When did you first get in to cooking and do you remember the first recipe you tried?
I began baking when I was a very young girl and the first recipe I ever made was for Russian Tea Cookies. It was one of my mom's favorite recipes. She encouraged me to pursue my culinary passion and took me to my first candy making class when I was 13 years old. By sixteen, I was decorating and selling cakes, and at twenty three I opened my first confectionery store.
What's your kitchen like and how do you keep organized when cooking?
We custom designed my kitchen with a 10 foot island in the middle, so I have plenty of work space. When I get cookin' I can fill the entire counter with clutter, so I can't say I'm the most organized cook, but somehow I manage to get all the ingredients into my dishes.
What tips would you give to someone wanting to become a better cook?
First, remember it's just food, so don't stress out. Second, practice. The more you cook the better you become. I watched a lot of cooking shows and learned so much from all the chefs. I particularly love the America's Test Kitchen show. They really show you why and how things work.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and what would you cook for them?
To be honest, I'd be way too nervous to cook for anyone famous and I probably wouldn't enjoy myself. I love to cook for my friends and they are always great company, so my dream dinner party would be with them and I'd probably make something Italian. I should have been born in Italy. I could eat Italian food every day.
Do you do any other crafts and what are your hobbies?
I do scrapbook and make jewelry and have been known to dabble in other crafty projects, but most of my crafting happens in the kitchen. In my free time, I love to swim, cycle, hike, and play tennis.