Who was your greatest influence in the kitchen?
Julia Child -- she was the first one to cook on television and there was something about her that made it look like it was OK to fail and OK to try. Also, I grew up in San Diego, so there were a lot of cultural influences on my cooking -- Latin, Asian, Thai. It was a great place to grow up and come into your own cooking style. For me, my cooking influences were more places than people.
What has been your biggest kitchen disaster?
When my husband and I first got married I wanted to make him a pie because his mother makes such great pies. I was going to make a boysenberry pie and we were in Idaho at the time. We went into a Marie Callender's store where they made their own shortening. I thought it would be great for the pie, but didn't realize the shortening was rancid, so that didn't go over very well!
Any foods you just can't stand?
My husband can't get over the fact that I just don't like avocados! It's unthinkable to him, especially since I grew up in California.
It changes all the time, but I love fresh seafood. That's one thing I miss about living in California.
Where would you go on your dream culinary vacation?
I think I would travel to Tuscany -- I like rustic, fresh, seasonal cooking.
What are your pantry staples?
We always have olive oil, peanut butter, and baking supplies on hand, but I try and cook fresh as much as I can, so I don't have a lot of pantry staples.
Is there anything you make from scratch that might surprise people?
I make my own homemade brioche, but I don't make it all that often because it's pretty labor intensive.