I started this blog in January ’08, the same time I started my own business, Electric Blue Baking and Catering. I started out doing mostly baked goods retail for local cafes—who sold lots of my muffins, quiches, and cakes. In August ‘08, I put that on hold to be the Pastry Chef (and store manager) of a successful catering company in the West Village.
That summer, I also met Pichet Ong, one of my favorite Pastry Chefs (his recipes appeared in the same issue of Bon Appetit that mine did), and started working part time in his Batch bakery kitchen, and then P*ong restaurant.
I did not attend culinary school. I graduated from St. Lawrence University with a degree in Biology, with the hopes of going on to study Ethnobotany. When I realized all my extra time was spent writing and testing recipes in my tiny West Harlem apartment kitchen, and not reading scientific papers, I decided to switch paths.
Until then, most of what I knew about cooking came from my grandmothers. When I was little, My Grandma Ana came here from Colombia just to take care of my sister Marie and me while my parents were working in their chemistry labs at the National Institutes of Health.
This was pre-Nintendo, so after school, Marie and I would play in the back yard until the sun went down. We would dig up worms, collect rocks, and get really dirty. There were clumps of onion grass in the lawn, and we would pull them up and bring them into the house, where Grandma Ana would be preparing dinner. Instead of scolding us, she would take the weeds, chop them up, and add them to a big pot of rice. That was my first contribution to a meal.
My other grandma, Marietta, was a Midwestern gal who grew up riding a pony to school. In her DC townhouse, she taught me how to make pancakes, pot roasts and cobblers from scratch. She was also an ESL teacher who opened her home to students from all over the globe. In a time before you could find things like pre-made hummus or enchiladas at a grocery store, you could find them on her dinner table.
Both my grandmas were/are very resourceful in the kitchen, and I like to think that trait is what has allowed me to get this far without going to culinary school.
I hope you like my blog. I love to answer baking questions and talk food, so please post comments here if you have any!
Me and my buddy Matt make pumpkin dumplings.
Snack euphoria at Tripoli with the peeps I love most. 🙂