Proust Questionnaire with Monica Pope

You may be familiar with the classic Proust Questionnaire. You know, the one that gets at a person’s wit, soul and overall outlook through a number of pithy questions? Well, we’ve slightly tweaked the format and abbreviated the length in hopes of pulling back the curtains on a few of the beautiful culinary minds that will be at this year’s first annual Austin FOOD & WINE Festival. First up in our weekly series? Monica Pope of Houston’s t’afia, a restaurant whose mission and menu is dedicated to local food producers.

What is your idea of bliss? Watching a fire burn with the family What is the quality you most like in a meal? Balance What is the quality you most like in a wine? Drinkable Which words or phrases do you most overuse in the kitchen? Poquito chiquito What do you consider the most overrated ingredient? Salt Who are your favorite chefs? Jamie Oliver; April Bloomfield; David Chang; Suzanne Goin What is your favorite dish? Gnocchi with beets & poppyseed butter Which culinary talent would you most like to have? Cheesemaking What is your most treasured kitchen tool? My ceramic knives What is your state of mind when cooking? Clear & focused & hungry & inspired —hopefully

If you’re in the Houston area this upcoming weekend, you can join Chef Monica Pope on Friday night for a special Austin FOOD & WINE Festival preview party and six-course tasting menu, complete with aperitifs, cocktails and wine. Tickets are $100 each and can be purchased here. During the Festival weekend, look for Monica at The New Taste of Texas VIP Kickoff Event at Republic Square Park on Friday, April 27 from 5:30 – 8:00pm. Savoring her farm fresh creations — along with those of 12 other chefs — while winding down to the tunes of Grammy-award winning artist, Lucinda Williams? Sounds like the makings of a memorable evening!