The foods that inspired chefs

Many chefs tell stories about the foods that led them to become interested in a culinary career. Sometimes it involves cooking with their mother or grandmother, while other times the inspiration came from outside the home. CNN recently profiled four chefs – two famous and two relative newcomers – about the foods that made them embark on their culinary journey.

Chocolate and almond cake (Reine de saba) from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child and Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck

For Daniel Boulud, trailing his grandmother around her kitchen was the impetus for becoming a chef. One dish in particular was seared into his memory, brouillade (egg scramble) with fresh mushrooms. “My grandmother was spending at least eight hours a day in the kitchen, if not more, to feed the family every day between breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Boulud said. “I remember the many hours I spent with her and that gave me a love for cooking.”

Jaíne Mackievicz, the winner of the first Julia Child Challenge on Food Network, also had fond memories of food made at home, but after her father passed away, she did not feel like cooking any more. She instead went to law school, but found that working as a lawyer was not going to be fulfilling. The inspiration to go back into the kitchen came after eating a chocolate cake, similar to Julia Child’s Reine de Saba.

The other culinary personalities profiled in the CNN article are Lidia Bastianich and Fabrizio Villalpando, who became a TikTok sensation for his cooking videos.

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