When did you start cooking?
I have always been a baker, not really a cook so much until I started graduate school in 2001. It was my first real apartment (not a dorm room :) and I started to make dinner for myself. I loved creating new things and trying out new recipes. I'm an artist, so I guess I realized that cooking was also an art and I took to it quickly. I've been into it ever since and now, I actually cook more than I bake and love it.
Who inspires you?
My mom is a great cook and I grew up knowing what good food was - we always had the holidays at my house and my mom made everything from scratch. I think what inspires me in general to cook is creating great food for my family and friends. I love hosting parties and having people over. I often send my mom home with leftovers now instead of the other way around.
If you could have lessons from one chef, who would it be?
This is a difficult question for me, since I love to take cooking lessons and would happily accept lessons with anyone that knows more than myself (plus, there are too many great chefs to choose from)! I take random classes (cooking, wine, baking) at a culinary school in New York City sometimes and I learn so much each time. I'm getting into french cooking so lessons from someone versed in basic french cooking skills would be great! I love Ina Garten's style too.
Favorite thing to cook/bake? Etc.
In the fall/winter, I love to make soups and stews/chilis. In the summer, I love to experiment with different salads and grilled food. I also love baking anything new - especially fancy cakes or individual desserts.
What's one fear you have in the kitchen?
At this time (that will likely change!), I don't really have a "fear" in the kitchen - there are things that I don't know how to do yet, for example, I have yet to cook many large pieces of meat (full turkey, roast beef, etc). I'm not scared of them :), but I worry that I'll buy this big piece of meat and then over/under cook it. I hate wasting things. I'm a bit apprehensive to make candy also - not chocolate, but sugar candy. I'm just learning the different sugar crack phases....and it is so easy to burn yourself.
What's one fear you had in the kitchen but have overcame?
I made my first roast chicken the other day! It was actually really easy. I'm such a loser that I actually had my husband take a picture of it for my "first year married" photo album (it felt like a "married" meal). I also learned how to make my own stock this year, which is also not difficult - that was really rewarding. It helps me to really use all the ingredients and scraps in the kitchen (I save all my vegetable "garbage" in the freezer to make stock) which reduces my garbage (I'm into being green :).