Clotilde Dusoulier is the 33-year-old Parisienne behind the award-winning food blog Chocolate & Zucchini. An avid and curious cook, she is a regular contributor to food and travel magazines in France, the US and the UK. She is the author of the cookbook CHOCOLATE & ZUCCHINI and of CLOTILDE’S EDIBLE ADVENTURES IN PARIS, a book on Paris restaurants and food shops. She is about to release a new cookbook celebrating the love story between French cuisine and vegetables, THE FRENCH MARKET COOKBOOK, which will come out in July 2013. She lives in Montmartre with her partner Maxence, and their baby boy Milan.
Where do you come from ? I was born and raised in Paris.
What languages do you speak ? I speak French and English fluently, German rustily, and I’m trying to teach myself a little Japanese.
How did you become a cook book author? I started a food blog in September of 2003 as a creative outlet, to share my passion for food and cooking. It quickly gained momentum and generated unexpected opportunities, allowing me to quit my job as a software engineer and become a full-time food writer.
What is particular about your books ? My goal, with the blog as with my books, is to inspire and teach. I try to provide my readers with ideas and stories that make them want to run into the kitchen and cook, and once they’re there I strive to give them all the tips and tools they need to succeed.
Are they published in both French and English? I’ve written all my books in English, and had the opportunity to publish my first cookbook in French as well. I’m hoping we’ll find a similar arrangement for my upcoming vegetable cookbook.
What is the most satisfying thing about being a writer/chef ? What I love about my job is the great variety of topics I get to explore, people I get to meet, places I get to go, and foods I get to taste. I also love that I am constantly learning new things and developing new skills.
How do you select/invent the recipes you publish? My cooking inspiration seems to come from everywhere and everything: books, websites, restaurants, market stalls, discussions with friends, travels, and also sheer necessity when I’m standing in front of the open fridge and trying to come up with a dish to use what’s on hand.
What do you parents do ? Both my parents are retired engineers. My mother now runs a sewing blog (coupecouture.fr) and my father has started a new career as a translator — of science fiction novels, mostly.
What is your chief characteristic ? I think of myself as a happy, positive, optimistic person.
Your motto? «Only you can make you happy», which is a song by Au Revoir Simone. I also like the French saying «A chaque jour suffit sa peine», which helps when I feel overwhelmed.
Favorite color ? Purple
Favorite flower ? Peonies
A food you would never think to eat I’ll try anything once.
Favorite place to eat in Paris ? Yam’Tcha. My partner and I have been going there to celebrate his birthdays for the past few years, and we love the chef, her food, and her husband’s tea pairings.
Favorite neighborhood to walk in Paris ? I love to go up the Montmartre hill, explore the quiet little streets, and take in the gorgeous views from up there.
What is your favorite building in Paris ? I have a soft spot for the Sacré-Coeur. It looks like something you could eat, and I feel lucky that I walk past it practically every day.
What was your last « fou-rire » ? My partner and I laugh together a lot, but it’s reached new heights since our son turned six months old or so; I hadn’t anticipated one could have so much fun with a child so young.
What was the first recipe you remember making? Yogurt cake in kindergarten. My mother still has the piece of paper on which I wrote the recipe in block letters.
What is your favorite gift to give? I like to make edible gifts – green tea sablés, loaves of sourdough bread, homemade baking mixes, spice blends, etc.
What do you bring back from vacation? I love to bring back quirky ingredients to play with. Supermarkets and greenmarkets are my favorite places to spend time in when I travel.
What is your best vacation memory? I spent a couple of weeks in Japan a few years ago, and it was the best vacation of my entire life. I was on cloud nine for two weeks straight, and we didn’t have a single bad meal in the whole trip.
In which other century would you have liked to live? I wouldn’t trade centuries because I can’t get past the way women were treated until very recently (and still are in too many societies around the world). Also, I quite enjoy electricity, running water, heating, and good nutrition.
What is your next project ? I am preparing for the release of my new cookbook, The French Market Cookbook, in early July, and I have another book idea to follow.
www.chocolateandzucchini.com also has «edible» French idiomatic expressions!