Joanne Weir is a James Beard Award-winning cookbook author and judge, international cooking teacher and chef. Her award-winning PBS series, “Joanne Weir Gets Fresh” began airing nationally in the US January, 2015 with another series beginning January, 2016. Her ultimate calling is teaching others to cook throughout the world. Joanne spends several months each year in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Great Britain, South America and Mexico, sharing her extensive background with regard to nutrition, food theory and technique. Her award-winning Culinary Journey’s program takes students to study with her along the Mediterranean in Italy, Spain, France and Morocco.
With the release of her book Tequila: A Guide to Types Flights, Cocktails and Bites (Ten Speed Press 2009), in 2012, Weir’s career took an exciting twist as she opened Copita, a modern Mexican restaurant and tequileria in Sausalito, California along with restaurateur extraordinaire, Larry Mindel. Copita was named Best Mexican Restaurant in the Bay Area by 7×7 Magazine and featured on the cover of San Francisco Magazine as one of the best Mexican restaurants in San Francisco in 2014.
Joanne has received many awards and accolades during her illustrious career. She was one of 20 American women chefs appointed by Hillary Clinton and the State Department to the American Chef Corp. in 2012, named to promote world relations through food. She was awarded the first IACP Julia Child Cooking Teacher Award of Excellence. In addition, she received a Taste Award for “Passion” in 2011 and another Taste Award for her television series “Cooking Confidence” in 2013. That same year, Joanne was honored with the Tour Operator of the Year Award from the IACP for her highly acclaimed Culinary Journeys program. Her online wine business, Joanne Weir Wines, which she launched in 2011, collaborates with artisanal wine makers to produce award-winning Californian and international wines.
I first met Joanne after signing up for a cooking class more than a decade ago. I became an instant fan of her food and the Chef herself. Her restaurant Copita in Sausalito is one of my favorite spots in the Bay Area. Some of the most authentic Mexican food you will ever enjoy and margaritas that will knock your socks off!! I always encourage friends to take the Ferry there from San Francisco and UBER home.
Her newest book (#17) is a food memoir, called Kitchen Gypsy, Recipes and Stories from a Lifelong Romance with Food and was released just recently. It is the most personal book by Chef Weir. Joanne’s life came full circle during the making of the book, Alice Waters who first hired her at Chez Panisse wrote the forward.
Enjoy my tasty talk with a Bay Area culinary treasure Joanne Weir. And please download the delish Carrot & Anise soup recipe, it will warm the cockles of your heart and it’s perfect for Fall.
Carrot Soup With Anise
- 2 teaspoons anise seeds
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock or water
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons anise flavored liquor like Sambuca, Ouzo, or Pernod
- 1/4 cup crème fraiche
- 1 tablespoon anise flavored liquor
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Warm a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the anise seeds and toss until light golden and fragrant. Remove from the pan and place in a spice grinder and coarsely grind.
Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and coarsely ground anise seeds and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the carrots and cook, stirring occasionally , for 10 minutes. Add the stock and simmer until the carrots are tender, 15 minutes. Let cool.
In batches, puree the soup in a blender on high speed until very smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes per batch. Season with salt and pepper. Strain the soup through a fine mesh strainer and into a clean soup pot. Add the heavy cream and stir. Add as much of the anise flavored liquor to taste and stir together. If the soup is too thick, add additional water or stock. The soup should be the consistency of thick heavy cream.
For the garnish, in a small bowl, stir together the crème fraiche and remaining 1 tablespoon anise flavored liquor. Season with salt.
Ladle the hot soup into soup bowls. Drizzle a spoonful of the anise flavored crème fraiche over the top. Garnish with chives and serve.