Today I will be going into the kitchen of Cristina from the From Buenos Aires to Paris blog. I discovered Cristina’s blog a few months back and got hooked right away. Not only does Cristina have an amazing food blog with some great photography but she has a great story behind it. Cristina is an Argentian woman who was formerly a teacher and moved to Paris, France. Through her blog she tells you her story of how she moved to Paris and went to cuisines lessons and became who she is today. I really enjoy reading her blog and hope you do too.
Once upon a time you were a teacher. Tell us more.
I’m a teacher of English, as a second language, by profession. I spent almost all my working life teaching English at all levels: elementary school, high school, university, children, teenagers, adults. Grammar, English Literature. What I loved about this job was the contact with people. Each age group has its own characteristics: teaching children was incredibly rewarding and fun. I love children!! but helping adults to learn English is also great! Witnessing their fears, frustration in the first classes, and then seeing how they gain confidence and tell you “teacher, I can speak now!!!!” that is worth all the trouble and the small salary!
You are Argentinean, but live in Paris, France. How did you end up in Paris?
Because of my husband’s job. The funny thing was that, maybe due to the fact that I am an English teacher, while living in Argentina, and having never stepped on French soil, I was incredibly prejudiced against the French, for me France was “the last place ever to live in.” I was always criticizing the French so when I phoned my friends to say: “I’m moving to France” they thought it was a joke and that “God was punishing me.” I lived in France for 6 years, then I went back to Argentina (before coming back here again) and I must confess I missed France badly to the point of depression! There I learnt that “the French had won” They had conquered my heart, and now I consider myself half Argentinian, half French.
Why did you start a food blog?
I had a frustrating professional cooking experience in Paris. I said “I’m never going to cook again.” Then I saw Julie & Julia, and while admitting that writing a blog was not a very original idea, I said: ”Why not? Let’s see what happens. My two passions come together in the blog: cooking and writing; and now I discovered a third one: photography!
Do you have a signature dish? What is it and how did you come up with it?
While working in a restaurant I learnt that it is “your public, the people, your clients” who have the say they decide which is your signature dish: sometimes I have cooked great things (in my opinion) and received not so much enthusiasm from my readers. Undoubtedly, My fraisier à la mousse de chocolat blanc, has been THE dish that the world has loved. I have received mails from people in Japan, Eastern Europe thanking me for showing that, a typical French entremets . There are so many people who dream of studying at Cordon Bleu, or Lenôtre, and know most probably, they will never make it ( it’s so expensive), young bloggers telling me “it’s my dream to make something like that one day. You can’t imagine what that cake has given me.
What is one of the most important things you learned in cooking school?
What I always repeat in my blog: discipline, cooking well, particularly, patisserie, is a science, a serious job. At first, I used to find pastry a frustrating thing then when I began to “tame it,” I started to enjoy it.
What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
It might sound weird, but it is my “offset spatula” maybe because I love “la finition parfaite” (perfect finishing) That’s very French.
What are three things people don’t know about you?
My love for drama, I’m a very good actress! My tendency to exaggerate the drama of life, that’s my Italian side! The fact that people consider I’m a lot of fun. Sometimes, I get invited to places just because people want to hear “my stories” I don’t know if that is a compliment or not but I love making people have a nice time!
What is your favorite vegetable and how do you like it prepared?
Being Argentinian, I ‘m a sort of feminine version of Neerdenthal. For many years, I refused to eat many vegetables….France taught to eat vegetables, and my favorite is my “mâche” salad, with French vinaigrette, as simple as that! Well, being from South America, sweet potatoes too!
What makes you drool when it comes to food?
Oh, many things! on the French side, the confit de canard, the foie gras. I could eat tons of that! A good Italian risotto, the carrot cake an American friend of mine once made for me the “fideua” (typical dish from Catalunia) I had once in Xavea (Spain), the “Saint-Honoré” by Chef Conticini here in Paris, an Argentinian barbecue, of course!
If you could live anywhere in the world and cook all the time where would it be?
No, I would like to cook in different places, to learn something from each culture but I don’t know why. I dream of having my own restaurant in New York (investors, please, contact me !!!)
What is your favorite restaurant in Paris and why?
I love Hélène Darrozerestaurant, maybe because there are few women chefs in France, you see the esthetics of a woman behind the dishes AND she is a great chef also, she comes from the south-west of France, where I lived for some time, so the typical flavors of this region are exposed in her cooking: she cooks everything in duck fat, and she uses the “piment d’Espelette” THE ingredient present in almost all my dishes.
Describe your death menu. (Last meal before you die)?
Without a doubt, a barbecue made by my father ( he was a gaucho from the Argentinian Pampas, who excelled in his method of grilling meat) and a Spanish tortilla made by my mother ( daughter of Spanish immigrants) As simple as that as good as that!!