These dishes have made famous chefs fall in love with cooking

Editor’s Note – Editor’s Note: “Julia” tells the story of legendary cookbook author and television superstar Julia Child, who revolutionized home cooking in the United States. The CNN movie will premiere Monday, May 30 at 8 p.m. ET.

It was the life-changing dishes that inspired these now-famous chefs to start cooking.

Ingredients, technique and layers of flavor come together in perfect harmony to create a memorable dish. Every bite made them want to explore the world of food and master cooking.

With their taste buds buzzing, this epiphany led them to pursue their newfound passion.

Here are the dishes that have inspired other renowned chefs and rising culinary personalities to start a career in the kitchen.

Daniel Boulud: Scrambled eggs with fresh mushrooms


This world-class chef’s passion for food started young. Growing up on a farm near Lyon, France, he harvested fresh ingredients and learned to cook by watching his grandmother.

“My grandmother spent at least eight hours a day in the kitchen, if not more, feeding the family every day between breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Boulud said. “I remember the many hours I spent with her and it made me love cooking.”

The dish that sparked Boulud’s passion in the kitchen was scramble (scrambled eggs) with fresh mushrooms.

During mushroom season in spring and fall, he would go with his grandmother to her secret spots in their fields to collect wild mushrooms.

“What struck me the most was always the fact that nature always brought a party – whether it was the first strawberry, tomato or mushroom of the season,” Boulud said.

“That’s French cuisine. There’s the technique, there’s the classics, but it’s first going to the market and seeing what the market brings you and then cooking something with it.”

Today, the chef brings his passion for fresh seasonal produce to his gastronomy. French cuisine has been his guide as he expands his empire with new restaurants and menus, incorporating international flavors and ingredients.

“French cuisine has been explored by generations and generations of chefs, home cooks, enthusiasts, like Julia (Child) and food writers. And French cuisine continues to inspire people. It’s entertaining . It’s delicious. It’s accessible. It’s possible,” he said.

Fabrizio Villalpando: Grilled octopus

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Like many of us, the pandemic was a time when Fabrizio Villalpando had some extra time off.

“I found that I watched a lot of food content and found it very comforting,” Villalpando said. “So, one day, I decided that I was going to give it a shot! »

Villalpando said he discovered his curiosity for food while working as a waiter at Ivory on Sunset at the Mondrian Hotel in West Hollywood, California. The chef let him taste something from the menu and he chose the grilled octopus with Meyer lemon jelly.

“When I tried it, I was like, ‘Woah, the food is amazing,'” he said. “I think it was the first time I had a balanced dish. It had an unexpected sweetness. I didn’t know you could mix sweet things with a savory dish, especially in a savory form.”

That life-changing moment happened while he was sitting in the back of the restaurant, next to the trash cans.

With basic cooking skills and experience working in restaurants, he started producing food content for social media. He started by practicing chopping and watching YouTube videos for advice. As he got better, he started making more and more dishes.

As the son of immigrants, Villalpando’s new found love for cooking was an opportunity for him to re-explore his Mexican heritage and connect with the community.

“I found that part of myself that I kind of neglected for so long,” he said. “Mexican food is a beautiful thing and I’m learning more and more about it every day.”

The social media star suggested a starting point for those intimidated by cooking: go chop an onion.

“Go to your kitchen, take an onion and chop it. You’re going to cry and then you’re going to be like, ‘I think I’ve been through the most difficult process.’ Then continue with the rest of the recipe,” he said.

After a good cry, the rest is child’s play.

Lidia Bastianich: Grandma’s cooking

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Lidia Bastianich is famous for being an Emmy-winning TV host and author of best-selling cookbooks, but she’s also a refugee who discovered her love of cooking under unusual circumstances.

Bastianich was born in Istria in 1947, the same year the Italian peninsula fell under the communist regime of Yugoslavia. Prohibited from speaking her mother tongue, Italian, from practicing religion or running a business, her family felt the constraints of the new ruling party.

But at such a young age, Bastianich was sheltered from political strife and led an idyllic life – spending much of his time with his grandmother, Rosa, who lived in the small countryside village of Busoler (in the present-day Croatia).

His grandmother had a farm where she took care of animals and cultivated a large garden. She grew, raised, produced, vinified and ground all the food for the family. And throughout this process, Bastianich was by his side as his little assistant.

Her childhood was entwined with food.

For Bastianich, it would be impossible to name a dish that sparked his culinary career. She explodes with excitement as she describes all the delicious foods and flavors she devoured during those pivotal years of her life, including ripe figs, fluffy gnocchi and savory chicken soup.

One of her favorites was wild asparagus, which she picked herself. It was pencil thin with an intense flavor. She describes the complex flavor as bitter and earthy with a sweet finish.

There were thousands of ways her grandmother prepared asparagus, from pastas and salads to soups and frittatas.

“I can still enjoy the wild asparagus frittata made with Grandma Rosa, extra virgin olive oil, goose eggs so fresh they were still warm, my foraged asparagus and a piece of homemade bread to mop it all up,” she wrote. .

Eventually, under threat from the communist regime, Bastianich’s family fled first to Italy and then to the United States, where she launched her cooking career and continued her grandmother’s legacy.

“I left behind a whole world I dreamed of, and food was my connection to that world,” she said.

Today, she is a restaurateur, TV host, cookbook author, and advocate for refugees and businesswomen.

“I don’t think she or I knew the influence she had,” Bastianich said of her grandmother. “It’s only over the years of digging deeper and deeper into myself that I find all of these connections and cherish them.”

Now she hopes others can celebrate their own connection to food, just like she did.

“Cooking isn’t about following a recipe with precision. Cooking is about getting a result that truly reflects what you have, your knowledge, and the flavors you want,” she said.

Jaíne Mackievicz: Flourless Chocolate Cake

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Growing up, Jaíne Mackievicz – who lived in a remote town in Brazil – loved being in the kitchen and cooking with her parents. She joked that there were two reasons for this: there wasn’t much else to do and she liked to eat different things.

His mother ran a home bakery and Mackievicz loved helping out. Sometimes she mixed the ganache and whipped the meringue – and most of the time she licked the bowl.

She dreamed of becoming a chef like Julia Child, but when her father passed away, she stopped cooking altogether.

“It was the thing that connected us both, and for me it was just a moment of sadness. I didn’t feel like I could be in the kitchen again,” he said. she declared. “I didn’t have the inspiration.”

Mackievicz became a lawyer, but when she realized it wasn’t her calling, she enrolled in the culinary faculty at Boston University’s Metropolitan College with the goal of becoming a food writer.

During one of the classes, she tasted a chocolate-coffee cake. Then she had a light bulb moment.

“I tasted one of the cakes we made and then I thought of my dad. I reconnected with that feeling and that’s when I realized it was the thing I would do for the rest of my life,” Mackievicz said. . She then set her sights on cooking, baking, and sharing Brazilian cuisine with the world through cookbooks and television.

The cake looked like Julia Child’s Queen of Sheba, a chocolate almond cake.

“Just the smell of it makes me think of being happy,” she explained.

With a rekindled passion for cooking and baking, Mackievicz took on a new challenge: the Food Network’s “Julia Child Challenge.” She took part in a series of cooking challenges against seven home cooks earlier this year and won.

“Dreams come true,” Mackievicz said. “I just want people to know that everything they know in the kitchen is very valuable and you can take it away.”

His advice for new chefs: take risks, follow your intuition and don’t be disappointed if everything isn’t perfect every time. It encourages cooks and bakers to play with flavors and aromas.

“Courage should be your main ingredient,” Mackievicz said.

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