Monday, May 24, 2010

French Flair in the Kitchen

Just hearing the theme song of Asian Food Channel's French Food at Home, makes me wring my hands in glee and anticipation. I love watching Laura Calder glide around the kitchen as she whips up delectable French dishes & pastries. She's so pretty to watch! *LOL*

I am so not a cook. I always tell people I can't bake to save my life. "But have you tried?" My BFF asked me the other day. Well... not really.... But I do entertain the fantasy of being a Domestic Goddess on weekends, when I blast French music, put on an apron, and whisk flour & eggs in the kitchen.

The BFF started baking recently and that has inspired me to at least consider dipping my finger into it. Maybe I can start by being her assistant? And watching Laura Calder makes me feel like I can do this.

There's an episode of Season 3 that I particularly like. It's on Simple Pleasures. And she bakes petit fours, powder puffs with cream & raspberry jam, canele, and stirs up a mean lait de poule (eggnog). Oo-la-la! *drool*

Although this Canadian lass loved cooking and baking from a young age (she won her 1st competition at age 6 for her chocolate cake with peanut butter icing!), cooking as a career never did cross her mind.

No, she pursued a degree in Linguistics in Toronto, then a Masters degree at the prestigious London School of Economics, and even began a career in print & broadcast journalism (radio!), all the while cooking & baking as a hobby.

"Even when I traded all my textbooks (after graduating from LSE) for cookbooks, and carted all the crates back home, it didn't hit me that it was what I was meant to do," she says with chuckle. "It was in my face all the while, you'd think I'd have seen it!"

But it was a particularly low point in her life, and a failed relationship, that led her to give up everything, take that leap of faith, and enroll herself in a cooking school in Vancouver. And as they say, the rest is history.

A chance meeting with cookbook author & chef Anne Willan led her to spend the next decade of her life in Paris, learning the finer art of French cooking. And what ensued was two cookbooks of her own, French Cooking at Home (HarperCollins, 2003) and French Taste: Elegant Everyday Eating (2009).

In 2005, she was served up a TV series of her very own, titled after her first published cookbook, and it's been so successful it's into its 3rd season! *beams* I guess when you're born to do something, the universe makes a way for that to happen, no matter how you try to skirt around it. I guess you just have to listen to your heart and trust your instincts.

A very tall Laura Calder, host of AFC's "French Food at Home".

I was thrilled to meet Laura face-to-face in The Living Room and to get to know her better. I found that we have much in common! For one, we're both writers at heart. And it's in the expression of the word that we're able to crytalise our thoughts best. *grin*

She keeps a journal which she carries with her everywhere. She never leaves home without it. And it's there that she scribbles her thoughts, ideas and reflections. I asked her why not start a blog? She smiles and declines. I love that "old schoolness" about her somehow, especially since she's an celebrity chef and must face so much pressure to do so!

Well, you can bet I'll be tuning in French Cooking at Home 3. You can catch Laura too on Mondays 9pm on the Asian Food Channel (Starhub Ch435), or visit her website to find out more about her.

Tip: Read her bio page! It really gives a hint of the sort of person she is! I so totally enjoyed reading it... *wink*

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