Claudia Alarcón was born and raised in Mexico City in the mostly happy home of a lower-middle class family. From her parents she inherited a passion for home cooking, fine food, and wine, learning to cook from her mother -a fantastic and resourceful cook- as soon as she was old enough to hold a knife and reach the stove. 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 a wine and spirits representative. She holds a bachelor's degree with honors in Anthropology with a minor in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas and is an independent researcher on gastronomy and foodways, writing professionally since 2000 for various local and national publications. She has a serious wanderlust and has traveled widely across Mexico and spent time in Guatemala, Belize, Alaska (it really should be another country!), South Africa, and Brazil. An avid organic gardener for the last 20 years, she grows ornamental and edible gardens with husband Will Larson, an Austin sculptor who will gladly do most of the digging in exchange for her creative cooking with the fruit of their labors. She chronicles her gardening, cooking, and traveling adventures in http://cuisinexplorers.com, and manages to find time to be an active volunteer with Austin Pets Alive!