My love for food is in the family. Home in Louisiana I grew up watching my mom work her magic in the kitchen, bringing together a roux in a giant pot for her gumbo or scooping heaping spoonfuls of hush puppies out of the oil on the stove. I’d tag along with my dad to the seafood restaurant he managed, shadowing his every move, from shucking oysters to butterflying shrimp. Southern food will always nourish my soul, and serving up a taste of the South to my California friends is one of my favorite things about my move out west.
Moving to California proved to be a pivotal moment in my food-loving life; the abundance and variety of seasonal produce, coupled with California’s natural diversity, brought my culinary spirit to life. Armed with my family’s food traditions and recipes, I set about learning to cook different culinary styles and tastes.
In addition to culinary classes from community colleges and local programs at Lake Tahoe and the High Sierra, I traveled to Italy and Spain to take instructional cooking classes while immersed in the culture, flavors and spirit. In Italy, I enrolled in the Giglio Cooking School in Florence, where we perfected traditional Tuscan recipes from cheese-filled crepes to rustic hand-rolled pastas to the classic Italian dessert, Tiramisu. My time in Italy led to the start of my Pasta Parties and the continuation of Italian pasta-making traditions and recipes!
In Spain, I took classes with Cook & Taste in Barcelona in the heart of Spain’s Catalan region. From tapas to the Spanish favorite, paella, I added new Mediterranean flavors to my repertoire. As I travel the globe in search of new adventures, I will continue the tradition of taking a local cooking class in each destination, adding new techniques and flavors with every stop on the way!
I feel so lucky being able to live in Lake Tahoe, one of the most beautiful places in the world, but ever more lucky that I get to do what I love most- cooking for others.
portrait of Chef Arica of Yummy Fixins