Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Simply Suppers Two Day Feature! Part 1: Interview With Jennifer Chandler

I was extremely pleased when given the chance to review Simply Suppers by author and culinary chef Jennifer Chandler!  I had an amazing time re-creating her recipes and testing them on unsupsecting food critics!  Part one of this special two day feature is my interview with Jennifer.  I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!  Make sure to stop by again tomorrow for part two, my review of her wonderful cookbook!

What was it like to give up a career in finance and move to Paris for Culinary school?

Scary! Seriously though, while I was always good with numbers, I was not enjoying what I was doing. I figured why not give my dream a shot. And luckily for me, the risk has turned out to be one of my best decisions.

 Do you find the kitchen less stressful than your former career? Is cooking an escape for you? What drew you to preparing and cooking meals rather than just eating them?

Besides being fun and rewarding, running a restaurant is probably one of the most stressful ventures out there. Worrying about staff, overhead, consistency, etc.

Now that I am “retired” from being a restaurant owner, I think I have the best job in the food industry. I get to play with food for a living … on my terms without worrying about the headaches of the restaurant biz!

I honestly enjoy cooking. My love of food began with eating … and I quickly learned that not much tastes better than a home-cooked meal.

Your recipes are delicious; do you have your own taste testing team?

Thanks for the compliment!

Yes … I have a great team of recipe testers. I wanted to make sure my recipes were clear and fool-proof. To that end, I gathered a team of about 15 recipe testers for this book. Their cooking skills ranged from novice to trained chef … and every where in between. I thought it was important to have testers of all abilities because I wanted my recipes to be simple enough for beginner cooks but also offer twists that would engage more experienced cooks.

Many of the cooking tips came from questions and comments from my incredible recipe testers. My testers were an integral part in making sure this book would be a success.

How do you find time as a mom to create and test these recipes?

I work a normal work day while my kids are at school …. Developing, researching, testing (and re-testing!), and writing recipes.

And as an added benefit, cooking dinner becomes part of work! When I am writing a book, pretty much every meal my family enjoys is a recipe being developed for the book. (Not sure what is going to happen to us if I ever write a dessert book! Bet my kids would love cookies and cake for breakfast, lunch & dinner!)

Do you have plans for another cookbook?

Yes! We hope to create a series of Simply books. A series of books that show how easy it is to put a delicious, home-cooked meal on the table.

So far Simply Salads and Simply Suppers. It’s not yet finalized, but it looks like the 3rd book in the series will be Simply Grilling.

What is your favorite food?

Pretty much anything CHOCOLATE! And the richer and darker the chocolate, the better!

In Simply Suppers, what is your favorite recipe? Do you have one that you are especially fond or proud of and why?

That’s a hard questions since this book is a collection of my favorites! Can I say all of them?!

I do like my list of 10 Leftover Chicken Makeovers (p xi). I no longer have to hear my kids say “Not roast chicken again?!” ever again!

You studied in Paris, a dream for many culinary visionaries, what was it like?

Attending Le Cordon Bleu Paris was one of the best decisions I ever made. It was a life changing experience to live in France. Can you imagine a better place to learn about food?! In addition to learning the essential techniques of cooking, I also gained a true appreciation of the art (and eating!) of good food.

I feel like everything I ate in that city, from the famous duck at Le Tour d”Argent to the falafels on the Rue d’Rosiers to the baguettes and cheese from my neighborhood market to the Nutella crepes from street vendors, was absolutely delicious!

Many Thanks go out to Jennifer and her publicist Katie for letting me review this wonderful cookbook and for answering my questions!  Want to learn more about Jennifer and her Simply Series??  Read below!
About the Author:

Jennifer Chandler graduated at the top of her class with Le Grand Diplome and a Mention Tres Bien in Pastry from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She moved back to her hometown of Memphis and in 1999 and opened the highly-acclaimed and award-winning (including Best New Restaurant in Memphis) Cheffie's Market and More - a prepared foods market and bakery. Jennifer is a full-time mother of two, a freelance magazine writer and a professional salad eater.
Jennifer was recently named national spokesperson for French’s Mustard ™
Jennifer also recently partnered with Whole Foods Market in Memphis, TN as a featured author and chef.
Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @cookwjennifer
Become a fan on Facebook: Cook with Jennifer...Good Food Simply

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