One-on-One with Disney’s Princess Tiana on the eve of her first visit to Australia for Disney On Ice presents Let’s Celebrate!

Tiana-Naveen

 

Tiana-Naveen

Australia has welcomed some of the world’s most famous chefs to our shores – Heston Blumenthal, Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsey, Wolfgang Puck and more. This June and July however, perhaps one of the most famous of all will visit – chef, restaurant owner and role model worldwide, Princess Tiana will visit Australia for the first time to star in Disney On Ice presents Let’s Celebrate!

In an exclusive chat with Princess Tiana, she has revealed her favourite recipe to be the famous Beignets, square doughnuts with no hole, a French inspired recipe passed to her from her father in New Orleans (recipe below).

Tiana is the lead in Walt Disney Pictures’ The Princess and the Frog. She is a waitress and aspiring restaurateur and chef living in the French Quarter of New Orleans during the Jazz Age. Hers is the story of trying to fulfill her late father’s dream, which leads her on adventure through the bayous of Louisiana. Tiana falls in love with a Prince and eventually proves herself to be a princess because of her heart. She is Disney’s 9th Princess and the first African-American princess, and is proving to be an incredible role model.

Tiana
Name:
My name’s Tiana. It’s very nice to meet you.

Nickname/s:
Well, my best friend Lottie has called me “Tia” ever since we were little girls.

Known for:
I guess you could say I’m known for my cooking.  Especially my homemade beignets – Lottie’s father, Big Daddy LaBouff, says they’re the best in all of Louisiana. (Note: Tiana has given us the recipe for her famous beignets, see below)

Current residence:
Where I’ve lived all my life: New Orleans.  I love being close to my mama and all my friends.

Tell us about yourself:
Goodness, I’m just a Southern girl who was raised in a home full of love. I was lucky enough to get to follow my dream and make a whole bunch of wonderful friends along the way!

Love interest:
That one’s easy. The love of my life is my husband, Naveen.  He’s always wanted to make my dreams come true. And oh, can he make me laugh! You know, he’s mighty handsome, too.

Hobbies:
Before I got my restaurant, it seems like all I ever did was work and cook to save up enough money to open up my own place.  Now, I still love doing those things, but I try to take more time for fun stuff like dancing, singing, and spending time with my family and friends.

What do you never travel without and why:
I always take a picture of my daddy with me wherever I go.  He taught me so much about the value of hard work and bringing folks together.  And he always inspired me to follow my heart.

Favourite holiday destination:
Why that’d be Naveen’s homeland, Maldonia.  It’s very different from New Orleans, but it’s absolutely beautiful!

If you were to travel to my home, Australia – what do you think you’d look forward to most?:
Well, I just love meetin’ new people and seein’ new things.  It sure would be exciting to see the sights and make some new friends. And of course, I’d want to try some of the amazing food y’all have Down Under.  I hear there’s some kind of yeast you put on toast.  Goodness, we sure don’t have that in New Orleans!

What is your favourite celebration of the year?:
I’m sure this won’t surprise you, but I just love Mardi Gras!  I don’t think y’all celebrate it in Australia, but here in New Orleans we have the most amazing parades, and parties, and all sorts of delicious Cajun and Creole food! I can’t tell you how much fun it is!

What is your favourite type of food?:
I guess my favorite thing to cook is gumbo. I make it in the pot my daddy gave me when I was a little girl.  But any cooking is delicious when it’s made with love, and shared with friends.  That’s what I like most about food: it brings people together.

Do you have any advice for kids who want to be a chef when they grow up?:
I’d say start practicing right now! Be sure you’ve got the freshest ingredients, and just keep trying things till they’re exactly how you like them. If being a chef is your dream, then don’t you ever give up on it.

What advice do you have for little girls who look up to you and your achievements?:
Well, I think it’s real important to work hard for what you want in life.  But you have to have a dream first – so finding that dream, and knowing what you love and love to do, is both important and wonderful!  And be sure to open up your heart to all the amazing possibilities there are out there in the world.

Tiana’s Famous Beignets
Source: The Princess and the Frog – Princess Tiana’s Cookbook

Ingredients:
3 cups flour        
1/3 cup sugar       
2 teaspoons baking powder·         
½ teaspoon baking soda·         
½ teaspoon salt·         
½ teaspoon nutmeg·         
1 cup buttermilk·         
1/3 cup water·         
1 egg, beaten·         
½ teaspoon vanilla extract·         
Vegetable oil, for frying·         
Confectioners’ sugar, to dust

Directions:
1.       In a medium bowl, combine 2 ¾ cups of the flour with the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Whisk everything together.

2.       In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, water, egg, and vanilla extract. Stir in the flour mixture from step 1.

3.       Use some of the remaining flour to dust your work surface. Place the dough on it and pat into a large ½ -inch-thick square. Dust the top with more flour if gets sticky. Next, slice the dough into 2 ½ inch squares.

4.       Now it’s time to fry the beignets- be sure to ask an adult to help you! Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy saucepan on the stovetop until the temperature reaches 325˚ on a deep-fat thermometer. Check the temperature every so often while cooking. If it gets too hot, temporarily turn the heat down, or off.

5.       Carefully drop 3 dough squares at a time into the hot oil. Fry them for 3 minutes, turn them over, and continue frying for 3 more minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beignets with confectioners’ sugar, and enjoy!

Featuring more than 50 characters from 16 Disney stories who take a tour of the world to celebrate major holidays and events, Disney On Ice presents Let’s Celebrate! will take over the Adelaide Entertainment Centre from July 19 – 22. The magical show  includes the debut on ice of  Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen from Walt Disney Pictures’ The Princess and the Frog. Classic and contemporary Disney songs, an original storyline, brilliant costumes and high energy action will have audiences celebrating, singing and dancing to some of the world’s most popular events — from Halloween with the Disney Villains, to a Valentine’s Day Royal Ball, featuring the Disney Princesses.  Tickets on sale now at Ticketek 13 28 49 or ticketek.com.au\disneyonice.

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