July 2015 - Cover Story - Chef Susan Herrmann Loomis
When it comes to her philosophy, Chef Susan Herrmann Loomis looks to French cooking - the closer food is raised to where it is cooked, the better it will taste. Loomis cooks locally and seasonally, putting her philosophy into action daily, cooking with the finest ingredients produced on farms within twenty minutes of her gorgeous kitchen.
As an internationally-recognized expert on food and an award-winning journalist/author, Loomis take a unique approach by combining training in journalism with a love for food and the people who produce it. An award winning author of nine books both food and literary, the most recent of which is Nuts in the Kitchen, Loomis’ extensive travel throughout the United States, France, Italy, the Middle East and parts of Asia has given her a depth of knowledge and an appreciation for the rich traditions around food—how it is grown, harvested, and prepared. Loomis will be partnering with The Artichoke Cafe for one extraordinary night of dinner in celebration of her latest book, In A French Kitchen. Loomis took some time to sit down with me and discuss where her love of food came from and what inspires her in the kitchen.
You have a real passion for French cuisine. Where did it come from?
I was a cooking apprentice in France, and I fell under the spell of French cuisine then. That was more than 25 years ago.
With all the travels under your belt, which city do you draw your influence from?
Paris; Marseilles; Toulouse; Rome; Florence…there are so many!
Have your children caught the cooking bug?
No, but they have discriminating palates.
With 12 books under your belt, what can we expect from In A French Kitchen?
You can expect to walk into the French home kitchen and watch experts at work, producing simple, fine, lovely meals daily!
We’re excited to have you visit Albuquerque. What can we expect during this dinner and book signing on July 26th?
I'm very excited to be in Albuquerque! You can expect to learn some culinary tips and tricks and here a few French stories, and taste some wonderful examples of the recipes from In a French Kitchen. And even more than all of that, you can expect to have a wonderful time, and walk away with a signed copy of In a French Kitchen!
Which all the dishes you’ve created and learned to cook, what would you say is your favorite?
Oh dear. My signature dessert is Tarte Tatin; but everything I make is my favorite thing! Or, I should say that whatever it is I've just eaten in my favorite thing!
You also teach classes. What is the experience like for inspiring chefs?
My students say they are surprised at how much they learn about techniques and ingredients, flavor combinations and how to enjoy time at the table, French culture and cuisine. We have a lot of fun, we spend a lot of time cooking, tasting, and enjoying the meals we've made.
What is the one lesson you want your students to walk away with?
That food and eating are all about pleasure.
What would you like your legacy to be?
If I have a legacy, I would hope it to be that I've done my part to help the family farmer stay on the farm and lead a good life there.