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Jacqui Guglielmino was born in Canada and spent the first 20 years of her life travelling the world due to her father’s job. With her Italian husband, she ran a graphic design business for 17 years and then decided to pursue another of her passions – cooking.
April Smallwood

9 Feb 2011 - 11:59 AM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM

Jacqui Guglielmino was born in Canada and spent the first 20 years of her life travelling the world due to her father’s job. With her Italian husband, she ran a graphic design business for 17 years and then decided to pursue another of her passions – cooking.

Her blog, Everyday Cook, chronicles Jacqui's penchant for French food and baked goodies. SBS talks to Jacqui about what sparked her culinary interest, the secret to perfect macarons, and her stand on using local ingredients.

What inspired you to start your food blog, Everyday Cook?
I had been following Clotilde Dusoulier from Chocolate & Zucchini for quite some time and had always admired her recipes and interesting information about French cooking and Paris (my favourite place). I suggested that I might start a blog and some people said it was beyond me! Well, that was it; if you challenge me, I am determined to prove you wrong!

What’s the most rewarding thing about your blog?
The most rewarding thing about my blog is when someone tells me they have tried one of my recipes and they enjoyed the results. I was at Alliance Francaise the other day and this lovely French girl who works there came up to me and said, 'Excuse me, are you Jacqui from Everyday Cook? I made your brownies and they were delicious." I cannot describe how good that makes me feel. That is one of the things I love about cooking – the sharing of the experience and the way you influence others. I have recipes from people I only met briefly, but will never forget because of the dish they shared with me.

How are your attempts at making the perfect macaron coming along?
My macaron attempts have improved so much since attending Adriano Zumbo’s class. There are always aspects of a recipe that you cannot learn without seeing someone actually make them. They are tricky little morsels, though!

What would you say is the toughest part in creating them? Can you share any tips?
The most important thing when making a macaron is to have patience; pour the sugar in slowly, beat the egg whites for a good five minutes.

What did you learn from attending the Adriano Zumbo course?
As I said, I learnt everything from the Adriano Zumbo course. I saw how he left the Kitchen Aid beating the egg whites on for a long time, much longer than I had been taking. He also taught me to set the oven to 200°C and then put the macarons in, turn off [the oven], leave for 10 minutes and then put the oven at 160°C for 5-6 mins. All these little tips are what make the difference.

What’s your ultimate food indulgence?
I buy expensive, good-quality ingredients and use them every day – Joseph olive oil; organic free-range eggs; Gympie unsalted butter from the Gympie Goat Cheese producers at [Brisbane’s] West End Markets. I think if you’re going to spend money, spend it on things you can enjoy every day and are good for you. I love to buy produce fresh from a farm.

When did you first realise you had a passion for food?
As a young girl, I travelled the world with my parents and was introduced to all sorts of cuisines long before it became trendy. While most of my friends were eating 'meat and three veg", I was feasting on curry and Malaysian food. My mother and father are both excellent cooks. The longer I live, the more recipes I try and there seems to be no end to the interesting food in this world.

Do you have a current food obsession?
As you can see from my blog, I am obsessed with baking. I am inspired by beautiful cakes and treats; a little indulgence for people in a busy life. I also am very interested in the movement towards food becoming art, where you take it that step further into a fantasy world. Like Heston Blumenthal, Bompas and Parr and, on a smaller scale, the Hotham Street Ladies in Melbourne. The food also has a wonderful sense of humour about it.

Where do you gain inspiration? Friends, magazines, TV, chefs?
I am inspired by travel and seeing what other people cook and how they present it. I also watch Food Safari and other television shows about cooking or produce. I subscribe to Gourmet Traveller magazine and have about 15 years of back copies in my cupboards. I love a good cookbook. I really enjoy other people’s cooking, especially if it’s culturally based. I love recipes with a history behind them.

Are you an advocate for using locally grown produce in your cooking?
I only use locally grown products, unless there isn’t one. I prefer food that is grown or raised in a natural way – chickens that enjoy life outside; fruit and vegetables that are not over-sprayed with chemicals. Not necessarily organic, just grown and raised in the old fashioned way.

From your blog, it's clear you're well versed in baking. What are three tips you would offer to people who lack confidence in this area?
Three tips: Cook with love; If at first you don’t succeed, try and try and try again. Ask around, too; Bake something you really like to eat.

You do a quite a lot of gluten-free baking. In what ways is this more challenging than cooking with gluten?
My dear neighbour is coeliac and this inspired the gluten-free cooking. I don’t find it challenging. I think if you accept that it will be slightly different to the flour-based recipes, but not necessarily worse, you can enjoy the experience. Some recipes like my brownies actually taste better without flour.

You're also a fan of French cuisine. What's a dish that a novice might prepare as an introduction to the cuisine?
Tarte tatin is very simple but such a hit with guests. The caramelised sugar is so delicious and the whole 'turning it out in front of everyone" is so much fun. If you aren’t comfortable making the pastry, you can buy fantastic commercial pastry now. For instance, Carême Pastry.

How important is meal presentation to you?
I am very focused on presentation. I have been trained as a graphic designer and [my husband and I] ran our own graphic design business for 17 years , so I am a very visual person. However, presentation should not win over taste.

Do you have an all-time favourite cuisine?
French all the time, especially for baking and desserts. This month, it is Moroccan. I really enjoy the layering of flavour in the meals. Some of the best Moroccan I have eaten was in France. Mind you, I have not been to Morocco, yet.

What would you prepare...
a. When hosting a dinner party for close friends?
I start with a theme; perhaps a type of cuisine. Then I build from there. My Marie Antoinette dinner party was so much fun! We started with stuffed artichokes for entrée, then filet de boeuf en croûte with French beans. We had a cheese platter and then finished off with two desserts: I made almond meringues, and a berry-and-almond tart.
b. If asked to bring dessert?
I love chocolate-based desserts. My chocolate tart with chocolate pastry is always a big hit. I would check what else we were eating and make sure it wasn’t too heavy.
c. For an indulgent Sunday morning breakfast?   
I prefer chocolate for breakfast, and so does my husband. I think I would take my brownies. Everyone loves my brownies.

Do you have anything else you'd like to share with your fellow foodies?
The food community is full of interesting people with passion. I really enjoy sharing my interest with them. There is so much more to cooking than just the meal.