Aliya Leekong  

Photo credit: Kesha Lambert Photography

Chef, author and entrepreneur, Aliya LeeKong recently launched Issa's Edible Adventures, a beautiful children's cooking app that teaches young people about diversity, social studies and global citizenship through culinary adventures! Check out the website and download the app to learn more (suggested for ages 4 and up).

As a founder/CEO and mom, Aliya has a lot on her plate (sorry for the culinary pun). Read on for how this Brooklynite gets All Worked Up. 


Where do you reside and what is your favorite local spot close to home? 

I live in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and there have been so many amazing new restaurants that have popped up. Currently, I’m loving Evelina - it’s like the ultimate, casual neighborhood spot but with risotto perfection and an insane rib eye for two!


It's breakfast time on a weekday, where are you and what are you eating? 

Lol! I’m usually trying to get my daughter to eat breakfast before I race her to school in the mornings. My breakfast is a shake with turmeric, collagen peptides, and a greens mix that’s either downed while putting her lunch together or taken in the car. I try to get all of the healthy vitamins in first thing in the morning because you never know where the day takes you.


It's dinner time on a weekday, where are you and what are eating? 

I have no dinner routine actually! Each week presents new variables - work drinks or dinner, out with friends, events, and cooking at home, of course. I do try to make a few grains on the weekend (brown rice, quinoa, farro), so that if I’m cooking, I can easily throw that in. A lot of times, I’ll make a big pot of daal on a Sunday, which is comforting throughout the week, and I always have fresh greens and vegetables on hand. Weeknight dinners are simple - seared arctic char, spicy shrimp, or earthy mushrooms with fresh vegetables and grains. I love one pot meals too though, and my daughter recently decided Friday nights would be (homemade) pizza nights! I truly do love to cook, so it’s generally whatever I’m feeling (or she tells me to do).


Describe your workwear style. 

I work out of a co-working space most days and occasionally at home. My workwear is pretty casual - 3x1 jeans, cashmere sweaters, Zimmermann or Reformation for meetings. I believe that the way the person wears the clothing makes it and not the other way around, so I’m truly high-low with what I wear.

I tend to wear flats on non-meeting days because of my walk to the train, but otherwise, easy heels that don’t kill me (like my Rebecca Allens) are a go-to. I try to find that balance between timeless pieces and colors with a great fit. I hate being uncomfortable in clothing - life is too short!


Do you have a favorite workwear item that you can't live without? 

I cannot live without an oversized bag. I workout most days so being able to carry around workout clothes plus computer plus everything else I need is key. Currently, my medium big bag from Celine has my life in it.


You're about to give a big presentation/have a big meeting, what are you wearing:

Wide leg Zimmermann trousers and a fitted top from Simkhai or Alexander Wang, and nude heels of course! (Aliya likes our Nude III)

How do you prepare for said big presentation or meeting? 

I do tend to prep way ahead and write and rewrite until I evolve the story and presentation to the place I want it. I always have a deck, but I do think the personal story and what you say live is what is remembered, so I work on that way ahead. And I listed to 90’s hip hop and some Mobb Deep on the way :)


What constitutes a good day at work? 

A good day at work for me is accomplishing what I set out to do or getting closer to my goals. Obviously, checking off a to-do list is incredibly rewarding, but I always ask myself whether the day contributed to my long-term plan or not.  


How do you unwind and turn work off? 

Unwinding for me is hanging out with my family or friends over some good food and a martini (or two).  Those conversations always take me out of my own head. A good movie night never hurt either.


Regardless of whether your work is your passion or your path to the weekend, what is your favorite thing to allocate time to outside of “the office?”

Outside of “the office,” I’m all about family time, travel, and planning fun days with my daughter!