World Chefs: Guarnaschelli shops for ideas in market aisles

Tue Dec 2, 2008 2:08pm EST
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli is in constant search for inspirations, whether it is at a farmers market, in a cookbook or along the supermarket aisle.

Her culinary journey began when she was a child in New York City, helping her mother -- a cookbook editor -- to prepare eclectic meals.

In her pursuit to become a top chef, she moved to France where she studied at La Varenne Culinary School in Burgundy and worked at the Michelin three-starred Guy Savoy.

Since her return to New York, Guarnaschelli became the executive chef at Butter and has just completed the first season of her television show, "The Cooking Loft."

Guarnaschelli, 39, spoke to Reuters about her culinary inspirations and why she looks into shopping carts.

Q: Who inspired you to become a chef?

A: "I became a chef largely because my mother was always cooking from the books of James Beard, Julia Childs and Craig Claiborne. My mother's cooking and techniques were really French from books with America ingredients. She made a lot of the staples that you would often buy in a store."

Q: What inspires you now?   Continued...

<p>An undated handout photo of stovetop pork chops with cabbage and apples REUTERS/Courtesy Food Network/handout</p>