You have a passion for food and sourcing local ingredients - where do you seek inspiration? Inspiration, for me, comes from many places. Through travel and exploring different cultures–from meeting local farmers with beautiful products that you just want to use; to amazing restaurant meals you want to recreate at home.
How do you connect within your community? It’s a combination of both sourcing and sharing with others. My Instagram is 90% food posts, and the algorithm is now pretty much set to show me other food accounts. I also love word of mouth recommendations through friends, colleagues, etc
How does shopping local affect your life? I’ve found it’s best to be prepared, and be adaptable. Shopping with a list of ingredients allows you to be more conscious of your purchases, both in quality and quantity. Sometimes local ingredients can cost a little more, but you know you are getting fresh products that translate to better flavour. Not all ingredients can be found locally, but there is always a suitable substitution, which can lead to finding amazing and unexpected new ingredients.
Where is your favourite local go-to shop? St. Lawrence Market is my main go-to. It’s a one-stop shop, and you can locate hard to find items such as bottarga, cotija, and Asian or South American Spices not available at other shops.
What do you find intriguing about specific products, trends, and cultures? I find it intriguing no matter how far apart culturally we may be, there are so many similarities in food. It can bring so much emotion and take you right back to a specific place and time in your memory. On a trip to Rome as an adult, I had a lentil stew that tasted exactly like a mung bean stew from my childhood. The science behind food is magical to me; you can easily experience how crazy the science behind it can be. On a trip to Lyon, I tried a very strong St. Marcelin cheese on a baguette and was a little put off by the strong and sharp flavour. Another meal had the same cheese heated with some whole and crushed black peppercorn, and it mellowed out the strong cheese flavour. I almost cried. It was magic! Mind blown! I made sure to recreate it when I got home!
Who has influenced your love for food? My parents always made sure my whole family was fed, and fed well, and I learned to cook from them all. Growing up in the Philippines, my dad taught us to be open and to appreciate new food from all cultures - my love of sashimi comes from him. When we moved to Canada, my mom and step-dad both shared cooking duties, and made traditional food that reminded us of home. Everyone always got excited for family meals and parties, because they knew there would be good food, and plenty of it!