Who have been your greatest influences in the kitchen?
My grandmother, mother, aunts, and uncles got me started in the kitchen. My mother could put a party together and was just awesome in the kitchen. I did a lot of cooking when I was very young. There were six of us kids, and when my mother went back to work I took over some of her duties, like making a menu and a grocery list. Then, I would go with her to get the groceries.
Today, where does your inspiration come from?
I get a lot of inspiration from magazines I read, and I read a lot of books as well
What is your go-to meal?
For me, it's always pasta. I sauté mushrooms, tomato paste, basil, oregano, and white wine. Then I add a little cream. If you have pasta and vegetables on hand you can't really go wrong.
Any foods you just can't stand?
I hate to say it but I don't like most lamb dishes. I also don't care for liver. But I'll try just about everything once.
What's your dream culinary vacation?
It's a tossup between Germany and Italy, but I would go to Germany. I lived there for a year and wanted to stay longer and try so much more of the food and experience more of the culture. My father, who was a World War II veteran, had been to Germany and always used to have me make German food for him.
Do you make anything from scratch that might surprise people?
I love to make English muffins and English muffin bread. I have a special pan for making my English muffins and everything.