At a hulking 80 pounds, the block was unmoved by the force of the blade. Made of rock maple with an end-grain surface, it absorbed the cuts and somehow emerged unnicked. Gould, previously content with plastic cutting boards, hauled it home.
These days, the chopping block is a less Macbethian stage, left littered with little more than the debris of carrots, cauliflower and squash. As a child, Gould lobbied to go to cooking camp, where she remembers mostly dicing onions; after that, she taught herself. “I’m a good cook, but it’s not pretty,” she said.
She grew up in Potomac, Maryland, the daughter of an advertising executive and an insurance agent. When she first turned to vegetarianism, they were not happy.
“My mother took it as a personal affront,” Gould said, especially as the daughter grew older and began disavowing other ingredients: “ ‘I’m not eating any partially hydrogenated oil!’ ”
Her husband, Mike Lee, whose work also focuses on innovation in food, is the carnivore of the family. “He is a much better cook than I am,” she said.
They met at an early Food & Tech Connect event where he donated his services as a chef. (At that time, he hosted Studiofeast, an underground dining club whose exploits include once serving filet mignon at a luncheon on the L train.)
Since their wedding last February, they have started a small-scale kimchee factory in their home, albeit only for personal consumption. A half-dozen giant jars filled with murkily gestating kimchee sit on a low shelf, with blue duct-tape labels slightly askew, marking their dates of inception.
“One batch came out super-salty,” Gould said. “But now we eat kimchee two to three times a day. We’re both fascinated with gut flora."