Pop-Up Chef

Sarah Schuster

NEW YORK

About Sarah Schuster

I'm currently a law student, which unsurprisingly isn't my favorite experience. My best reprieve is cooking for others. I love hosting, and one of the reasons I love cooking is because it brings people together. It's also a great creative outlet for me, since I spend most of my time doing analytical thinking and reading, being able to work with my hands and accomplish discrete tasks is super fulfilling. I've also had a lot of requests from my friends for my recipes, which I mostly make up or adapt heavily from other sources, so I am trying to start a blog where I record my recipes and menu planning tips. I have been cooking for friends and family for about 5 years. I basically taught myself to cook in Paris, when I lived there in 2011. I wasn't exactly happy there either. I was lonely because all of my friends remained state-side, I was working on a graduate degree in a language I was not very comfortable with, and things that i used to enjoy doing -- the small things, like grocery shopping or buying flowers -- became instant sources of anxiety and self-doubt, as they required me to open my mouth and say something. Our kitchen in Paris looked like it had been seized from a small yacht -- everything was in miniature. There wasn't even a real oven! People in Paris don't really cook at home much, so this was normal. In lieu of an oven, we had something that looked like an over-sized toaster oven, which plugged into the wall and was barely larger than a shoe box. But I used that stupid "oven" almost every day! My first endeavor was the gougère, a small French cheese puff to accompany your glass of wine as an apéritif. The apéritif is the most refined and delightful French tradition. Like "happy hour," drinks are consumed, but a small, salty snack is required and good company and conversation is highly encouraged. I made the gougères for a few American friends, and then finally, a dinner party full of French people. with the thousands of boulangeries in Paris baking gougères daily in actual ovens, I figured mine would be a bit underwhelming, but they all said, "best gougère I've ever had." After the gougère came a million cooking adventures. I began hosting dinner parties, planning full menus and cooking everything from scratch (minus the baguettes, which really are inimitable) in that tiny kitchen. Cooking in paris made me happy and seeing people's faces after feeding them something delicious made me even happier.