When did your love of cooking begin?
My love of food began at a very young age. My parents separated when I was around 7-8 years old and I remember coming home from school and wanting something to eat. I started cooking small items and the casserole was one of the first things I learned how to make. Back in the 70’s mixed flavor fruit mixes were not as plentiful as they are now and I would mix different flavors of cool-aid with lemonade or orange juice that would get my mother upset. I also ruined a few pots and pans as I learned how to control heat.
Who inspired you ?
One of my greatest inspirations was when I lived in Germany. Aubrey was a co-worker that taught me how to stir fry properly and to make egg rolls from scratch. He had lived in New York City and learned his technique from a few of the restaurants in China Town there. From there many people have been my inspiration. I’ve been fortunate to have many great teachers show me little tidbits of the culinary trade. Today I get to interact with many wonderful people from the amateur cook to the hard working chefs in their restaurants. They are all inspiring to me in so many ways.
What is your favorite method of food preparation and why?
I’m not sure if I have a favorite method as they all have their place in food preparation. I will say that I love the economy of how Asian food is made and the resulting flavors. I do a lot of stir fries at home as well as making steamed buns and dumplings. I also love raw food and working with the different properties of ingredients to come up with something just a little different.
Is there a region or culture whose culinary style you prefer? Why?
I love Asian food!! Whether it is different Provences of China, Japan, Korean, Thai, Indonesian, etc… I love the flavor combinations and how each of the preparations are accomplished. I also love raw vegan fare. Raw Vegan food is getting to the very essence of fresh produce and nutrition. I even spend time in a raw food restaurant in Illinois once in a while because I love how healthy and wholesome this type of food is.What is your favorite main course recipe?
With food I don’t have that many favorites. I love well prepared food and I try to keep myself open to surprises of all sorts. Eating is an emotional connection for me and some times I gravitate toward comfort food that reminds me of certain periods in my life. My best friend owns a Chinese restaurant and some of my best memories are in the kitchen eating there after hours. I miss those times immensely.
What’s in your ultimate dessert?
As far as desserts go, I’m a pie person rather than a cake person. A peach pie made from fresh peaches with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side can be an amazingly meditative experience for me.What tips do you have for budding chefs who are new to social media?
My advice to people dipping their toes into the social media pool is to be fun and gracious. I have met some of the most amazing personalities on the planet through Twitter and Facebook. Social media is all about the relationship building. I try to be diligent about answering questions when they are posed to me and to be helpful if I’m able. It is difficult sometimes when I can’t help because of distance or situation.
Be passionate and different. There are so many people that offer similar advice, find your niche and have a great time doing it. Also be consistent, every morning I get up and check twitter and Facebook, I usually say hello and even put out a quote or factoid of some sort. Even when I’m on vacation. I think that people appreciate the consistency of those acts and it gives me a reason to get up with a smile each morning.
We’re all about exploring new places, people & foods. What’s on YOUR bucket list?
My bucket list is a long one. I really want to get to Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant “The Fat Duck” and eat a few different meals there. I also would love to spend a few years in Asia going from each little restaurant and cafe just to cook, taste, learn as much as I could in each country and Provence there. I would love to meet Jamie Oliver in person, his heart is in the right place and is helpful to so many people. Aside from that I’m going to continue teaching, learning, and enjoying life no matter where life takes me. It has been quite a ride so far.
Pumpkin Sparkle Cookies (Recipe)
- 1 cup shortening
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cup fresh and firm blueberries
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
- Place parchment paper on your cookie sheets.
- In a large bowl, cream together the shortening, granulated sugar and brown sugar until smooth.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the vanilla and pumpkin until well blended.
- In another bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg
- Add the flour into the pumpkin mixture ( this is a pretty stiff mix so I like to use my hands )
- Mix in the chocolate chips and blueberries and combine gently
- Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until edges begin to brown
- Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely
Chef Felisha’s PASSION is food! Writing about food, restaurant reviews,book reviews, recipes, teaching and eating
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