Most of the country got to know of Chef Antonia Lofaso on Top Chef season 4 in Chicago, during which I would totally get teary hearing her talk about how much she missed her daughter back home in Los Angeles. Since then, Antonia has done another round on Top Chef All Stars, cooked at a few SBE-owned joints around L.A., and is now at Black Market Liquor Bar in Studio City where the cocktails and food shine. (I still haven’t been yet, but I hear terrific reports; my Valley friends are especially happy to have it around.) Antonia, a doing-it-all, juggling single mom, took the time to answer a few questions about the book, her schedule and eating and cooking with her daughter, Xea.
Avery/Penguin has kindly provided a copy of Antonia’s brand new The Busy Mom’s Cookbook: 100 Delicious, Quick and Easy Recipes to giveaway to a Taster Tots reader! Included among the fast and healthy recipes for time-pressed families are the Best Blueberry Muffins, Everything Paella, and Antonia’s version of Croque Monsieur and Madame — also with busy mom sidebar tips and handy cooking time estimates.
Enter by submitting a comment and/or tweeting the link for a chance to win. (Please mention in the comments if you’ve tweeted the contest to help me keep track! Maximum two entries per person.) Hey, like us on Facebook, too, if ya feel like it. Contest closes Friday, August, 31st — a week from today– at NOON, PST. I’ll then select a winner at random. And now back to chatting with Chef Lofaso…
How did you even find the time to write this book?!
I had the best team with writing this book! Candice Davis could not have been better, she new my voice and humor and it translate. Recipe development wasn’t easy, but like I said a strong team really helps!
Do you put in a full late night in the kitchen and then wake up to do lunch prep and drop off? When do you sleep?!
I don’t sleep! I haven’t slept since my daughter was born 12 years ago. Yes, I am at dinner service in the restaurant, sometimes until midnight and then I’m up at 6 a.m. getting Xea off to school. I handle phone calls, events during the day and then dinner service again. I can keep this schedule now because I’m 35 and I drink tons of veggie juice!
What are the biggest challenges of being a full-time chef and a mom?
Biggest challenge is that I always feel guilty! That I’m not doing enough for her. I’m the mom that shows up at class at 7:30 p.m. at night in my dirty chef jacket smelling of garlic. I don’t always look great but I’m there. Balancing my time so I take care of myself, Xea and work takes a lot of organization and multi-tasking.
Which are some of your daughter’s favorite recipes from The Busy Mom’s Cookbook?
Her favorite dish is the lemon crepes. She can do it start to finish on her own!
Where do you like to eat out with her in Los Angeles?
We eat everywhere together! Xea can tell you all about the L.A. restaurant scene, what she likes, dislikes and why. I’ve always made her apart of my food/restaurant lifestyle and it keeps us connected. We LOVE Huckleberry in Santa Monica, Gjelina, Terroni and Izakaya.
Does Xea get to visit you at work?
Xea thinks she works at Black Market! She is always there and at food events we participate in. She can spell out my entire menu, and gave me my last idea for LA Food & Wine Festival.