Aran Goyoaga is the multitalented photographer, writer, stylist and cook behind her well known food blog, Cannelle Et Vanille. Although a world traveler, she can most often be found pottering around Seattle, working from her downtown studio hosting and collaborating with other cooks, photographers and food stylists from all across the world. Aran is very well known for her photography workshops – so when I had the chance to fly across to the Pacific North West to attend a workshop that Aran was hosting, alongside (my current obsession and love) Luisa Brimble, well, I happily did.
Aran was born in Basque country and has been living in the United States for the past sixteen years. A trained pastry chef and author of her cookbook, Small Plates and Sweet Treats, Aran moves favorably and confidently in the kitchen. It is an honor to watch her as she tosses flour, arranges bowls, rolls out pastry dough and chops through figs. She is quick and productive all the while remaining delicate and discreet. Turn around to face a different part of the room and before you know it, Aran has already laid a table, arranged beautifully with thrifted ceramics, scattered flower petals and of course, her delicious cooked food. Her eyes are soft, her smile is big and the space she fills is welcoming. I caught myself staring, far too many times. I think it is because she is just so good at what she does. It was a pleasure to spend a weekend in Seattle in Aran’s company.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am finishing up a year of workshops and getting ready to start photographing a cookbook (not my recipes). I also have my own cookbook proposal at hand so hopefully that will materialize soon. I am a weekly contributor to Conde Nast Traveler and I continue with other freelance work both editorial and commercial.
Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?
I feel like we are all a product of where we live, the light we are surrounded by, our friends, the food we eat, the books we read, movies we watch and music we listen to. I have always been a bit of a sponge of culture and I am always interested in what other people are doing. So it's all around me.
Why a food writer and stylist?
I was a pastry chef in my past life and I grew up in a family of pastry chefs, so food has always been all around me. It's my language. I have to admit that I am not a true writer. I do it, but it's not my strength. I love cooking and preparing food in a natural way to photograph it, so images and composing for camera is what I really love to do. Without sounding too pretentious, food really is my creative vehicle.
Do you listen to music while you work? If so, would you be so kind to share some of your favourite artists?
I love, love, love music, but who doesn't? I listen to music all day long and it really does affect my mood. In my favorite cooking playlist you will find anything from Future Islands, Bauhaus, Bleached, Jonathan Richman, M83, Pavement, Belle & Sebastian, LCD Soundsystem, Grandaddy, Dirty On Purpose, Le Mans.....
Do you have a morning ritual?
I do! First thing, I drink some warm water with apple cider vinegar. Then I make a strong cup of coffee and I ask everyone not to speak to me for 10 minutes!
What's your idea of a perfect Friday night?
I am a homebody at heart and I really enjoy being home and watching a good movie. But I do love to find a good restaurant and meet friends over a good meal. I like a lot of sitting around and talking action.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I really want to go to Bolivia, Argentina and Japan soon.
Best piece of advice you've ever given or been given?
When I was in my late teens, I wanted to drop out of college (I was in school for business, which I did not enjoy). But my aunt Bego who is only a few years older than me insisted that I should not give up. "Solving problems is like building muscle, you have to actually do it often" she said. It stuck with me and I have used it many times. Actually it's the one thing that I have found to be so true. As I am getting older, I am realizing that growing and evolving can be a very uncomfortable and painful exercise. But as I always say "tomorrow will be another day".
What's for dinner?
We are making pizzas!
The best part about being a creative?
Having a lot of freedom. I can be very meticulous and rigid in my habits and it's interesting having so much freedom to do what I want. It's quite uncomfortable many times because it's not my nature, but I do love it.
The worst part?
The insecurity of it all.
Day or night? Depends for what. I am more productive in the day but more adventurous at night.
Old or new? A mixture.
City or Country? Again, I cannot choose! But if I have to pick one... I need to live in the city and escape to the country.
Coffee or Tea? Coffee.
What do you enjoy most about living in Seattle?
I have found such a great community of creative people. Many artists who are also mothers and I relate to very much. Plus it's such a beautiful city and I love the moodiness of it. I love rain. I grew up in the Basque Country with lots of green, moss, fishing and damp forests so I feel right at home in Seattle.
Thoughts for the future:
Never stop being curious and be kind to myself.