15 Minutes With Stephanie Le of I Am a Food Blog
Stephanie Le didn't plan on becoming a food blogger. That is, until the Vancouver-based newlywed decided to cook her way through the entire Momofuku cookbook back in 2010.What resulted was I am a Food Blog -- Le's collection of crazy-good homemade recipes with a twist (including a salt and pepper French Toast recipe that's to. die. for.) We talked the author of Easy Gourmet and this year's winner of Saveur's Best Cooking Blog on everything from her Poutine obsession to her bad habit of skipping breakfast:
How did you get your start in food?
Stephanie Le: I started blogging a few years ago. I had just started working at my first "real job" and I wasn't feeling particularly fulfilled. My husband gave me a Momofuku cookbook and I decided to cook through it and blog about it for fun. When I finished that project, I decided to start a new blog -- I am a Food Blog -- and blog about anything and everything that interests me about food.
Your usual breakfast:
SL: Ooh, I'm really bad - I tend to skip breakfast unless it's on the weekend. So most "breakfasts" consist of just coffee.
Your ideal kitchen soundtrack:
SL: I love listening to super-poppy, happy tracks. Lately I've been enjoying the new Taylor Swift album, 1989. I also love The Stars, The XX, Bastille, Lorde, and The Postal Service. I'm kind of all over the place. Plus, I always find new channels to listen to on Spotify.
SL: French fries, always and forever.
Kitchen utensil you can't live without:
SL: It's a toss-up between a flexible silicone spatula or a good pair of tongs.
Kitchen utensil you rarely use:
SL: I don't have a lot of utensils that I don't use. But of the ones I do have, it'd have to be a whisk. When you need one, you need one, but otherwise it just sits there.
Food you won't eat:
SL: I'll pretty much try everything at least once!
Indulgence you're currently craving:
SL: French fries, but specifically in Poutine -- it's essentially crispy fries with cheese curds and smothered in gravy.
Last meal on Earth:
SL: Ooh, that is something I cannot answer. Could the meal last for a really, really long time?
Recipe from book you're most eager for readers to make:
SL: I really like the seafood pappardelle. It's super easy and delicious!
Recipe in book that best reflects your personality:
SL: Probably the popcorn chicken -- it's fun, a little complicated and completely addictive.
Pick one: eat out, order in, cook at home:
SL: It's a toss up between cooking at home or ordering in.
Any recent recipe fails?
SL: Yes! I recently make a pastry cream that I wanted to lighten up with some softly whipped cream. I was impatient, so I folded it in too early. The pastry cream was still warm and it melted the whipped cream. It ended up being soupy, but delicious.
What's your go-to 20-minute-or-less dinner:
SL: Pasta Carbonara. It's super fast and super comforting.
One ingredient you could do without:
SL: People seem to like cooking with olive oil, but I feel like there are so many other neutral oils out there that are better suited for cooking (rice bran, soy bean, safflower).
One ingredient you can't stop using:
SL: Eggs, for sure.
What advice do you have for people learning to cook for themselves at home?:
SL: Don't be afraid to experiment! And, cook often. The more you cook, the more comfortable you'll get in the kitchen.
Want more? Pick up Stephanie's new book, Easy Gourmet, on Amazon here.