Lisa L [chokolaj24]
How and why did you begin to be creative?
My sister was in art school when I was a kid. Seeing her working on projects at home was fascinating in her subject matter and the materials she used. How to think and see outside the box was encouraged in my childhood and I thrived on that.
I had an ongoing story in my head centered around the toys I played with (Legos but not Barbies!). I played with these little animal "dolls" that were and still are precious to me...their lives intertwined with my own, becoming extreme with a mix of hilarity. One character - a bunny - in particular loved to walk on ceilings and spit on her mother. I love my mother, so I'm sure there is some who other dimension to the psychology there!
Your mind is your work tool. How do you take care of it?
I make sure to be surrounded by nature whenever possible and just turn my mind off. The culinary arts is another form of creativity for me that is relaxing and I often do so free form, which is quite liberating.
Declaration: With what person or business would you like to work?
Chocolate....and people who are passionate to the point of living and breathing what they do day in and day out. People who are happy and have an endless curiosity are contagious. As long as they aren't exhausting to be around, I can thrive amongst those people.
Do you work well under pressure?
Surprisingly well. I become more focused and the adrenalin starts pumping, propelling me to accomplish my tasks. I actually thrive on having multiple tasks at one time. There is a fine line between this and madness, though!!!
What city in the world currently attracts you due to its creative environment?
If I knew where this was, I'd be living there right now! I would like to believe, though, that the most creative-inducing environment for me would be in the middle of nowhere.
What do you feel when, after two or three years, you see an idea of yours again?
After a year or two, my ideas are best left in the past. I can reflect on them and learn from them, but I don't need to relish in them. I put in my time when I created them, and that was enough. I'm always looking ahead.
You are as good as your last idea. Wouldn't you like to have a more secure type of work?
There is no security in anything we do as a human race. Our time is limited. Why not do something we love?
When did you start cooking? Who got you started in this art?
Stone soup was where I got started - you know, hunt and gather on the farm, find pot, fill pot, add water and stir. No, it's not edible, but it's more about the process than the end result! That, and of course, my mother was always making something in the kitchen. Frog-eyed soup, shit on a shingle...all the good stuff that sticks with you through a lifetime.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in food?
While technically, I am a graphic designer by profession, my career has from the start been focused on food. Everything from where food comes from to how it is prepared to how it is packaged fascinates me.
What culinary training have you received? Where have you learned more, in class or by experimenting?
I have very little professional training, but I do work as a kitchen assistant (read: sponge) at Sur La Table and I did partake an intensive educational program to become certified professional chocolatier. But the best way I have learned in by watching, reading and following my intuition. I cook by feel...it does run me into trouble on the simpler things like rice and coffee (yes, you read that right) but I am able to create some complicated and tasty dishes simply by listening to myself and knowing just when to add this or take that out at the right time.
Do you select and buy the ingredients yourself? Where?
Farmer's markets! Direct from the source! Anywhere that the purveyor respects the origins of what I am buying. When I visit a new place, I always seek out the local farmer's market if I have time to get a taste of what that place has to offer.
If any chef in the world could prepare a meal for you, who would it be?
Eric Ripert - his accent alone is a first course in heaven!
Is there something you hate to see when you go to a restaurant as a customer?
Service staff who are not excited or engaged about the food they serve.
What toy gave you the best moments of your childhood?
What is the secret to happiness?
to recognize and savor those moments when the come, no matter how fleeting they may be