Driven: Laura Calder
January 17, 2012
Faulhaber friend and chef extraordinaire Laura Calder has been mesmerizing us with French food recipes and a great sense of humour for some time now. We asked her to share some of her kitchen tricks, what’s next for her and how to make it in PR. Also we couldn’t resist to share our favourite French recipe via Laura.
From French Food At Home - Blue Cheese Pasta
Most useful ingredient?
Lemon. The whole thing: the juice and the zest. I can’t have a kitchen without lemons!
When you cook alone ( or before your guests arrive) do you have any rituals? (glass of wine, blasting the music)
I cook alone quite a lot for other people, although I prefer to cook in company. I’m quite organized in the kitchen, so about an hour before anyone arrives, I’m usually feeling like I can have a glass of wine and relax. I love to put on wartime music - those perky vintage tunes from the 30s and 40s.
One suggestion for a dinner party that every host needs to know?
Make sure whatever you’ve cooked allows you to attend! In other words, once guests have arrived, keep your kitchen time minimal and your table time at a maximum. Ultimately, your guests can’t have fun unless you’re having fun, too.
You Started in PR for a brief Stint (among the many things you tried before landing in the kitchen), what was your perception of the PR world from then to now?
I was not good in a PR role, but then that could have been because of the subject matter, in my case technology, which I am about as keen on as snake bites. What I like about PR is that it is always positive and I think that’s a good way to approach life: the “glass half full” school of philosophy. I also like PRs emphasis on relationship building. That’s something which often gets over-looked in business, especially today. And yet it is key! I used to admire the PR director of Baccarat in Paris, now with Christofle. She remembered every face she ever saw, and she treated everyone she met as if they were the most important person in the room, even if they were just little assistants. She was brilliant, truly, and I was in awe of her. PR is a delicate art and the people who are brilliant at it truly have the power to make or break a business.
Do you feel it gave you a new perspective as a writer, chef and TV personality?
I think a bit of exposure to PR, as well as to journalism, made me aware of how careful I should be with how I communicate. It’s so easy to have information twisted around by journalists, or inadvertently to express yourself in a way that paints an inaccurate picture or gives the wrong message. You can’t be too careful! That said, I tend to be quite unguarded. Cooking Channel in the US recently aired a one hour "Chefography" about my life and I was very open in that. I realize that any story is really only one angle of a story, never quite complete and always changing as our perspective changes, which it inevitably does as we grow and learn in life. Stories need to be allowed room to breathe and stretch as time passes.
When can we see you on Food Network Again?
I was busy working on a book over the past couple of years (Dinner Chez Moi: the fine art of feeding friends), which came out last fall. Also, I’ve been part of a Canadian show called Recipe to Riches on Food Network Canada as a judge. But yes…a Laura show…I know everyone is getting impatient for a follow-up to French Food at Home! Here’s a little hint: I’m going to France the first week of February to shoot a one-hour special…a sort of food/travel adventure. If we like how that looks and feels the plan is to take that to series. At last! I’m also looking into doing some product lines, which I’m very excited about.