By Robin Clark
Life at my family table
What kind of food did you grow up eating, and how did it influence you? What’s your philosophy of cooking. What sparked your passion in the food industry?
I grew up eating very typical American housewife-type food: casseroles, meatloaf, ham steaks. It was all homemade. My mom cooked. We sat at the table as a family every night. I loved the family aspect of it. We were taught to eat everything on our plates regardless of whether we liked it or not. My sisters and I always helped make the food and clean up after the meal.
As far back as I can remember, I always loved cooking in the kitchen with my mom. Cooking always had such a special place in my heart. When I wasn’t happy with my pre-med career path, it was obvious where I needed to turn next: food. As soon as I entered culinary school, I was hooked. I think it was the industry that sparked my passion because the more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. I just can’t get enough. I’ve never been more passionate about anything in my life.
My Favorite Cookbook: The Last Course by Claudia Fleming with Melissa Clark
My sister gave me this cookbook for Christmas this year. She knows I am the pastry chef of a large restaurant group and that we always love new inspiration. I think what I love so much about it is that Claudia Fleming’s style is very similar to my own. I was flipping through the pages thinking: “I want to try that. I love that technique,” etc. She presents fully plated desserts with multiple components, but each individual piece could be paired with so many other things, or stand on its own as a whole other dish. The possibilities are endless, and I have absolutely LOVED trying her stuff.
3 must-try recipes from this cookbook
- Cream Cheese Ice Cream pg. 212
This is one of the best ice creams that I have ever made, so creamy, perfectly tangy—perfection.
- Vanilla Shortbread pg. 191
A great basic shortbread that can be flavored any way you want and comes out great every time!
- Candied Fennel pg. 124
If you haven’t thought of using fennel in sweet applications… now you can!
5 fun facts about me that other people may not know
- I was originally going to school, hoping to be a brain surgeon before switching to culinary school.
- I modeled for a bit in college, nothing risque, just did some shoots with my photographer friends, and I built up a portfolio. In another life, maybe I would’ve pursued fashion.
- I have a very good singing voice.
- I have a freckle in between my toes.
- I love to knit.
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