1. Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
I was born and raised in a place called Bessarabia, where people of many different nationalities and cultures lived together for centuries. There were Russians, Ukrainians, Moldavians, Romanians, Germans, Bulgarians, Greeks, Armenians, and Jews, and each nationality brought something different to the local cuisine. Most of the people in Bessarabia spoke at least three languages. Over many centuries, the cooking traditions of these cultures mixed and evolved into a rich cuisine unique to the region. All of the women I grew up with mastered the art of cooking and hospitality, and shared their knowledge and recipes with me. I’ve brought my love, interest for food, and native cuisine to America, which I enjoy sharing with others.
2. What's your least favorite kitchen task?
Shredding vegetables on a box grater.
3. Your favorite kitchen tool?
My mini food processor and a very old paring knife with sharp serrated edges, which I use more than any other knife for cutting, slicing, chopping, mincing, and dicing.
4. What is your idea of comfort food?
I love dips and spreads; they are perfect for both parties and just snacking from the jar any time of the day or night, or for spreading on a piece of toasted bread. Also, salads with everything but the kitchen sink are a comfort food for me.
5. What is your greatest kitchen disaster?
Aside from occasional small oven burns on my poor piano hands and fingers, I’ve been lucky not to have any recent major kitchen disasters.