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Brilliant friends | Chef Lisa Hatfield

ChefLisaHatfieldTorresB

The holidays are the time to entertain and share delicious food with friends and family. I am excited for you to meet Lisa Hatfield Torres, an award winning chef and the author of the blog Delicious Table. Lisa will be collaborating with me to bring you amazing recipes in the future. {Yay!!} And she is sharing a delicious recipe for Bacon & Brie Quiche in this post. Perfect for parties, dinner, or when you are wrapping gifts with a glass of wine. I’m hungry already!!

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I was thrilled to have a chat with Lisa about how she became a chef {a big career change for her}…please join us. I know you will fall in love with her infectious personality just like I did!

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1. Tell us about yourself and who influenced your cooking style?
I’m from Southern California, I live in Orange Country with my husband Anthony. I love to cook, entertain, and eat good food. The California lifestyle greatly influences my cooking, from healthy to comfort food, I love it ALL. My passions include cooking, travel, gardening, design, writing, and photography. Growing up, I didn’t get a lot of kitchen and cooking time. My Mom was a high-school home economics teacher, teaching another teenager to cook wasn’t her priority when she got home!  I went to college a non-cook, even though my Mom made a homemade dinner every night for our family.  I was influenced by all the fabulous entertaining my parents and their friends did, amazing dinner party menus were constantly being planned, or talked about, in our family.

Another early influence was my “Aunt” Barbara, one of my Mom’s best friends. Her career included publishing several cookbooks, food styling, and GE appliance demonstrations. In the 1950’s she spent 6 weeks training in Paris with Simon Beck, Julia Child’s co-writer of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

The Best Chicken Noodle Soup Delicious Table

 

2. What did you do before you realized cooking was your passion?
After a 25 year career as a high-tech sales executive, I began feeling restless and unfulfilled. Technology was not my passion, and frankly, boring. I got great at making a living, but I wasn’t making a life. In those days, I couldn’t cook at all, but my table was gorgeous! One of my best friends Jill {a Chef} saved a fancy dinner party I was hosting from sheer disaster, I chose a difficult recipe and had no clue how to cook! We still laugh about it today. I spent a lot of time on the road for work, cooking classes became my way to relax and unwind. In my late 20’s I decided to learn to cook and began taking courses.

My passion for cooking through the years has been fascinating to me. After many cooking classes, watching hundreds of cooking shows, spending countless hours in the kitchen, organizing thousands of recipes, now it all makes sense. I want to inspire you {yes you!} to cook at home and try new dishes for a lot of reasons, but mostly its to connect with your family and those you love around the table. I love life, and am happiest laughing with family and friends enjoying a delicious meal. To me that is what life is about, inviting people into your home and making them feel loved and special.

 

3. Is there a food from childhood that brings you instant good memories?
My parents and their friends shared the love of food, cooking, and entertaining as a way to bring people together. The first time I really remember eating something amazing was when I was five, in San Diego, California. My Uncle Russ made us quesadillas with homemade salsa verde, he was a botanist, spoke fluent Spanish, and was an amazing cook. I can still remember my first taste of Mexican food. To this day, quesadillas are my favorite quick snack, Uncle Russ shared his salsa verde recipe with my brother and myself and I cherish that recipe from my childhood.

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4. What inspires you?
Cooking is my “artistic palette”, I get inspired daily. The weather, the season, ingredients in the store, something growing in my garden, or just a craving, they all inspire. Many times a new recipe starts out with the words, “You know what sounds good right now?” and then I do research, in my recipe binders, cookbooks, and online. Once I have a few recipes or ideas, I start testing and writing down the changes as I cook and taste throughout the process. Google helps find ingredient substitutions, or to research an unfamiliar spice. I typically rewrite recipes so much they don’t even come close to the originals I have in my collection. After cooking for many years, you get a feel for ingredients and flavors and ideas for new recipes just seem to come faster and easier. I never seem to run out of inspiration to cook the dishes I dream up! The world holds endless cooking inspiration with taste experiences, dishes, and history. Learning new recipes and techniques challenge me constantly, I want to get the recipes just right.

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5. Where do you get your recipe ideas?
• My Lifetime Recipe Collection • “What sounds good today?” • Seasonal Fruits and Veggies
• Food Network Shows
• Favorite Food Blogs
• Entertaining, Pool, and Football Parties • 70+ cookbooks
• Favorite Restaurant Menus
• Pinterest
• Holiday Traditions

 

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6. What food and/or recipes you are obsessed with right now?
Currently, I am obsessed with French cuisine. I just completed a 5 week professional cooking course and learned many exciting recipes and techniques from Chef Dominique Fournier, who was born in Paris and worked in French restaurants for 40 years. Chef had many interesting insights, he claims he wasn’t truly a Chef until he spent 10 years in the business! He has become both a friend and mentor to me in my culinary passion. One thing he taught us is to taste as you cook a few minutes after adding a seasoning, and to believe in your food. If you don’t think it is good no one else will! Often Chef will ask, “Is it good?” to which he expects a “Yes, Chef!”.  {Lisa and her team won the final course competition!}

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7. What is your “go to” recipe for dinner parties?
I always change it up depending on the time of year. A few favorites are roasted pork loin, grilled tri-tip, or a simple roasted chicken. For a fancier dinner party a “go to” recipe is stuffed gorgonzola and leek chicken. The key to dinner parties is good organization, preparing dishes ahead of time, then spending time with your guests to make sure they are having fun! I learned along time ago to use large sticky notes with cook times and reminders so the dishes are ready at the same time, and so you don’t forget about  a dish. Which of course I have done.

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8. Who in the food world do you most admire and why?
Ina Garten. She can really cook, and Ina has greatly influenced my cooking style and philosophy ~ balancing delicious comfort food with a sense of ease and style. French cuisine has greatly influenced Ina’s cooking, her recipes are well written and tested , and they work every time. Her no frills approach to table arranging is genius, she uses just one color of flowers, and it makes a huge statement without fuss. I love that, it creates a major wow without a lot of time.

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9. Funniest kitchen incident?
My Mom wearing a large bag of frozen peas on her head when I came home from school one day. I said, “Mom, what are you doing?” and she replied, “Well, I’m having a hot flash!” and of course I had to ask, “That isn’t what we are having for dinner is it?” Not sure what we ate that night now that I think about it! Our family always sat down to dinner together every night to a home cooked meal, it greatly influenced my passion for a home cooked dinner around the table with those you love. The table for me is more than a place to eat, it’s a place to experience life and love, even if your Mom wore a bag of peas on her head.

10. Favorite kitchen gadget?
This is a very hard question, I am teased by family and friends about my constant purchases. Hey, some girls collect shoes, I collect kitchen gadgets to cook and entertain. To tell the truth, I just bought several yesterday. If the gadget exists, I’m looking for it and will probably find a way to pack it in to my overly stuffed cabinets. At this point, the lobbying process has begun to remodel the kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, it looks ok but the storage challenges are enough to make me nuts. I dream of those spinning lazy-suzan drawers, neatly stacked deep drawers full of large cookware items, and a perfectly organized spice cabinet. Right now my kitchen is like a puzzle, every square inch is utilized and packed tight. But if I had to pick one kitchen gadget, it would be my Cuisinart Slow Cooker that you can sauce in. It saves so much cooking and cleanup time, and is great for entertaining.

Chunky Tomato Soup and Basil Dumplings
11. What do you like to eat when you are at home?
Everything from comfort food, grilled, BBQ, Slow Cooker, Pizza and Pasta; global dishes like Mexican, Italian, Indian; vegan and vegetarian. The best part of cooking is to make it your own, and change it up! I like to switch out ingredients and spices, cooking over the years at home, I’ve learned tips and tricks to produce great flavors, and I plan to share those ideas with you in the recipes, posts, and future videos on the blog.

Please give us a peek into your loves and inspirations:

1. My favorite colors are:
Blue, Silver, and White.
2. If I could have one wish, I would wish for:
For people to never experience hunger, and to be able to share meals with people they love.
3. Right now I’m reading:
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, Author of Eat Pray Love.
4. My favorite place is:
Home. I love my home, my family, and to share it all with others.

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5. A French Garden House antique I would set my table with at home:
Can I pick more than one? I LOVE sterling silver serving pieces, silverware, and tea service sets. Each time I set my table with my china and sterling for special occasions it takes me back to special times with my parents who are now together in heaven. My parents loved to entertain, and it was always my Dad’s job to set the table perfectly for dinner parties. I started my collection young, and it has become so special and cherished over the years.

Okay sorry, I couldn’t pick just one antique. The serving pieces like the silver pastry tongs, or the napkin rings of which I have many in my collection are just beautiful and would really make your table sparkle. But the one piece that knocks me out, is the Victor Hugo Hotel Paris Meat Food Dome. Just imagine who was dining at that time and was served with this gorgeous cover. Hello you’re gorgeous, we need to be friends.

Thanks so much, Lisa, for taking the time to give us all an opportunity to get to know you! Lisa is sharing her fantastic recipe for Bacon & Brie Quiche with all of us.

Bacon&BrieQuiche

 

BACON & BRIE QUICHE

INGREDIENTS

1 package Pie Crust or Homemade Pie Crust
4 ounces Brie Cheese
4 ounces Swiss Cheese, Diced or grated
10 slices Bacon, Cooked Crisp, Drained, and Crumbled
6 whole Large Eggs
½ cup Whipping Cream
½ cup Sour Cream
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 dash Each Nutmeg, Salt, Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS
Make the piecrust according to directions, or buy a premade one. Crumble cheeses in the bottom of the pie crust. Spread crumbled bacon on top. Mix all remaining ingredients thoroughly and pour into the pie pan.
Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes, until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool slightly before serving.

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Find Lisa here: Delicious Table Blog , Facebook Instagram.
Shop for the best in French Antiques, furniture with the patina of age, vintage accessories to delight you and your family & friends, and French Country utilitarian pieces. Treasures that make your home fresh, beautiful, inspirational and uniquely yours. Visit our shop FrenchGardenHouse.com.

9 Responses to Brilliant friends | Chef Lisa Hatfield

  1. This interview is right up my alley!! I love to cook, and I loved meeting chef Lisa. I’m looking forward to making her recipe soon, perfect for the month of December. Thank you!!

  2. Hi Lidy, Thanks for introduction me to Chef Lisa! This quiche sounds wonderful.

  3. Penny, thanks for the visit! If you sign up for Lisa’s blog, you’ll get all her recipes. Hope you are having a beautiful December!

  4. Lidy,

    I thank you so much for featuring Lisa—what a great, great interview with questions I would have asked myself!! You know I love to cook and it’s a joy to make up recipes as I experiment with seasonal ingredients as well as what I have ‘the taste for it’. I get that about Lisa and love her for that! I didn’t grow up with a cooking background or a family that inspired me, I sought it out myself as did Lisa. And she is so incredible, very likable and inspiring. Thank you, both of you!!

    Happy Holidays!!

    Jane x

  5. Lisa is my lovely wife. I can honestly ,from the heart, tell you , every one of her receips are wonderful and tasty ! Please try one or all if you love to cook. You will not be disappointed !

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