Born in Bilbao, Aran grew up in her grandparents' pastry shop -where she first fell in love with food. With brothers and a father who are photographers and painters, she was constantly surrounded by art.
Though schooled in business and economics, Arin later attended Florida Culinary Institute and never turned back. She has since worked as a pastry chef, and now writes her award-winning blog, Cannelle et Vanille. Not only is she the mastermind behind the recipes, but she also styles and photographs every work of art she creates. Be sure to look at her newly launched online portfolio here.
Here is our interview, for you:
01. Tell us your greatest memory from culinary school.
The first time I made the most beautiful macarons with Sebastien Cannone from The French Pastry School.
02. What has been your greatest kitchen disaster?
When I ruined an entire batch of panna cotta two hours before a wedding of 300 while working in Portugal. It's almost impossible to ruin panna cotta and I did it big time.
03. Who are your cooking/styling/photography favorites?
Con Poulos and Petrina Tinslay who have worked very closely with Donna Hay always blow me away. Tina Rupp is always very fresh, unpretentious and modern. I also love the organic approach of Deborah Jones. (click here for our friday feature with tina --and here, for our friday feature with petrina.)
04. What turned you to photography?
My blog actually turned me into photography. I started with a culinary point of view and that soon turned into a visual one.
05. Do you shoot everything at home?
Except for a couple of on-location shoots, I shoot mostly in my home studio.
06. What equipment do you shoot with?
I'm a bit embarrassed to admit it, but my gear is super simple. I shoot with a Canon 50D and a 100mm macro.
07. What is the hardest thing about wearing so many hats? (cooking, styling and shooting)
Timing can be very difficult as there are very many time/temperature sensitive desserts. All of the food I shoot is real and there is a lot of running around sometimes, especially with soufflés or ice creams.
08. When did you start your blog? Why did you start it?
I started my blog in January 2008. I left the professional culinary world to raise my son, but found myself constantly daydreaming about food and recipes. I started the blog as a creative outlet for myself, but it soon caught on and people started to respond to it in a very positive way. In a way, the blog introduced me to a new career within food.
09. Why do you love making/styling/photographing food so much?
I have asked myself that question many times and I still don't know the answer. It's like ideas just pop in my head constantly and I have to purge them. I am a terribly visual person and I am constantly inspired by everything around me. I have always loved to work with my hands and cooking often times puts me in a trance kind of mode.
10. What is the most bizarre thing ever to be in your refrigerator or freezer?
There are not very many things that I consider bizarre, but I have about 15 lbs of alligator meat in my freezer that my husband caught. Does that count?
11. If you were to have any 3 people over for dinner, who would they be? (a favorite DH contributor's question. :)
Oh that's a hard one! Maybe Bill Murray, Nora Ephron and my great uncle Julian (who was a great cook and a fabulous storyteller). I think they would get along great and we would have some fun.
And what would you cook for them?
Tortilla de Patatas. That seems to be what everyone is constantly begging me to make.
12. Your props and styling... do you collect everything? Buy at random? Or buy according to your shoot?
Yes, I own everything I use. I have a bad shopping habit! Sometimes I buy depending on the shoot, sometimes I just see a prop and instantly think of a recipe that would go great with it. I just discovered a couple of new ceramist artists that I am in love with. Samantha Robinson in Australia and Asya Palatova in Rhode Island.
13. Any advice for people entering any of your fields?
Practice, practice and practice. Shoot everything that draws your attention and play with light. I also think it's important to know your style and work with it. I love seeing an artist's work and instantly knowing who it is.
Thank you, Aran! Dear Readers, did you enjoy this Friday Feature? Leave your comment for Aran below.