Five Questions goes international! We are delighted that Clotilde Dusoulier, of the cooking/foodie blog Chocolate & Zucchini has agreed to answer our “five questions.” Clotilde has authored two books, both published by Broadway Books. One, Chocolate & Zucchini, is a cookbook; the other, Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris, is a travel guide with its priorities straight–it focuses on food, allowing you to eat your way through Paris along with Clotilde.
Clotilde is a native Parisian who became interested in food and cooking when she was living in California. This is very interesting to me, as I am an American who became interested in food and cooking when I lived in Europe (Germany). Perhaps living outside of our known elements sparks a creative interest? Another remarkable thing about Clotilde–she blogs in English, a second language for her. A computer scientist by training and trade, she has, in my opinion, found her true calling in writing wonderful descriptions of fabulous food. Her description of dinner at el Bulli makes you feel as though you’ve been there, and inventive recipes like cookies made with roasted flour demonstrate that she’s willing to stretch and test ingredients, just to see what will happen.
1) What prompted you to blog/use social media?
When I started Chocolate & Zucchini in the fall of 2003, I had been cooking with growing passion for a few years, and I had reached a point where I needed an outlet to express my thoughts on the subject and share them with more people than just my friends and family. I had discovered food blogs a few months before, and I thought the format was exactly what I needed — a casual, open journal in which I could document my daily food adventures.
2) What benefits–direct and indirect–have you discovered using this communications tool?
C&Z has, quite simply, changed my life: it has made me realize that I was not just passionate about cooking, but passionate about writing, too. It has given me a chance to explore the possibility of a new career, and it has brought me enough opportunities to make it happen. I quit my dayjob three years ago, and have been working as a full-time writer ever since. It has also allowed me to reach out to like-minded food enthusiasts, learn from them, and also make some very good friends.
3) Writing is tough work, and blogs, with the need to be updated on a fairly regular basis, can be particularly challenging. How do you stay inspired, and how do you keep things interesting?
I find that there is no limit to my interest in food, ingredients, and gastronomy, and every day I discover, taste, learn, or understand something new that I want to share with the readers of my blog. The only thing I need more of, is time to get those posts written!
4) What three blogs do you read regularly, and why?
I like blogs that allow me to peek into someone else’s kitchen, preferably one that’s different my own. As such, I particularly enjoy Just Bento (http://justbento.com/), a blog written by a Japanese woman who lives in Switzerland, The Pioneer Woman Cooks! (http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/), by an American living on a ranch, or Michael Laiskonis’ blog (http://michaellaiskonis.typepad.com/) — he’s the pastry chef at Le Bernardin in New York City.
5) Are there any other social media tools that you have found particularly useful (like Twitter), or, if you’ve tried other tools and prefer to focus on blogging, why?
I have a facebook account, which I use to keep in touch with real-life friends, and I have created a facebook group for Chocolate & Zucchini (http://www.new.facebook.com/group.php?gid=39144872039) to connect with C&Z readers.