Why The City Of Paris Was So Important To Serena Wolf Becoming A Chef - Exclusive

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Serena Wolf's skyrocketing career started out with a post about her husband's wonky eating habits. That blossomed into a cookbook, "The Dude Diet," then a sequel, "The Dude Diet Dinnertime," and eventually Wolf's website, Domesticate Me, which is a treasure trove of recipes, wellness and beauty guides, and merchandise. In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Wolf revealed that her budding empire didn't seem possible when she began her journey 13 years ago. 

She had graduated from college in 2009 with dreams of being a writer, so she took off for Paris, where many an artist has found — and still finds — inspiration. Once there, she enrolled in a three-month course at Le Cordon Bleu culinary academy on a whim, as she said, "before I came home and started my real life." Wolf's decision even surprised her because she wasn't raised in a foodie home. "I did not grow up in a household that was very enthusiastic about food," she said. In fact, Wolf had always been a picky eater, and prior to her attending Le Cordon Bleu, she admitted, "I had basically made burnt grilled cheese, unscrambled eggs." 

However, Wolf was a fan of the film "Julie & Julia" and thought that, by enrolling in cooking school, "I'd be chopping onions very quickly and perhaps roasting chickens and drinking wine." She had a rude awakening, though. Le Cordon Bleu is known for its grueling training, and it initially terrified her. But near the end of the intense three-month program, Wolf fell in love with the craft. "I am a highly anxious person. It was very soothing to my nervous system to spend these hours executing these recipes and creating really beautiful meals," she said. It was then that Wolf knew she'd discovered her vocation and signed up for Le Cordon Bleu's full diploma program — and the rest is history.

Serena Wolf learned the Parisian way to enjoy a meal

Serena Wolf did in fact receive her diploma from Le Cordon Bleu, but she already knew that the restaurant business wasn't for her. During her 20 months in Paris, she came to understand the storytelling aspect of preparing a meal. "It allowed me to express myself in a way that was easy for me to connect with other people," she said. A Californian at heart, Wolf admits that she's not a particular fan of rich French food, but she believes that French technique is the backbone to great cuisine. And she also learned through her French training that there's more to enjoying a meal than simply eating well-prepared food. Wolf was inspired not only by the Parisian chefs she worked with but also by the overall food scene in Paris. "It's different than it is here in America. We had slower meals," she divulged.

Putting a meal together was almost a "religious experience" that she and her French friends shared, as they took the time to search out the best components of a meal (discovering that finding the best baguette was a Holy Grail), and then setting up a picnic in the park. On another day, they might have a two-hour lunch at an outdoor café and appreciate every bite they ate. "It's hugely inspirational to me still to recreate the feelings that I had while eating meals in France," Wolf shared. But there's still one more reason why Paris is so influential to Wolf's life: It's where she met her husband, Logan Unland. Wolf said she longs to return to Paris permanently, but until that time, she continues to communicate her passion for life in her cooking.

Find out more about Serena Wolf on her website and follow her on Instagram. "The Dude Diet" and "The Dude Diet Dinnertime" are available on Amazon.