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Posted by: Elena Grama - 24 January 2011 / 10:20
Welcome to Behind the Blogs, where we take a moment to get to know the bloggers in the Scribnia Community on a more personal level. We’ve read their words, but now it’s time to learn a little bit about the person behind the keyboard.
Today’s interview is with Clotilde Dusoulier who writes for Chocolate and Zucchini. Clotilde is the 31-year-old Parisienne behind the award-winning food blog Chocolate & Zucchini. She was born and raised in Paris, she discovered her passion for food while working in California as a software engineer. She started her blog in 2003 after returning to Paris, and its success has allowed her to start a new career as a full-time food writer. Clotilde is also the author of the cookbook CHOCOLATE & ZUCCHINI (Broadway Books, 2007) and of CLOTILDE’S EDIBLE ADVENTURES IN PARIS (Broadway Books, 2008), a book on Paris restaurants and food shops. She has also helped edit I KNOW HOW TO COOK (Phaidon, 2009), the newly translated bible of French home cooking. She lives in Montmartre.
1) Why did you start blogging? Why do you blog today?
I created Chocolate & Zucchini in September of 2003: I had been cooking with growing passion for a few years, and I felt the need to keep track of my thoughts and experiments and recipes. I also wanted to share them with like-minded cooks, and an audience larger than just my friends and family. When I stumbled upon the handful of food blogs that existed at the time, I knew the cooking journal format would be ideal for me.
It certainly exceeded my expectations: Chocolate & Zucchini has become such an integral part of my life I couldn’t imagine not blogging. I love the way having a blog changes my world view: I look at things with more attention and depth thanks to it, because somewhere in the back of my mind I always wonder how I could share this or that on my blog. The ongoing conversation with my readers is incredibly motivating and inspiring, too, and I learn a lot from them.
2) What was your life like growing up?
I was blessed with a very happy childhood in a tight-knit family, with an older sister I was always close to, and parents who brought us up with the idea that the world was our oyster and we could pretty much do whatever we put our minds to. I also grew up eating really well, because my mother is a wonderful cook, and I learned a lot by just hanging out with her in the kitchen and watching as she prepared our meals.
3) Has blogging helped you in your life/career?
Chocolate & Zucchini has been instrumental in my food writing career, in fact I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have one if it wasn’t for the blog! All of the opportunities that I’ve benefited from over the years have stemmed from the blog. It has also brought me some very good friends, and I am thankful for that as well.
4) Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I’ve never been one to have a career plan, but I hope in ten years I will still be doing what I love and learning things every day. And from that place of experience, I hope to be in a position to mentor and encourage younger people to do the same.
5) What advice would you provide for people looking to start a blog?
I think the most important thing is to write out of passion — whatever the topic — and to work on developing your own voice. In my experience, those are the elements readers respond best to. You also need to be patient and persistent: it can take a while to find your groove, and to develop the kind of readership you hope for, but if you produce quality content that really adds value to your readers’ lives, you are bound to find your audience.
6) How do you define success?
To me, success is doing what you love, and being the person you want to be — no more, no less.
7) How did you choose the name for your blog?
The name Chocolate & Zucchini is an illustration of the two sides of my culinary personality: zucchini stands for my love of fresh, seasonal produce and healthful cooking, and chocolate for my interest in baking.
What do you do when you’re not in front of a computer screen?
If I’m not at my computer, you’re most likely to find me a) in the kitchen cooking, b) on the couch reading, or c) out and about exploring the city.
Thanks so much for sharing your story with us Clotilde. Your blog is a great read for all gourmands out there. Keep up the good work!
If you know of an interesting blogger/author that we should interview for the Behind the Blogs series, or if YOU are that blogger, send me an email at Elena [at] Scribnia.com