients: seafood fresh from the sea, vegetables and herbs from the friendly farmer’s stall, fruits from the orchard down the block. Being in London in my early 20s, a colleague recommended Mary Berry’s cookbook which was an early exposure to European cooking.

What is your go-to recipe for entertaining?
I don’t really have a go-to recipe since I like to use the opportunity to try new dishes. My go-to for easy dinners though would be a “noodle night” using our Pad Thai Noodles with the Thai Curry & Lime Chicken Bone Broth. I would braise a pot of pork belly with some Chinese five spice, have some bok choi and shiitake mushrooms and whatever greens are in season. Friends love putting together their own noodle bowls and plating the toppings. It’s just a fun and casual no-stress dinner.

Where do you shop for food?
I shop on Saturdays at the Grand Lake farmer’s market, Berkeley Bowl, Good Eggs (online), and sometimes at Whole Foods.

Are you involved with a food non-profit?
We try to support the community as much as we can. We regularly donate to Alameda Food Bank as well as Feed The Children.

Have you held SFPFS board positions in the past? 
Yes, I was previously the Events Chair and President for SFPFS.

What have you gained from being a member of the SFPFS?
Without a doubt, being part of SFPFS brought me great friendships and mentors that I would not trade for anything else.