Christina Tosi’s Sweet Spot

A version of this story appeared in the winter 2020 issue of Uncommon Path

Brooklyn-based Christina Tosi, the founder of the Milk Bar empire, will soon introduce her cult cookies and cakes to grocery stores nationwide. The 38-year-old award-winning chef fuels her life with cookie dough, yes, but also trail runs, city runs, cycling trips and other outdoor pursuits.

On playing outdoors

“Growing up in Virginia, my clothes were always grass-stained. I had creek shoes for play. My mom didn’t force us to be tidy and proper. She always encouraged my sister and me to make a little mess, and that comes through in my baking. I never want to stay within the lines of a recipe.”

“I love being in the woods not knowing where the trail ends. Every year, my sister and best friend from high school and I do an adventure race in the mountains of Virginia. You mountain bike, canoe and run for 56 miles using nothing more than a topographical map to reach the finish.”

On her outdoor-snack philosophy

“Trail mix is really just candy with obstacles.”

On running wild

“Some people get miles on a treadmill, but I run to be outdoors. That sense of exploration feeds my wanderlust. Some-times I hop the train to the Hudson Valley to trail run. There is also something special about running a 9-mile loop around the tip of Manhattan at dusk and watching the city light up.”

“When I travel, one of my favorite things is to go on a run and figure out where I am. It makes my mind happy and nourishes my imagination.”

On movement and inspiration

“I finally convinced my husband to do a six-day bike trip with me through the south of France. It was just the two of us with the GPS telling us the way, and we filled our brains with new sights and smells.”

“A lot of people get inspiration from con-ferences or podcasts, and that’s great. But I find it in plants and landscapes.”

“You can see places on Instagram, but there’s something magical about being in the moment. My mind opens to a beau-tiful state of daydream where I’m driving through the Southwest, eating Frito pie and pretending I’m Georgia O’Keeffe. Moments like that fuel my creativity.”