Thursday, February 6, 2014

Tag Team Interview: Dianne De Las Casas & Eliana De Las Casas (1 of 2)

For this month's author interview, the blog is honored to have international storyteller and author Dianne De Las Casas and Kid Chef Eliana De Las Casas. Regular readers of the blog know who Dianne De Las Casas is as I have featured her in the blog several times over. To know more about her, visit her website and you'll discover her many talents. Apart from being a storyteller, author and literacy advocate, Dianne is one great mom. Over the past years, she has been supporting Eliana's career as young chef and author. 

In this interview, she shares her wonderful experience as coach, talent builder and adviser to her daughter Eliana. Dianne has a new picture book, Cinderellaphant, and she talks about it briefly in this interview. 

a. When did you see or learn of Eliana's potential as a chef?

Eliana began cooking when she was 4 years old. She always loved being in the kitchen, stirring and mixing things up when she was little girl. Every Christmas and birthday, she would ask for tools related to the kitchen. When she was a result, I suggested that she start a food blog. Since then, her skill and professionalism has grown immensely.

b. How did you develop and encourage that potential? 

I supported Eliana by encouraging her to start a food blog. As a family, we all talked her different kitchen skills. I'm more of the gourmet; Eliana's dad specializes in pizza, bread, and ice cream; her Filipina nana does comfort food; her Cajun pawpaw excels at outdoor cooking; her abuela and her older sister, Soleil, love to bake; her uncle Gary taught her how to fish and crab; and her aunt Pam gardens and raises chickens. All of these influences have helped shape and Eliana into the chef she is becoming.

c. What road blocks did you, Eliana and your family encounter along the way as Eliana pushes and accomplishes her dreams? How did you, individually and collectively as a family, overcome these road blocks?

As you know, I have my own career as a children's book author. Balancing both Eliana's rising star and sustaining my career has been quite a challenge. Fortunately, we can do events together and balance the schedule that way.

d. How does being a successful author contribute to being a "mom" to Eliana?

My experience as an author has definitely helped me guide her in her own book and cooking career. It makes it easier for me to relate to her when it comes to her writing recipes, blogging, and writing her cookbooks. We often brainstorm together and plan her career together.

e. What do you love doing together apart from cooking and writing books, of course?

We love going to the movies and shopping. We both enjoy throwing parties, playing board games, and reading the same books, so that we can discuss them together. In addition, our favorite activity that we love to do together is traveling! Eliana and I derive so much inspiration from our travels for my books as well as her recipes.

f. Any new books, storytelling gigs and projects to promote? Please give a message to your fans in the Philippines. I know they miss you and are awaiting your next visit.

My newest picture book is Cinderellaphant. It's a remix of the "classic furry tail" with a pachyderm princess, a fairy godmouse, two step hippos, and a royal roan looking for his "sole mate." 

I have another book with Libraries Unlimited called Handmade Tales 2: More Stories to Make and Take with draw and tell, fold and tell, string stories, and more. It continues the tradition started in my very popular book, Handmade Tales: Stories to Make and Take.

I miss all of the teachers in the Philippines and keep in touch with many of them through social media and email. Thank you so much for the work that you do, and for continuing to use my books and the information from my workshops in your teachings. Mahal kita!

I would love to return to the Philippines and bring Kid Chef Eliana with me! Now that would be a great story!

Eliana's interview will appear in the blog tomorrow.

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