Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Q & A with Joelen

When did you start cooking?

I was pretty much born & raised in the kitchen, thanks to my parents who were caterers. They've sinced retired, but through them I picked up the passion for food and cooking. As a result of helping them out in the kitchen throughout childhood and adolescence, cooking became second nature. When I was in high school, I would hold dinner parties with friends every month. It was at that point I coupled my love of cooking and entertaining - which I love to do to this day.

Who inspires you?

Anything and everything inspires me! From walking around and catching a whiff of a certain food, flipping through magazines and noticing an interesting recipe, riding public transportation and hearing ethnic languages around me... food is such an amazing medium to connect with people of all ages, backgrounds and tastes. If you pay close enough attention, you can relate food to pretty much anything and everything!

If you could have lessons from one chef, who would it be?

Julia Child. She was a pioneer for home cooks and professionals alike. I can picture an easygoing lesson with Julia full of laughs, eating and enjoying our creations together.

Favorite thing to cook/bake? Etc.

There isn't a specific dish or meal that I can call "favorite" - there's just too many dishes I love to pick just one!. Due to the exposure I've had to Asian food, its definitely my forte, but I love learning about various ethnic cuisines. Whether it be experimenting with various Indian spices to making homemade phyllo dough or just dining in an ethnic restaurant off the beaten path, I'm most interested in tying in both food and culture....

What's one fear you have in the kitchen?

The only fear I have is not having my hands to work with. Even a badly fractured wrist and a cast won't stop me from cooking! As for cooking, I'm still not sold on working with yeast. I have in the past with much success, but its not one of my preferred ingredients to work with.
What's one fear you had in the kitchen but have overcame?I was intimidated working with phyllo dough. However, after playing with it in various ways and desserts... and also most recently making it from scratch with a friend, it's something I look forward to using. In fact, I tend to have store bought phyllo dough as a staple in my freezer!

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