I recently had the opportunity to meet up again with Evette Rios and talk about going green and her involvement with Rachel Ray.
Evette Rios attends the launch party for “Project Green Prom” at Whole Foods Market Tribeca on April 6, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Loud/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Evette Rios
We first met at a bar in NYC for a concert that the Go Green Expo was throwing.
I knew her face looked familiar and remembered I was looking at some article about her using green products in renovating a kitchen in the Rachel Ray magazine. I read it well, guys, you know when you are married and the only room you need to read something and all there is are Rachel Ray magazines….anyway..it was green and it resonated.. whatever don’t get started Evette (as she is laughing away now).
Let’s get on to the questions I have… So Evette, tell me how you started in design and being a creative food diva/rockstar?
Evette: I started in design probably about 8 years ago although I started on the path a lot earlier. My parents were both avid DIYers and as a kid we owned 2 homes, that we never lived in, but we spent a lot of time rehabbing together as a family. I think that started my love of design and all things home.
Then after college my first job was as a receptionist in an Architectural firm, I instantly fell in love with the work they did and threw myself into the field. Then it was on to design firm after design firm where I learned as much as I could about design.
The food stuff I just kind of started to fall in love with. Working with Rachael you can’t help but fall in love with food, her enthusiasm for it is totally contagious, and for me culturally, being Puerto Rican, food has always played a huge part in my concept of home. So I understand and appreciate great food by I am by no means a foodie…YET!
GLG: I hear ya about culture and food, my family is Jewish and all there is every holiday, celebration or bris is food. I have been to Puerto Rico once a long time ago and loved the food, culture and climate (who wouldn’t).
When did you decide that your designs and food choices should be eco friendly?
Evette: I always knew that I wanted to create spaces and designs that “tread lightly”, I have a tremendous amount of love for the outdoors and for all of the animals and plants that make us the incredible, diverse and beautiful world that we live in. Recently though, while working on the G-Word on Planet Green I started to become exposed to the new outcrop of new, eco friendly products, and I now try to use them whenever possible.
GLG: Yeah, I saw that article before our interview and loved it. However, I then had so many other questions at the same time, so thank you again for the interview.
How did you get hooked up with Rachael Ray?
Evette: I did my first segment on Rachael Ray during season 1 of the show, we are now in season 4, so that was a while ago, geesh, time does fly. I was lucky enough to have a friend in common with a producer on the show. The producer liked what he heard about me and gave me a shot! That’s what we all need, right, for someone to believe in us and give us a chance.
GLG: Ok, I have to ask and I know the answer but is Rachael Ray really eco friendly. I mean, ok I know, I know, I should ask her but while we are here, I would like to hear the opinion of a fellow friend)?
I think Rachael is very eco friendly, she forgoes a fancy limo or SUV and instead moves around the city in a hybrid; however that’s not all.
Rachel loves eco friendly products and uses them wherever possible. Her magazine is printed on 100% post consumer product and she makes sure that we all recycle around the work place. She is eco-friendly without being a Gestapo. What I love about Rachel is that she really practices what she preaches, which I have a tremendous amount of respect for.
GLG: Tell me about your charity you are doing the photo shoot for?
Evette: My recent project for charity is with this incredible organization called Design Industry Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA). They are a tremendous organization that does much needed outreach to people living with AIDS in and around NYC. DIFFA teamed up with VIPP, an incredible 70 year old family run company with unbelievable trash cans, and gave a bunch of trash cans to designers, artists and other creative folks to see what they could come up with. The results are on display and up for auction at Design within Reach Tools for Living until October 28th @142 Wooster Street New York, NY 10012. Their phone number is 212.471.0280.
GLG: Thanks for the info. Awesome, what gave you the idea of your art for your charity and having it be from all recycled materials?
Evette: I knew that I wanted to include a green/ eco- friendly message with my VIPP trash can art, but I knew that I wanted it to be a little snarky and tongue in cheek. I thought about what I could possibly do to create a trash can that would dissuade people from using it, in an attempt to get people to not throw so much stuff away.
That is when I thought about creating a trash can that talked trash. What if the trash could say such insulting things to you whenever you step on the pedal to open it you would be scared to do it again? Talking Trash was born!
GLG: How do you try to incorporate greening things up or going green in your line of work?
Evette: I try to incorporate going green into everything that I do. With the craft projects I tackle I am always trying to find ways to reuse and upcycle regular old household trash, with my design work I make sure to educate my client about new eco friendly, biodegradable and sustainably produced product. Because home renovation and building is responsible for a tremendous amount of trash thrown away everyday, I really try to circumvent that by working with what my clients have already rather than pressuring them to purchase more.
GLG: What is your real opinion on going green?
Evette: To me, going green is a necessity not a choice. I am sometimes riddled with guilt about the life that I am living, being in the United States, consuming so much more than I really need, but I try to do simple things, and I do them consistently.
If you really think about our environmental problems, it is completely overwhelming, but what I do is modify my behavior a little bit at a time.
For instance, I carry a refillable bottle with me wherever I go and I try to make sure that if I order a drink out it’s made in that container. You wouldn’t believe how many disposable cups most city goers go through in just one day between the coffee in the morning, water from dispensers, not to mention soda cans and water bottles, we all generate a ton more trash than we need to, daily.
I also know my local rules on recycling and I recycle anything and everything I can. Seriously, I was so psyched to hear that I could recycle wire hangers!
GLG: Nice!! It is really cool that you care as much as you do. It’s nice to know that designers do care about going green.
Thank you so much for your time and while you are out there just keep on incorporating good green things. Everything great happens after that.