What inspired you to become a chef?
LOVE. After I moved to this country, I met my ex-husband. He was the photographer for a commercial campaign where I was working as a model. That was it. Love at first sight. We got married and I didn’t even know how to boil an egg. So, I said, “I’m going to cook for him and I am going to do it well.” All I know is that I fell in love with the kitchen, the ingredients, the aromas. I used to spend hours and hours creating my own dishes and cooking for him and our friends. I was addicted to the kitchen. At one of those dinners, everyone asked me if I’d open up my own restaurant. My response was, “Maybe not a restaurant just yet, but I will become a great chef.”
It took me 3 tries to pass the admission test at Le Cordon Bleu because it was in English and I could barely speak the language back then ( BTW I think that is why my marriage was working, he would only speak English until I learned the language - lol). On my last chance to pass the admission test at Le Cordon Bleu, I DID IT and I had a great time!
Who would you say are some of your culinary influences?
To me it is sad to say it because we just lost him recently, but Anthony Bourdain had that perfect combination of art, food, and entertainment. He introduced us to many interesting chefs from around the world and we were able to observe and discover so many cultures and culinary influences through his shows.
What is one of your most memorable moments as a Chef?
When I got to cook for Sergio Mendes. I was working at Providence Kitchen at that time and I remember Michael Cimarusti walked into the kitchen and asked me if I knew Sergio Mendes. Of course, I did. He said, “You do, for real? You better because you are cooking for him tonight. I am going to bring him inside the kitchen after he is done to meet you.” And that was the happiest moment - when he signed the back of a menu and walked in the kitchen to say THANK YOU to me.
What message would you give others who would like to follow in your culinary footsteps?
There are many ways to be involved in the culinary industry. Whether you decide to be a food stylist, have your own cooking show, or create food products - to me the importance of your decision should always be the purpose. For me, living with a deep purpose to help others through what you do is a gift. Yes, you have a gift! You just need to share it!
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