It is such an honor to have the French queen of the kitchen ChocolateAndZucchini.com food blogger Clotilde Dusoulier on PatriciaParisienne!
Having started a career as a software engineer in California, Clotilde returned to Paris in 2003 and began her blog about her passion for food as a creative outlet. Her recipes result in divine meals and desserts, and her genuine way of writing and sharing her knowledge makes you feel like she has written the post just for you. One thing led to another, and today the new mother living in Montmartre is an international success. She has written some amazing cookbooks, such as Chocolate & Zucchini, Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris, and was an editor of I Know How to Cook, just a few of her many accomplishments and accolades.
90 recipes, 75 gorgeous photographs, and 3 years of hard work later, Dusoulier’s latest cookbook The French Market Cookbook is about “the love affair between French cuisine and vegetables.” Though Clotilde is not a vegetarian, she has modified her diet to include many of the fresh fruits and vegetables one can find at a French market. A must-have book in your kitchen, The French Market Cookbook is available now! Read on to hear what the incredible Clotilde has to say about her new book, her favorite recipe, and juggling life as a new mom with her worldwide success.
PatriciaParisienne (PP): Although I am not very good in the kitchen (yet!), I absolutely love kitchen supplies! What are your favorite kitchen items?
Clotide Dusoulier (CD): I couldn’t live without my two trusty knives – a paring knife and a chef knife – and I particularly enjoy using my dough whisk. I also have a soft spot for my bright red KitchenAid.
PP: Paris is the center of great French cuisine, and being invited to dinner at a French person’s home is an honor! There are so many wonderful gastronomical traditions here, and what one serves is very important. What is your go-to dish to make when people come over for dinner?
CD: I really like to serve a Poor Man’s Bouillabaisse (the recipe is in my most recent book) : it’s a particularly fragrant preparation that is served in two installments – first, the broth with toasts of spicy garlic mayonnaise, then the vegetables with a silky slow-poached egg. It’s all make-ahead and has two courses built in, so it’s perfect for guests.
PP: Your blog has one of my favorite words in it – chocolate. Given that there are so many amazing chocolate places in this city, which do you think may be your favorite chocolate?
CD: I really like the bean-to-bar chocolate that Nicolas Berger makes at the new chocolate factory he co-created with Alain Ducasse, especially the pralinés and the chocolat non conché.
PP: Having created so many recipes at this point, it may be difficult to choose just one, but which recipe are you most proud of?
CD: I don’t think I’ll ever tire of the yogurt cake, and it remains one of the most popular on the site to this day!
PP: Going from being a software engineer to having a very successful career in the world of gastronomy is incredible! What advice can you give to those hoping to make a career out of their blog?
CD: I think focusing on creating great content and bringing value to your readers are key. And patience and persistence are the two most important qualities to develop.
PP: Could you run us through a day in the life of Clotilde Dusoulier?
CD: What I love about my job is that every day is different. Some are spent at the computer writing, others in the kitchen recipe testing, others yet out and about in the city exploring new shops and trying new restaurants, or interviewing food professionals, or taking clients on private tours, etc. It keeps things fun, and I find much satisfaction in the variety.
7. When and why did you decide to embark on this vegetarian cookbook project?
CD: I have been eating a more and more plant-based diet for the past few years, and I realized that I had developed quite a repertoire of vegetarian dishes – some personal creations, some inspired by regional French cuisines, some by restaurant meals in Paris or beyond. And it seemed to me that people seldom thought to turn to French cuisine when they sought out meatless recipes, so I wanted to provide a fresh source of inspiration for them.
PP: What was the best part about working on this book?
CD: The best part was that the recipes really reflect the way we eat on a daily basis, so I never had to worry about what to do with the dishes I made while recipe testing: dinner was taken care of!
PP: Many people talk about experiencing a difference in energy levels when they cut meat out of their diets. Did you feel any different?
CD: Not really, but I have never been a very big meat eater.
PP: I read that you now have a son, Milan. Congratulations! How do you handle being a mother as well as a chef, international personality, and, well, doing everything you do? Has having a child influenced the way you look at food?
CD: Like all new parents, I wonder now what I used to do with all the free time I had pre-child! It’s a bit of a juggling act, but it’s mostly about learning to be really efficient with the work time I do have, so I can be fully available when I am with him. Foodwise, the only thing that’s changed is that I am now thinking about how to adapt the dishes I cook for us grownups so they can easily be shared with a one-year-old.
PP: What is your next project?
CD: I have two new book projects stewing – we’ll see how they go!
Thank you, Clotilde, for sharing a bit about yourself with us! Her latest book is now available, and you can get your copy from Amazon here. Make sure to read out her blog Chocolate and Zucchini for some fabulous recipes.