Claudia Alarcón was born and raised in Mexico City in the mostly happy home of alower-middle class family. From her parents she inherited a passion for homecooking, fine food, and wine, learning to cook from her mother -a fantastic andresourceful cook- as soon as she was old enough to hold a knife and reach thestove. After moving to Austin in 1984 she dove right into the service industry,working as a cook, baker and server at various area restaurants, and later as awine and spirits representative. She holds a bachelor's degree with honors inAnthropology with a minor in Latin American Studies from the University of Texasand is an independent researcher on gastronomy and foodways, writingprofessionally since 2000 for various local and national publications. She has aserious wanderlust and has traveled widely across Mexico and spent time inGuatemala, Belize, Alaska (it really should be another country!), South Africa,and Brazil. An avid organic gardener for the last 20 years, she grows ornamentaland edible gardens with husband Will Larson, an Austin sculptor who will gladlydo most of the digging in exchange for her creative cooking with the fruit oftheir labors. She chronicles her gardening, cooking, and traveling adventures inhttp://cuisinexplorers.com, and manages to find time to be an active volunteerwith Austin Pets Alive!