I have loved food since the very beginning. Unless it was gross.
Dad began my education in the kitchen when Mom said I wasn’t allowed to cook. My head was nearly level with the stove top, so she probably thought the house would end up in flames, but eventually caved and then started teaching me as well, after realizing that this wasn’t a flighty whim. It’s difficult to fit an entire stove into the back of a dusty closet along with abandoned ice skates, hockey equipment and soccer balls.
My first lesson was how to boil instant noodles. Mom was not happy about that. Since then, my skills have improved and to date, I’ve only had 3 kitchen fires, none of them ending in property damage. And things end up tasting pretty good! My cooking is probably one of the best things that ever resulted from a disagreement between my parents, who both deserve honourable mentions for putting up with countless messes and smiling through wacky creations.
I Heart Big Flavour was created in the winter of 2008. It was ugly and cold outside, I was snowed into my home, thinking of ways not to go stir-crazy, and was also going through a period of change. I was feeling the need for growth and trying to figure out what to do next in life, deciding to take baby steps and finally write about my food life in the summer of 2009.
I felt so connected, alive and happy when gardening vegetables and preserving foods, which gave my inner science geek many opportunities to rock out. It was exactly what I needed. This trickled into a hunger for learning more and became a bit of an obsession, leading to one day in September when I applied for professional culinary training. It dawned on me that I would eventually figure out how to do what I love and should get a head start already!
Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver was one of the most amazing places that I have ever been. While I could say that I chose to go there, instead it feels as though the chefs chose to welcome and teach me. It felt like home right away, our class was unbelievable, and I wouldn’t trade the experience of going there for anything. Northwest was another huge dose of what I was looking for and gave me the confidence to silence my fears, discover my strengths and go forth to pursue my dreams. There are about a hundred of them and they’re all related to edible things, in case you were wondering.
Throughout school, I somehow managed to continue posting entries and content every week. Struggles, triumphs, likes, dislikes, and lots of photos, mostly for myself to laugh at and for any friends and clients who wondered where the hell I had disappeared to. I didn’t think anyone would care to read it, and certainly didn’t expect for this to blossom into the learning tool that it has become! Friends, new culinary students, people in the food industry and random strangers have piped up with encouraging words and support, which is amazing! I’m grateful for every word of positive feedback, so thank you, everybody. It means a lot!
For a good while before school even started, food seemed to invade every conversation that I had. I’m always more than happy to pass knowledge and tips on to friends, clients and even strangers alike, who want to broaden their culinary prowess, or are just browsing for new ideas, but are not quite sure where to begin. It’s what keeps me motivated to post here, because my excitement for food lies in its potential for sharing (and it’s the perfect medium for all of my crazy ideas). Growing up in a household with two very different cultures allowed my family to experiment with new ingredients, styles of cooking, fusion foods, and now-popular hidden veggies, which my poor mum had to enlist (I, however, liked Brussels sprouts and broccoli from the get-go).
I cook things from scratch as much as possible. It’s important to know what’s for dinner, there’s an opportunity to hone your skills or test out new gadgets, going out becomes more of a treat, it’s affordable, you can hack a recipe to fit your preferences, and a pastry chef is very unlikely to let you waltz into the kitchen and lick chocolate mousse from a spatula. The Department of Health probably frowns upon that kind of thing.
By reading along with me here, you will gain the confidence and empowerment to throw together meals that are all about you! Now is the perfect time to learn, because being busy, being tired, being stressed, and being broke are all good reasons to learn about your fuel and how to make it work for you, and fast, not the other way around.
I am still learning, and plan to continue until I’m dead. There are so many ideas and ingredients and multiple ways to put them together! Some of my recipes (and especially non-recipe cooking) are a result of daydreaming and often have to be tinkered with until they’re perfected. And lucky reader, you get to learn how to improve what actually was made by reading my notes! Following these adventures will definitely pay off.
In case the name of this blog hasn’t been a good enough hint, I adore yummy things that pack a tasty punch. Life is too short for bland food! A lot of my ideas are traditional, comfort, or ethnic dishes with a healthy twist or unusual composition, fun sauces and dips with tons of uses, or straight-up decadent desserts. I believe in having my cake, eating it too, and maybe having another forkful after that. Lately I’ve been experimenting more and more in vegetarian and vegan cooking, learning about raw foods, and am trying to figure out some easy and delish gluten-free recipes, so look around! There’ll be something for everybody here.
Welcome to my kitchen!
DISCLAIMER: This site is not for the weak of taste. I love bold flavours and bright food with fun presentation. The fresher and more pungent the ingredients (heaps of garlic, rich chocolate, stinky cheeses, aromatic oils), the better to wake up your senses. Anything made here should be like a good issue about your favorite comic book hero: Colourful (unless you picked Batman…), strong, and maybe even good-looking, or at least well-presented. Remember not to let your back develop a hunch in order to get a closer view of your fabulous finished product.