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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.
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|
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.
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.
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!
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.