Getting to know our favorite Le Cordon Bleu Chef, Lilian Cardoso: An interview by Chef's Satchel!
Chef's Satchel: Last night's dinner?
Lilian Cardoso: My signature Charred Eggplant Lasagna! About a year ago my partner became vegetarian, so I had to turn my brain upside down and start to be creative while cooking vegetarian dishes and guess, what? This lasagna, btw pasta free; is to make the biggest carnivorous in love with!
CS: The current project you're working on?
Currently, I am working on a project related to opening a business. I have a business partner, and we, plus a few other people are going to open a 400-seat restaurant downtown Toronto next spring. The most exciting thing about that is that it will be a Brazilian Fusion Restaurant called, Zebu Steak + Bar the first one in Canada! I want to introduce to all Canadians what is a truly Brazilian cuisine! We will revolutionize the concept of a traditional Brazilian Steakhouse.
CS: Favorite ingredient to work with?
I love to work with fresh ingredients! All fresh! It makes me happy to cook a fresh piece of meat, make a salad with the freshest spinach! When possible, I choose to use organic and local ingredients as well.
CS: Next vacation spot?
OMG!!! What's vacation? LOL! I want to go to Thailand. There are 3 years that I have been saying that. It will happen! I know, it will...but most of the time, my vacation is in Brazil. You know, I have a big family and when you live far away from them when I have some time off I run to Brazil! I love to spend time with them, speak my language, eat Brazilian food and hug my newborn nephew. He is the cutest and I will be his Godmother soon!
CS: If you weren't a chef, what would your profession be?
Probably a Biologist, well I am a Biologist. I studied Biology for 7 years! I have a Master Degree in Cellular Biology. A big part of my friends are Ph.D. Scientists living all over the world! It's a beautiful occupation! I am very grateful to have studied Biology, but I rather burn myself, cut my fingers and work with something that I am truly passionate about, which is Cooking.
CS: The most exotic place you've been to?
Hmm, I wouldn't call this place exotic, but unique. It was Patagonia, South of Chile. That place is unbelievable! I went there on 2009 with my brother and a friend of him. We spent 1 week at this National Park, called Torres del Paine National Park. We did trekking by the mountains. The landscape is so beautiful! I couldn't believe!
CS: Most embarrassing cooking moment?
I guess when it was when I decided to make fish consommé on my last Exam at Le Cordon Bleu. I practiced it so much! It was super hard to get a clear consommé, so I bought that sort of "pipette". It was a big one and I was at the exam trying to extract the transparent liquid out of that cloudiness mess and it was just dumb! Why did I decide to make consommé? And a fish consommé?!? I don't know! The Chefs Instructors looked at me like "WTF this woman is doing???" But well, it worked!!! I looked like a crazy person in a lab, but it worked!
CS: A person you've always dreamt of cooking for?
I don't have a person individually, but I would love to cook for all of my friends. I always imagine of a party where I could have all of my friends there! Everyone! I would cook for every single friend that is part of my life. It would be a magic moment!
CS: Your last meal- if not cooked by you, then whom and what?
If I had to pick a last meal, it would be "Arroz com Suan". It’s a Brazilian dish made with pork spine and rice! It's my favorite dish and of course, my mom would make it!
CS: Advice for our young chefs?
Do you want to be a Chef? Be passionate! When you are passionate about what you do, opportunities will always come to you! You have to show love, interest, curiosity! You can't, absolutely, can't be lazy. Chefs work very, very, very hard, physically and mentally! Don't abuse your body with drugs, cigarette, and alcohol. Be healthy! You really need your body to be able to work in the Food Industry.