Quarantine Routine: What Designer Phillip Lim Is Cooking for Dinner

Nikara Johns

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In a new SPY series, FN interviews celebrities, athletes and fashion insiders about their “Quarantine Routine.” They open up about the changes to their daily lives amid the coronavirus crisis. Previous guests include Nicky Hilton, Dascha Polanco and Caroline Vreeland.

Phillip Lim is finding more balance than ever before in his work-life schedule while quarantined. Like most, the designer has been spending his days working from home and, despite the lifestyle change, keeping a daily routine during the pandemic has proved beneficial.

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“Consistency gives us a sense of purpose,” he told FN. “These days, my commute to ‘work’ is to the next room, however, I still go through the same rituals that I would normally do.”

Starting at 7 a.m., Lim gets up, has coffee, lights incense and says a prayer for the day then goes through his emails. But he doesn’t reply right away, “so that I have some time to process while I start my morning hygiene routine: brush my teeth, shower, shave, skin care, put on a scent and get dressed.”

Lim also takes a break in the middle of the day to exercise or meditate and ends his work day around 6 p.m.

As far as meals are concerned, Lim cooks everything at home. And if you’ve been paying attention on social media, the designer has been busy posting step-by-step tutorials on how to make signature dishes from his 2019 cookbook, “More Than Our Bellies.”

Go-to recipes have included shrimp curry made with his mom’s homemade curry paste, beef noodle soup and quick stir-fry dishes.

While his print cookbook has been sold out online, it’s now available in digital release on Apple Books.

“I first started cooking because I was missing home. I grew up in a household where every meal was homemade, and I lost that when I came to New York and was eating takeout morning, noon and night,” he said on why he first decided to launch his cookbook. “There was something wrong with that routine and how it was affecting my body, so I started off by going to the store and purchasing ingredients to recreate my mom’s recipes at home. ‘More Than Our Bellies’ was about expressing that same joy and sharing love and inspiration through the food.”

To much surprise, Lim created his book’s recipes from memory. He said, “The taste of the dishes were so present in my head that I actually broke down what I thought the ingredients were, but my mom never told me what they were.”

Though Lim has found time to cook, watch “Ozark” and read Nike founder Phil Knight’s “Shoe Dog: A Memoir By the Creator of Nike,” he is still busy running his 3.1 Phillip Lim business, and similar to the rest of the industry, is facing uncertainty. But what’s top of mind most for the designer is taking this moment to reflect and find ways to create a more natural balance post-pandemic.

“The biggest disappointment will be if we come out of this momentous experience the same and return to business as usual. For many seasons now, making less and [having it mean] more has been an integral part of the 3.1 Sustainable Balance — the summation of small steps we are committed to taking that will amount to a grand shift,” he said. “We will all have to adapt to whatever our new normal calls for, [and] as a brand, we will return to creating and producing based on the needs of our customers instead of being motivated solely by industry practice.”

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