Join us as we catch-up with local chef
Paula Emery is a private chef based in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida whose company, Cookin’ with Love, is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Her focus? “Cooking right out of the garden.” Freshness and simplicity have always been her watchwords. We take a few moments to discuss her approach to cooking and the culinary arts.
A SIT-DOWN WITH PAULA EMERY
BL: What’s the best cooking tip you’ve ever been given?
PE: Always enjoy yourself in the kitchen. Do not make it difficult. And always pour your heart into it!
BL: What sparked you interest in the culinary arts?
PE: I honestly can’t remember. Ever since I was young, I enjoyed watching my mom in the kitchen and seeing the joy cooking gave her. It made my heart feel good as well. I truly think my interest was always there.
BL: How important are fresh ingredients to the success of a meal?
PE: Freshness sharpens the taste. If your food is fresh, you don’t need to add much to it. Simplicity is the beauty of life—and cooking.
BL: What are some of the most common mistakes made in the kitchen?
PE: Over-thinking things. Cook what makes you comfortable—and then add to that. Always taste your food while cooking it. This will help you and others enjoy your dish that much more! Timing is the key to preparing a meal—having it all come together at the same time.
BL: What’s your favorite seafood dish?
PE: When I was younger, my family traveled to Zihuatanejo, Mexico every year. There was this little restaurant on the beach named “La Perla” that served the best huachinago (red snapper, from the Spanish). It was our first meal when we arrived, and the family favorite—and it still is. The red snapper is cooked on the grill and served with corn tortillas, fresh pico de gallo, garlic, lime, avocado and jalapeno. Again, simplicity is the key!
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