Julia Lopez: Champagne, Arias
And Horse-owning Dreams

Yesterday, we gave you the goods on Julia Lopez, corporate chef for La Duni restaurants. Today, we asked Lopez to finish a few sentences for us. Tomorrow, she shares one of her delicious recipes.

(Lopez's words are after the ellipses.)

I grew up... on a small little ranch in Chihuahua, Mexico. My father was a farmer, corn and beans and now apples. That's why I'm so in love with food. I grew up where all the good ingredients come from.

My friends say I'm... very passionate. About everything. I'm very intense.

My momma told me... don't get in trouble. Please. Please don't get in trouble. And here I am in big trouble. [She laughs.]

If I had 24 hours to live I'd... want to thank everyone close to me and tell them how lucky I am to have them in my life.

My guilty pleasure is... chocolate and Champagne. Together.

I cook therefore... I enjoy eating

If I could be anywhere, I'd go... to visit my mom and my dad.

Never again will I... I don't ever use never. I don't think I would say "never."

Cat or dog... dog. I love Labradors. I love. And I love horses. That is my dream, to have a horse.

The CD I couldn't do without is... Placido Domingo. He is my favorite of all times. The good thing is, I have him in all categories. He sings the best composers in Mexico, tango, classical, everything.

I relax by... drinking coffee. It's my break time, when I only care about the coffee. No work interruptions allowed.

If it weren't for cooking, I would be... a singer or an architect. When I cook, I sing. A lot. When I clean, I sing a lot. One time, a girl in the kitchen said, "Will you please stop singing?" [She laughs.] And other times people will ask me to sing. I've hurt my vocal chords [being in the kitchen.] But I still sing in a soft voice. I also love design and architecture.

Food should always... be the number one priority. It brings people together. It nourishes you and your soul.

And food should never... be underestimated.

I get my cooking inspiration from... the food itself. I love to eat it, and I love the matching up of flavors. That's my inspiration. More than cooking, I like to eat it.

For the holidays, be sure to... make it simple. Fresh ingredients make the perfect meal. Buy the smaller portion. Not the giant turkey that will never cook

The kitchen gift I'd like to receive is... everything for the kitchen is a toy. I wouldn't mind having another knife like for cheese. Maybe a set to have one for everything.

Every kitchen needs... more than one cutting board, tongs, a sharp knife. It doesn't have to be expensive. It just has to be sharp. And measuring cups. The only way to get familiar with measurements is to measure.

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