A few weeks ago, one of my interns said, “Hey! How about you answer our interview questions, things that people don’t ask you in interviews but things that we’re curious about.” I thought that was rather clever and so I gave them all a license to ask me anything under the sun that they wanted to know. For the next few weeks they’ll be posting their questions and my answers… for your amusement and perhaps my embarrassment.

First up: Suruchi.

Suruchi is from Kingwood, TX and currently studying Marketing and Advertising at The University of Texas at Austin. She loves discovering new coffee shops, watching Food Network for hours on end, trying different DIY ideas that she finds, and blogging. She hopes to travel around the world and inspire people with her blog.

She’s also as type-A as I am which is pretty much the best thing a girl like me could ask for. Here goes…

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SA: Where does your culinary inspiration come from?

GP: The land, the dirt, the living, organic things around me. I love to cook with pure ingredients that can speak for themselves. A beautiful bunch of purslane weeds from the garden inspires me. So does a fist full of rose petals scattered over a hazelnut cake. It is the pure, intentional things that are so rare in food these days.

SA: If you could cook with one other celebrity chef who would it be, why, and what would you want to cook with them?

GP: I think Bobby Flay and I would have fun sparring in the kitchen. We did an Iron Chef episode together but I was judging his food… I think we would have fun in a bit of a throw down. Also someone British… just so I could listen to them talk… Jamie Oliver perhaps? Or if it can be a dead person Julia Child ALL THE WAY. Or “The Two Fat Ladies,” from England. Have you ever seen that show? It was the best. I would want to cook meat. That’s what I always want to cook. Or maybe make a dish that we have to source the ingredients for ourselves… kind of like The Amazing Race meets MacGyver meets Martha Stewart. That probably didn’t make any sense, ignore me…

SA: What is one meal you couldn’t live without?

GP: A salad of perfect greens and red meat so rare that the pulse is still beating. I’m pretty cave-woman-like in my eating habits. I know Paleo is all the rage these days but I’ve always craved eating that way naturally because of how I was raised.

SA: What are your favorite places to visit in and around Austin?

GP: The Broken Spoke where I dance my heart out and so the old men can remind me how young men are supposed to behave. The bar at Papi Tinos where I can drink this drink that they don’t even have on the menu anymore, but which I always request. The Violet Crown cinema… Austin’s best movie theater hands down and its best kept secret. Mercury, a store on 2nd Street, full of the most wonderful things to buy, always unique.

SA: What is the best way, in your opinion, to spend your Friday nights? Girls night in or going out?

GP: The best way to spend any night is with the people you love. One thing that surprises most people about me is that I’m a pretty big introvert. It’s not what you can do, it’s where you get your energy from, and I sure do love my quiet time, it recharges me from all of the public life stuff I have to do. That said, I love going out with friends to fun restaurants, movies, or a little Texas two-steppin. My guy friends in this town can really dance, it’s impressive.

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SA: What inspires you in your day to day life?

GP: Creating something surprising and new. I wake up excited to tackle the myriad projects I have happening at a given time. I love my life so much and continually take moments to be grateful. Someone told me once that gratitude is the antidote to anxiety and that your mind can never be anxious while you are being grateful. Try it and see what I mean… it’s a good way to end the day, list 3 things that you’re grateful for before you go to bed.

SA: Do you have any television shows, or a book series, or movies that you live for?

GP: I probably shouldn’t say this since I am on TV regularly, but… I don’t really watch TV. Before the opening credits have finished my mind has already drifted off to something more intriguing that I want to get into. The shows that have kept my attention pretty well recently though are:

1. Homeland (it’s getting a bit sensationalist though)

2. Girls (I love how un-self-conscious Lena Dunham is, though it can be a bit crass)

3. Downtown Abby (I’ve sworn it off though since Matthew’s death! I can’t live without him, he was the perfect man)

4. The Office (It’s sadly over and they made the terrible mistake of making Austin even more popular by sending Pam and Jim here in the final episode, the traffic is just terrible these days)

5. Mad Men (Don Draper’s affairs have been a bit much for me lately though. Distracted and disloyal men offend my soul in a profoundly deep way. It’s the one thing I can never forgive)

6. White Collar (I actually don’t pay attention to the plot, I just enjoy trying to find flaws in Matt Bomer’s perfect face. I wish he liked girls)

As for books… I read a lot of non-fiction, betterment-style books. Any of the classics I read too… I find that I really only like classic fiction, rarely the new fiction. And I read the most important book of all almost every day. For movies… anything in which Ryan Gosling is shirtless and/or brooding. I realize I sound boy crazy in this interview… which is funny since my friends tell me that when you type my name into Google the top searches that auto fill are for whether I have a husband, boyfriend, or am married. Apparently I don’t ever talk about that in interviews and the Google universe wants to know…

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SA: Is there one dish you have yet to master or hope to try in the future?

GP: I’d like to make a really spectacular cake. Like the kind with a perfect sponge and buttery, fluffy sublimely textured icing. And decorations that would make you swear it was a painting. A girl can dream but I’m much too whimsical when I cook for any of that precision…

SA: What is one DIY project you think everyone should try at least once? Do you have a go-to project?

GP: There are a million of my favorites in my forthcoming book “Modern Pioneering” (in stores March 4th, have you pre-ordered your copy yet?!??!). I love making homemade wreathes from vines I’ve pulled down myself. And I love making homemade beeswax candles… oh man the list goes on and on.


SA: What’s on your bucket list?

GP: Having a family. I know I should list a bunch of foreign exotic cities and spectacular life experiences but I kind of have that reverse life where I get to have so many astonishing, cool experiences constantly in my career, that I pinch myself. At age 32, there is nothing that I’ve wanted to do that I haven’t gotten to do thus far. So there is a big part of me that is looking forward to one day doing the things that everyone calls “normal.” For now I’m counting my blessings because I will look back at my life and know that there was nothing I had to give up or didn’t get to do… but I do want the normal bits to happen sometime.