Real Girl, Real Beauty: The Gorgeous Producer Behind KCRW's Good Food

Gillian Ferguson definitely does not have a face for radio. What we mean is — she's petite, fit, and gorgeous — a total-package surprise. Plus she very enviably earns a living by chowing down. That's right — this gal is the supervising producer of KCRW's Good Food, which means she eats her way through L.A.'s hottest restos. Tough gig!
When we first laid eyes on this Venice dweller, we had two pressing questions: 1. What inspired the brand-new, edgy 'do? and 2. How does one stay so healthy when the days are packed with meals (hint — she's always spinning her wheels). Trust, we got all the dish, including the unisex scent she swears by, the best places to feast in our fair city, and...the taste of Boa constrictor — really!
1 of 16
What's a typical day like for you?
"Every day is different. Some days I spend in the studio recording interviews, and other days I'm hunkered over my desk editing audio and writing for the blog. My favorite day of the week is Wednesday when I start my morning at the Santa Monica Farmers' Market."

You worked in the art world after school, why the switch to food?
"There came a point when I was more interested in talking to the artists about food than art. My girlfriends and I started hosting events at the gallery under the guise of entertaining young collectors, but really we just wanted to throw dinner parties."

Citizens for Humanity pants, Theory blazer, Failero Sarti scarf, Alexander Wang shoes, S.E. Sherrick Leather Works bag, Laura Mercier Crème Lip Colour in Truly Red, Laura Mercier Faux Lash in Black.
2 of 16
Did you ever think you would end up where you are today?
"If you told me five years ago that I would be living in L.A., I would've laughed out loud. I thought that I’d be in New York forever. When I was still working in the art world an astrologer told me that I was meant to work in food and journalism. So, I guess it was in my cards all along."
3 of 16
What's your craziest story from working in radio?
"Crazy-fun things happen every day. You never know who’s going to walk through the door. Just last week Phoenix was in the studio recording a live performance on Morning Becomes Eclectic. There's also the day that Quentin Tarantino and Dustin Hoffman just happened to be at the station at the same time. But, my favorite moment was seeing Joan Didion when she came to record an interview on Bookworm."

What's your best advice for people looking to change careers?
"Be assertive and follow every lead. If you’re interested in someone or something, don’t be afraid to show up. Sending an email will only get you so far."
4 of 16
What's your daily beauty routine?
"I wash my face twice a day with Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser. My skin is on the dry side, so I like to use emerginC Protocell Moisturizer during the day and organic argan oil at night. For everyday makeup I use NARS tinted moisturizer — it has SPF 30, and provides the perfect amount of coverage. The rest of my routine includes the NARS Multiple Stick in Maldives for my cheeks and eyes, YSL’s Touche Éclat for hiding dark circles, and either blue or black mascara."

Who are some of your beauty icons?
"Elvira Hancock in Scarface, late '70s Debbie Harry, and all of my amazing girlfriends."

NARS The Multiple, Dior Diorshow Mascara, Laura Mercier Creme Lip Color, NARS Large Dome Eye Brush, Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat.
5 of 16
What was the best beauty advice you ever received?
"To start moisturizing my skin. It sounds really basic, but for years I was using the wrong beauty products. I was in my mid-'20s before I realized I should be using heavy-duty moisturizers."

Do you have any beauty regrets?
"In middle school I was really into dying my hair with semi-permanent hair dye. I went to a school where we had to wear uniforms and changing my hair color was one of the only options for self-expression. I went red. I went jet black. It was never a good look."

NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil.
6 of 16
What are some of your stand-by beauty products?
"I have really dry skin, so I always have Acure Organics Argan Facial Oil on-hand. I use it instead of moisturizing lotion at night, and add a few drops to the ends of my hair before I blow dry it."

You sometimes wear glasses, do you do your makeup differently those days?
"I tend to go more au-naturel if I’m wearing my glasses."

O.P.I. Nail Laquer, CND Nail Treatment, Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat.
7 of 16
What cookbooks should everyone have in their kitchen?
"Suzanne Goin’s Sunday Suppers at Lucques is perfect dinner-party food. I’ve used it so much that the pages are stuck together and falling apart! I also love Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi, Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc, Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich, and both of the Tartine cookbooks. But, if you’re someone who's just going to own one cookbook, buy Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything."

Which chefs do you look up to the most?
"Dan Barber in New York. He is an extraordinary chef and thinker. I could listen to him talk about carrots for hours!"

Vintage Oscar de La Renta dress, Rachel Comey shoes.
8 of 16
What is your favorite dish to make?
"Eggs! Poached, fried, scrambled, or baked — I'm crazy about eggs. They're so versatile. My go-to meal for any time of day is a fried egg over lemony greens and toasted bread. If I could eat brunch three times a day I would."

What will you be whipping up all spring?
"Spring is my favorite time of year in Southern California. The vegetables are just unbelievable. At the market there are English peas, asparagus, artichokes, and every herb imaginable — pair any combination of those with a hunk of burrata, good olive oil, and sea salt and I’m happy."
9 of 16
What's the weirdest thing you've ever eaten?
"Boa constrictor! It was crazy. It was for a radio story I did about the Year of the Snake. I thought we were just going to eat some fried snake meat, but when I got to the restaurant I learned that the chef had prepared seven courses of boa constrictor. He put so much effort into the meal it would have been rude to refuse, so I had to eat everything from a cold snake skin salad to a stew of snake organs. Just thinking about it gives me the heebie-jeebies."

Which food fad do you think is hilarious?
"Juice! I’m not knocking it — I started juicing back when the girls at Blue Print were still in a second floor studio in Chelsea using a Norwalk press — but, I find the proliferation of juice bars and juice culture to be borderline absurd."
10 of 16
Ever consider opening up your own restaurant?
"There's a teeny-tiny bodega in my neighborhood that I fantasize about turning into a breakfast and lunch café. The front of the store would remain a bodega with awesome candy, snacks, and beer for sale. In the back we’d serve a very small menu of pastries, tartines, salads, and sandwiches. I imagine a to-go window that faces the street where passersby can get coffee and pastries in the morning while walking their dogs."

Do you have a signature perfume?
"I wear Bleecker Street by Bond No. 9. I found out recently that it’s a unisex scent. It’s not too floral or fruity — it’s just right."
11 of 16
What made you decided to chop off all your hair?
"I wanted to do it for months before I actually committed. I got married last October and decided to wait until after the wedding to chop it all off. The first cut was more conservative, but my husband encouraged me to be more bold. He told my hairdresser to give me a grown-out mohawk with a subtle mullet — and that’s exactly what I ended up with!"

Sebastian Gel Forte.
12 of 16
Did you have to overhaul your hair products when you made the cut?
"I have been using the same Aveda shampoos and leave-in conditioner for 10 years. My hair is actually a little curly, so when it was long I'd use DevaCurl products and diffuse it. When I cut my hair off, it was easier to run a flat iron through it, so I was able to add in some new products like gels and hairsprays."
13 of 16
Do you spend a lot of time in the sun?
"I’m a Leo, so I love the sun. But, I'm really careful about protecting my skin. I always have SPF 30 on my face and wear a hat whenever I’m at the beach. Flannel shirts provide a lot of sun protection too, so if I’m gardening I’ll borrow one of my husband’s shirts to protect my shoulders."

How do you stay healthy and keep fit?
"I’m not a vegetarian, but I eat a mostly plant-based diet and steer clear of anything processed. I’m also a slave to SPX pilates and spinning. I train with Jennifer Yates who is about to open Studio Metamorphosis in Pasadena. She totally changed my body and challenges me to stay fit."
14 of 16
What's your favorite thing to wear out to eat?
"Spandex...just kidding! But, in all seriousness, I try to avoid super skinny tight jeans or unwieldy sleeves when I’m going out to eat. The last thing you want is to feel constricted or accidentally dip your sleeve in the salsa. I try to find something that is simultaneously chic and comfortable."

What's that one item in your closet you'd never get near pasta sauce in?
"I have a white vintage St. John knit sweater that was my grandmother’s. She had incredible style. I'd be devastated if anything happened to it."

J Brand pants, J. Crew shirt, Goodbye Folk shoes, vintage gold belt, Kathleen Whitaker earrings, Barton Perreira glasses, Nervous System ring, Sarah Perlis wedding rings, NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil in Mexican Rose, Dior Diorshow Mascara in Azure Blue.
15 of 16
When you're not working or cooking what's you're favorite thing to do in L.A.?
"I love riding my bike, especially in the summertime. I live in Venice which is a really bike-friendly part of L.A. Riding a beach cruiser down the boardwalk at sunset is pretty magical."

When you're in a shopping mood, which spots do you hit up first?
"Venice has amazing shopping. I go to Heist when I need a new dress, The General Store when I’m shopping for accessories, and Steven Alan for everyday clothes. I also stalk the sales at both Guild and Mona Moore, which carry some of my favorite designers.
16 of 16
When people are visiting from out of town where do you take them for dinner?
"Everyone wants Mexican food when they come to L.A. I like to take people to Guisados for tacos, Mariscos Chente for snook, and Loteria Grill if they require something more fancy. If we’re eating in, I’ll pick up tlayudas from La Oaxaqueña Taco Truck."

What are your top five fave restaurants in L.A.?
"The Tasting Kitchen, Kiriko, Guisados, Mariscos Chente, and Axe."

Which new resto are you dying to try?
"Bestia! I guess it’s not that new anymore, but I haven’t been yet and it’s killing me."

What's your non-food related guilty pleasure?
"Shopping for homewares. I have been known to spend hours in Heath Ceramics."

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