Goodbye 2016 and New Year's Resolutions

There is something so comforting, but equally frightening about the beginning of a new year. Maybe is that amount of unknown and change that it entails, which makes all new beginnings so long-expected. I want 2017 to be for me everything that 2016 couldn't be: more daring, expansive and permissive with my dreams!

2016 has been a good year, because I got to work on an interesting food project for Nestle (to follow soon), I had a new solo exhibition in Romania, I have created cinemagraphs inspired by Miu Miu, Cecile Boccara and Miss Babacilu's products, but also Eiffel Tour, and Romania. I got to see what's looking like behind the scenes at Opera Bastille in Paris, worked on my Florilegium's new volume, I won the Award of Excellence from Communication Arts, I got married and had the rare opportunity to have my bridesmaid coming to my wedding all the way from the US to Romania, and worked on an extensive project proposal for SCAD that led to my next adventure to the US this January.

I am so thankful for all of this to have happened, but I feel that 2016 could have been more adventurous, surrounded by more open-minded people that know how to be professional in this modern age. I think that is such a rarity today (and it shouldn't be) to find individuals that don't toss out life's principles on humaneness, friendship and professionalism. Unfortunately, there are so many people that just choose to forget to be respectful, and choose instead to be cynical and ignorant. Thus, I feel to have been limited in my endeavors by some of these said individuals, that I would have hoped for to remember to be more humane.

However, I consider all disappointments to be strong triggers for something better that awaits to be reflected on. Else, what a new year would mean, if not a reflection on what has been?! All experiences are equally important and shape us with every year in a certain way. Hence, I want 2017 to allow me to express fully my potential, in an environment of like-minded people that know and appreciate life's principles, and care to make every life's moment better. I am looking with so much excitement to what my new artistic experience in the US will bring to me, and I feel so thankful for those so many people at SCAD that chose to believe in my potential again. May your 2017 be sparkling with all things good!

PS: Don't walk by this amazing Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Cake below, which I prepared for our New Year's Eve here in the Czech Republic. It's all the rage, and needs to be tried asap!


Chocolate-Pumpkin Layer Cake

Hello October! I finally get to come back here and share my thoughts, photographs and recipes with you. I had a wonderful summer with lots of challenging projects, so I have so many stories to share with you. First of, let's talk about this season. Fall is so enchanting with its crisp air, changing colors, nostalgia for the past, and flavorful produce! For me, pumpkin and walnuts equate to the indescribable beauty of fall, when the best produce is carefully harvest to comfort the cold winter that's coming ahead.

I feel particularly inspired by fall because I feel that it gives you the time to take stock of your surroundings much more than any other season. This particular beauty that I believe fall holds as its essence can be tasted and observed in this decadent chocolate-pumpkin cake recipe and in these photographs that brim with that elegance that fall brings along with it.

This is the right cake you need this fall, because it has the perfect ratio of spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. The cake is soft and the pumpkin flavor marries so well with the spices. The chocolate is just the right amount so that is doesn't overwhelm the flavors. It's really so extraordinary that with ingredients so simple such amazing flavors can be achieved. And if there is something timeless and romantic about fall, this cake must be!

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Artistic Reflections on Food and a Cheesecake Recipe

Everyday food can open up questions of memory, that nostalgia that makes us crave for something we've longed for, and its discourse and practice has changed a lot in the past years. Our relationship with food has changed, for some through the exploration of old recipes, for others through new eating practices, more organic or vegan and raw. For me is somewhere in between, interchanging my grand-ma's old-fashioned recipes of flavorful family-style meals with modern versions influenced by my travels, seasonal produce and my favorite cuisines.

A few months ago I created this cheesecake, as a family-inspired dessert, that's so perfect for celebrating. Each holiday, birthday or guest visit comes with good treats, and this recipe is pretty low on sugar and butter and gets topped with a good mixture of eggs and cream cheese. So, it's sort of a compromise on the classic cheesecake, but fully loaded with good flavors. The vanilla wafer crunch makes for such a great texture and the soft cheese filling just works beautifully. Just top it with your favorite fresh fruits and you're ready to dig in!

Cheesecake with Strawberries Gabriela Iancu Detail Cheesecake with Strawberries Gabriela Iancu
Cheesecake with Strawberries Gabriela Iancu Overhead