Chances are you live a stone’s throw away from a Thai restaurant in your neighborhood, and you’ve got a go-to local favorite for pad thai. These days I often find myself traveling north of Berkeley, where there’s quite a few wonderful Thai eateries clustered in Albany, El Cerrito and San Pablo locales.
Cucina Testa Rossa
After a decade in Silicon Valley, Laura traded her keyboard for a cutting board and moved to New York City to immerse herself in food and wine studies and restaurant operations. She graduated from the French Culinary Institute where she studied under Master Chefs Jacques Pépin, André Soltner, Alain Sailhac, and Master Sommelier Andrea Immer. While in New York, Laura cooked with some of the world's most highly acclaimed chefs including Mario Lohninger (Danube), Morimoto, Mark Franz & Emily Luchetti (Farallon), Michael Romano (Union Square Café), Mario Batali, Marcella Hazan, Jonathan Cartwright (White Barn Inn), Martin Heierling (Bellagio), Dave Pasternack (Esca), Richard Reddington (Redd, Auberge du Soleil), and the legendary Alice Waters (Chez Panisse).
After working as the Back Kitchen Chef of Jacques Pépin's PBS cooking show, "Fast Food, My Way", Laura moved to France to cook her way around the country. She cooked at the Cannes Film Festival, then to the northwest corner of France, to Britanny, to cook on a lobster boat, then east to Paris to the world famous Pierre Hermé Patisserie where she made thousands of his macarons every day! Laura cooked for the fabulous Olivia de Havilland and interned at 3 Michelin Star Le Cinq under Chef Philippe Legendre and Pastry Chef Fabrice Lecleir. Laura was the executive chef and cooking instructor at the DaVinci Code chateau outside of Paris where she was on set during the filming of the movie.
In Fall 2007, Laura worked on Jacques Pepin’s most recent PBS television series as prop and food stylist. "More Fast Food, My Way" should air in the Spring of 2008. “My Keyboard for a Cutting Board ~ Adventures in a French kitchen v1.0”, Laura’s first book highlights her first three months cooking in France, was published in Summer 2006. Convivialité is her second book and will hopefully be published in the fall.
Laura now splits her time between Paris and the San Francisco Bay Area doing private chefing, teaching cooking classes and leading market tours when in Paris. Bon Appetit!
Cucina Testa Rossa's Latest Posts
Spring has arrived! …and not a moment too soon! After months and months and months of gray skies, rain, hail, snow and below freezing temperatures, I wasn’t sure if I was living in Paris or the Artic circle. Last week, the sun generously decided to end its hibernation and let its warming rays begin to […]
Qu’est-ce que c’est le “Bellybar”?! Got a hankering for dill pickles and peanut butter? Or does the mere scent of a saltine send you running for the door? Well hold on to your breast pump, help has arrived… in the form of a Bellybar. This musing is as much about life after Silicon Valley as […]
The mere whisper of the word Provence awakens images of flowing lavender fields, charming picture-perfect towns and farmers markets overflowing with heads of lettuce still sparkling with the morning dew and fresh milk and cream ladled from tall metal canisters, all being sold by the quintessential French farmer. Provence’s traditional cuisine, “cuisine du soleil” is […]
Pear Tart in a Cage ~ Tarte aux Poires en Cage A light dessert in a pinch is poached pears in wine. It’s easy, you can start it when you serve the appetizers, it’s refreshing in the summer with a scoop of good ice cream or served warm, a cozy way to end a winter […]
Wednesday, November 5, 2003. The final exam. Every day for the past six months, I’d been chopping and grilling and braising and flambeing and now I had to pull it all together for our final exam. Let me set the stage. The weather in New York had been miserable the previous week and I was […]
Brown veal stock is the foundation of this port sauce Last week I prattled on about consomme and how to make consomme from stock to finish but a few people wrote me asking just how to get from start to stock. Stock (les fonds), also known as boullion or broth, my friends, are nothing less […]
What does an award-winning Italian chef make for his Christmas dinner at home? Why French consomme, of course! When I left for cooking school almost 3 years ago, I sold most everything – car, furniture, etc. – and gave up/away what was left including my apartment so whenever I come back to visit, I stay […]
Known as the inside-out building, the Centre Pompidou at the time it was built was hailed as both a marvel and a catastrophe (pronounced cat-a-STROF) when it first opened its doors in 1977. The dream of then President Georges Pompidou, he commissioned a “cultural institution in the heart of Paris completely focused on modern and […]
I arrived in Paris just in time for New Year’s Eve and a blizzard of huge floppy snow flakes that cloaked the city in a dazzling white. My luggage however did not arrive but I had eleven people showing up for dinner so luggage be damned, I had to get cooking, regardless of the fact […]
Back in Paris already, you ask? Not Paris, France but Paris, Las Vegas passing the faux Eiffel Tower en route to Danny Ocean’s favorite vault…the Bellagio! I’m sure the Ocean’s Eleven (and now 12) gang would have held off on filming had they known that the 2005 Rising Star Chef could indulge them in the […]
When I was young, no sooner would my mother would pull out the pâté (pronounced pah-tay) and I'd run screaming "no liver, no liver" from the room. Thankfully I grew out of that phase, and am not only not running away but blissfully consuming it whenever possible. A friend in town from cooking school wanted […]
Spices for the pumpkin soup–cinnamon, ginger, all spice, cayenne, paprika, cumin, cardamom seeds (not pictured coriander and curry) I should move out of the country more often. This year I celebrated Thanksgiving not once but three times! That’s three turkeys (or really big chickens), three stuffings, three mashed potatoes, and three pumpkin pies, among a […]
Manger! Boire! Vivre! ~ Eat! Drink! Live! Wise words to live by as well as the theme for this year’s 19th Annual James Beard Foundation Holiday Auction and Dinner. French chefs from around the world were on hand for this ‘Celebration de la Cuisine Francaise’ at The Essex House in New York City. One of […]
Chocolate Fashion Show Bonjour de Nouvelle York! Greetings from New York, the Big Apple, and the Chocolate Show. Yes, the Chocolate Show…again! Two weeks ago, four friends and I hopped the #12 metro toward Porte de Versailles, heading to the south west corner of Paris and the Paris Expo for an indulgence of chocolate the […]