“This book, I love it madly! I worked on it day and night,” says the author of Buenos Diaz! with contagious enthusiasm. When asked what drives her brand image, she hesitates. “I don’t know, maybe there’s a part of generosity in me that touches people…” This is what we will say after this interview: Alexandra Diaz gives by taking nothing for acquired.

“Don’t you have an air fryer?” It takes you! If you like crunchy food, you won’t be disappointed,” says our interlocutor, guiding us towards what she considers to be the best choice. Alexandra Diaz takes pleasure in sharing her findings and her successes. She will thus succeed in convincing a refractory to gadgets to cook with the hot air fryer, “a more efficient and less energy-consuming appliance than an everyday oven”.

The former cultural journalist, turned cooking show host, is one of those people who wake up in the morning with a smile on their face, pinching themselves to have the life they have. From those who like cheese that stretches endlessly and the sauce that escapes from a sandwich to flow between your fingers.

Alexandra Diaz bites into life like a brownie…even when it has a bitter aftertaste. “I’m a single mother, I lost my mother, my family is in Chile… My life is not always easy, but I love it and I wouldn’t change it,” she said. I don’t know if it’s my experience as an immigrant, but in my family, having been through a lot of things has never stopped us from being festive. I can’t say fun is always after me, but I’m after fun! »

After Fiesta Santé, which offered tips and recipes to fill up on energy, the author is back with a book in which it is a question of putting fun on the menu and in your daily life. His pleasures are divided into different chapters that set the table for unifying recipes – his discovery of pilates and running, his hot air fryer, his Japanese knives, his “TOC” of the organization, his family and the time we savor…

If Buenos Diaz! differs from her previous books, it’s probably in this more personal side, she says. “I’m often told to show off. My reflexes are rather to put others in the spotlight. Pleasing makes me happy, which is the lot of many women, but with the pandemic, I realized that I could think of myself. »

The author has sold more books with Fiesta Santé than many professional writers, but 100 times less than when she co-signed the series Cuisine futée, parents in a hurry, she says. The pandemic was an opportunity to rethink the studio of the show she hosted with nutritionist Geneviève O’Gleman and who lived on the vestiges of her past. As a gang girl, she recreated her core. “If I was only looking for fame, I would have stayed on TV, but I try to do what I love and I want to share it. »

Alexandra Diaz loves cooking, cooking loves her and we love her for her cooking. If she grabs us by her vivacity, she wins us over by the belly with crispy chicken wings, fresh salads with coriander flavor, spicy tortillas or express ramen for weeknights: as many recipes as she loves insatiably and has cooked “four million times”.

“I consider myself a quality assembler, which does not mean going for the most sophisticated ingredients, but knowing how to match them,” she says. It doesn’t have to be complicated to be tasty. Give me some celery that’s starting to go soft in the fridge and I’ll make you something good out of it! As a family, sometimes you have to know how to cut corners. »

His cuisine is efficient and gourmet, in line with smart meals, with an added Diaz touch. “I may not care how much fiber my recipe contains, because in life, I eat it, my fiber,” she points out. You also have to know how to take advantage of it. Sometimes I don’t feel like cooking, but I’ll choose the best bread, my favorite peanut butter and chili jelly. I bother! And that little extra soul makes all the difference.

“I don’t believe in the happiness of making lunches for an entire school or professional year. To lighten the load, get your kids involved, she suggests. “If we play Lego blocks with them, we accompany them, we make little characters… It’s the same with food education: it takes love for it to become a reflex and for it to be pleasant to do. »

“You may have the nicest lunch, but you can’t have fun eating out of a dirty lunch box.” It’s like wearing the same clothes without ever washing them. Every week, I turn it inside out and put it in the wash with the rest. »

“I wonder every day what I feel like eating. This is what I teach my children because I have not been immune to the pressure that is put on body image. » Add taste and fun by varying the colors and textures, by sprinkling some spices or fine herbs, by adding a small accompanying sauce. “It’s not a bad sign of health. »

“You will never see me cooking for my lunches. These are table scraps, and then I have so many! Yesterday I made ground meat into meatballs which I served again in pita bread today. Those who don’t like to eat the same thing two days in a row can always freeze their leftovers and bring them out later. »

“With the array of reusable bags and containers, I don’t see the point of buying bagged food. I like that mine are completely transparent, because it’s easier to spot their contents in the fridge and it’s more appetizing. “Short of time? There is no harm in accompanying a dish from the day before with a ready-made salad, she adds.

A comfort food classic, revisited in a cauliflower version topped with a cashew nut crunch. “You sure have a great afternoon at school or work after that!” »

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.

2. Pour in the milk in three batches, whisking continuously. When the sauce is homogeneous, reduce to low heat.

3. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. To book.

4. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).

5. Cook pasta as directed on package.

6. Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and cook the cauliflower for 8 minutes. To book.

7. Drain the pasta and put it in a large salad bowl.

8. Add cauliflower, béchamel, cashews, green onion and cheeses. Mix well.

9. Pour into a high-sided baking dish and bake for 15 minutes.