Our interview series begins 2017 by asking a few questions of Louisa Clements, creator of the food and cooking blog Living Lou. Another food blogger might stop at offering up imaginative recipes and gorgeous food photography. But Louisa somehow finds the time to do both of these, as well as host a YouTube video series where she offers cooking tips, advises viewers on fresh ingredient selection, and more. She talked with me this month about her most memorable food experiences of 2016, what experiences she draws on when creating her video series, and much more.
Flavorful World: Springtime is coming. Welcome the season with three-courses (appetizer, main brunch course, dessert) and tell us what aspects of your chosen dishes best embody Spring.
Louisa Clements: My choice for appetizer would be a cheeseboard, because no matter what the season, a cheeseboard is always necessary. Then I would have my asparagus and egg tart with smoked salmon because it’s perfect for brunch and uses in-season produce, and finally, for dessert a light and refreshing raspberry sorbet.
FW: On your site, you described yourself as a “food blogger and aspiring Renaissance woman.” What does the term “Renaissance woman” mean to you, and how do you apply that aspiration to your food creations?
LC: I see a “Renaissance woman” as someone who is well-rounded with plenty of interests and knowledge about a number of different subjects. I think it applies to my food creations in the way that I’m a very curious person and love to learn about pretty much everything, but especially about different ingredients, techniques and types of cuisine.
FW: A number of your recipes can be prepared using a slow cooker. What’s the most unconventional dish you’re ever made in a slow cooker, and what inspired that recipe? Tell us one dish you have yet to try in a slow cooker, but are excited to soon attempt.
LC: I’ve tried making risotto in the slow cooker (it didn’t work out very well, ha!). I love my slow cooker, but I think that it lends itself to certain types of dishes—soups, stews or any kind of slow cooked meat. I’m currently working on a new slow cooker chili recipe that I’m excited about!
FW: You’ve hosted a number of YouTube videos in which you share recipes and tips on subjects from food prep to how to assess fresh ingredients. To what experiences do you owe the wealth of knowledge displayed in your Kitchen Apprentice video series? What new videos can we look forward to in the near future?
LC: I spent time working in the test kitchen of a magazine, so that is where I learned the most about food and cooking. For my YouTube channel, I’m working on some more artistic-style food videos; I come from a film and media background and would love to bring the storytelling side of the video medium to my food videos!
FW: January is National Soup Month. If someone were to serve you a cup of your favorite soup right this minute, what would it be, and why?
LC: My favourite soup is without a doubt pho, I go for pho all the time in Toronto, I just love the complex flavours in the broth.
FW: What are your three most memorable food- and/or drink-related experiences of 2016? Tell us one food- and/or drink-related goal you have for 2017, and why you’ve set that goal for yourself.
LC: 2016 was packed with fabulous food memories! A standout was hosting and teaching a group at Williams Sonoma about making crepes. My other memorable food experiences would be my trips to the Amalfi Coast and to NYC. I love to travel to experience new cuisines and explore flavours, and these were two food-filled trips that left me feeling completely inspired!
FW: You’re offered the opportunity to have an appetizer, a street food, and a dessert, each course to be taken in a different country somewhere in the world. Tell us which country you’d select for each stop, what food you would choose, and why.
LC: Appetizer would be ceviche in Peru, I’ve always wanted to visit. I’ve also never visited the Philippines, but that would be on my list for their street food. And finally, dessert would be a crème brulee in France because there is nothing better.
FW: Excluding the name of any of your pre-existing blogs, websites, or print/online personas, tell us what name you would give to your memoir about your culinary exploits?
LC: Oh gosh, that’s so hard. I’ll have to think about that more!
FW: When you aren’t cooking/eating delicious things, how do you most enjoy spending your time?
LC: I’m always on the go, checking out the latest restaurants or attending events in Toronto, but if I’m not working on something, there’s nothing I love more than to spend time with my friends and family.
*Note to Readers: You can keep up with what Louisa is doing by following her on Twitter and Instagram. After that, go right to the source and visit her website or subscribe to her YouTube channel (or both. Do both of those things.) so that you too can start Living Lou.