When did you first get in to cooking and do you remember the first recipe you tried?
I started cooking when I was 8 years old and I probably made something for breakfast like my great grandmothers recipe for homemade pancakes. Even at a young age, I liked to experiment with different ingredients to see how they came out so I would make my own variations. As I got older(in my early teens) and graduated to main meals, the first meal I made was Eggplant Parmesan as it was and still is my favorite.
What's your kitchen like and how do you keep organized when cooking?
I love my kitchen and just had it renovated last year so that the flow is much easier now than it was before. Everything is stored where it's readily available at my fingertips when I need it. Before I start cooking, I think about what ingredients and kitchen utensils I need for the recipe I'll be creating and make sure I have everything I need before I start. There is nothing like getting into the flow of cooking and realizing you don't have a key component. I also am very good at time management. If something has to brown on the stove for 5 minutes, I use those 5 minutes to do something else like prep for another recipe or wash the dishes instead of standing idle.
What tips would you give to someone wanting to become a better cook?
Don't be afraid to experiment with the flavors you and your family love. If you see a recipe you would like to try, but there is an ingredient in the recipe that you don't like, substitute the ingredient with one you do. Or make it the way the recipe calls for, then make it again with substitutions. Cooking, like anything else, takes patience and practice.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and what would you cook for them?
That's a hard one, but I'd have to say my ancestors. I love listening to old stories and historical accounts. As for what I would cook, it would depend on what was in season, but Italian food would definitely be on the menu and I'm sure everyone would be in the kitchen cooking with me.
Do you do any other crafts and what are your hobbies?
I love taking pictures and tried scrapbooking for a brief time, but didn't have the time to commit to keep up with it.