Recently Fresh FACS Sophie posed a series of questions to Kathryn Williams, author of Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous on behalf of teen chefs everywhere. Ms. Williams has been kind enough to answer those questions. Here’s the first installment of her answers.
A: I’ve worked as a waitress before, so some of that detail came from personal experience. While I was researching and writing the book, I also volunteered at Salud! cooking school (at Whole Foods) in Nashville, which was a ton of fun. The rest of it was imagined or gleaned from watching TV cooking shows and observing at restaurants.
A: Good question! I see Raffi as less interested than Sophie in the workings of the restaurant but pressured by his father to help out the family business. He’d probably be a busboy (someone who clears dishes and helps the servers). But who’s to say he might not develop an interest later in life? I could definitely see Raffi working the front of the house one day.
A: It’s a mishmash of a number of restaurants I’ve been too – a specific imagining of a general type of restaurant – not too fancy, family-friendly, a little worn down but well-loved. There’s a Greek restaurant in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia, called Athens Tavern that is not Taverna Ristorante but that I’m reminded of when I think of TR.
A: In fact, I did! The NCA is fictional, although the castle-like setting was inspired by Greystone. I was visiting Napa when I started the book, so I went to the school (in St. Helena) and walked around a bit, taking notes and brochures. I also visited a couple of wineries, knowing I’d set a scene at one. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to take a class. (P.S. Don’t you love saying “the CIA?” It sounds so mysterious and spy-like).
A: That was a nugget (pardon the pun) that I got from Michael Pollan’s wonderful book The Omnivore’s Dilemma. If you eat junk, you’ll feel like junk. I’m not saying I won’t eat a bag of Dorito’s every once in awhile, but I do feel very strongly that what we put in our bodies should be real, fresh, natural food. More and more people are realizing this and realizing eating this way is a joy, not a punishment.
More of the Q & A with Kathryn Williams tomorrow.
Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous is the foundation for our resource Four-Course FACS, A Fictional Culinary Adventure. Check it out on the Fresh FACS website.
Learn more about Kathryn Williams.