KeyNOTES with Anna Olson

December is a time when everyone thinks about good food and good times with family and friends. Who better to feature this month than award winning Celebrity Chef Anna Olson! Not only will you enjoy learning some KeyNOTES about Anna but you may want to run home and start baking as she shares one of her favourite Christmas cookie recipes! 

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?  Saturday morning in Niagara - a leisurely coffee, then off to the farmers market, butcher, etc to get set for a weekend of cooking & baking to follow.

2. What is your greatest fear?  Like many people I imagine: fear of failure.  At the same time, I've had to learn to embrace failure, since that is how to succeed in recipe development, learning from mistakes.

3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?  Insecurity - I hate when I question myself, but hate it more when I'm aware of doing it.

4. Which living person do you most admire?  My husband, Michael.  And I don't mean "admiring" in a sort of diminutive, deferential way as his spouse, but I have great respect for his sense of self, love of cooking and joie de vivre.  It's wonderfully contagious.

5. What is your greatest extravagance?  Time - I love a full weekend off - its rarity is what makes it such an extravagance.

6. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?  I try and avoid using the word "delicious" in describing food, but it slips out.  Delicious isn't descriptive enough when speaking or writing about a recipe or dish - "delicious" should already be implied!

7. What do you consider your greatest achievement?  Ask me in a few years - I'd like to think it's always just around the corner.

8. What is your most treasured possession?  More than any "thing", I treasure my memories.  Thoughts of people and places with whom and where I have shared joy mean so much.

9. What is it that you most dislike?  Ignorance.  Minor Pet Peeve: The phrase "most unique".  Unique is not a relative term - something is one-of-a-kind, or it's not.

10. What is your motto?  My culinary philosophy is summed up in a word, and I work to apply this to life in general: respect.  In cooking that means respect for ingredients, for technique and, most importantly, for the people for whom I am cooking.  And in life - respect for others and self.

Click for Anna's Empire Cookie recipe -- perfect for the holidays!

Empire Cookies