Friday, February 7, 2014

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

Taking off from yesterday's post where Dianne De Las Casas talked about her new book and her being a mom to Eliana De Las Casas, here now is Eliana's interview. She shares with us her beginnings as a young chef and a successful author; her cooking inspirations being Filipino, Cajun, Honduran and Cuban; and her new cookbook, Cool Kids Cook: Fresh & Fit. 

Go to Kid Chef Eliana's webistemore news about her shinning career as chef and author. 

a. When did you discover your love for cooking and "fine" dining?

I started cooking when I was 4 years old. I really started to get serious in cooking at 8 years old. I started a food blog and created cooking tutorials for kids. On my blog, I talked about all of the restaurants I dined at and places I traveled to.

b. What are your influences in cooking and food preparation?

My family heritage influences my cooking because I'm Filipino, Cajun, Honduran, and Cuban. I'm also influenced by cooking shows, cooking magazines, and cookbooks. Usually, I like to cook whatever I'm in the mood for, whether it's Asian, Italian, Latin, Cajun, etc. I also like to cook foods that use fresh ingredients that are in-season. 

Eliana with her sister Soleil and her "lola" Josie
c. What is the most difficult/challenging dish you've prepared or cooked so far?

My most difficult dish that I've cooked would have to be soufflé. I made it not long ago it uses humble ingredients like the egg. You're probably thinking it couldn't be that hard if the ingredients are simple. It's the folding in of the ingredients and the baking the soufflé that's complicated. It's all about technique. You can't overwork the merengue yet you want to mix it pretty well. And, you have to make sure the soufflé rises in the oven and doesn't fall when you take it out. If you are successful, you are considered an amazing chef. It's every chef's dream to create a perfect soufflé. Obviously, mine fell but, I'll try again. Still, it tasted delicious. 

d. How do you balance school, writing and your endeavors as a chef? Any tips you wish to share to young aspiring chefs out there?

I always put school first. I work hard and get straight A's. After school, I do my homework and then cook dinner. I'm constantly writing new recipes every week. A lot of those recipes end up in my cookbooks. Many times, on the weekends, I have book events and cooking demos.

For young aspiring chefs, I think they should follow their dreams. Never stop doing what you love. You also need to believe on yourself. If you can dream it, then you can achieve it.

e. If I were to visit you in Harvey, New Orleans, what dish or menu would you prepare for me?

If you were to visit me, I would probably cook you a little bit of everything. I would serve a little Filipino, Cajun, Honduran, and Cuban. I'm really great at jambalaya and corn and crab bisque. I might just make some homemade ice cream, too! Mmmm!

f. You have a book, a radio show, and guested on TV shows at the ripe old age of 13, so what is the next step for Kid Chef Eliana?

I actually have three cookbooks now. My third cookbook, Cool Kids Cook: Fresh & Fit, just came out. I would like to have a line of spices. I've already created 4 different seasoning blends. I want to create a line of cookware and chef wear for kids. The cookware would be smaller, lighter, and have cool colors and designs. It would be easy for kids to handle. The cookware would also be labeled with the name of the pot, pan, etc. Plus, I would like to have a TV show. I am already pitching a TV show, working with a Hollywood production company.

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