Confused by my title? Don’t be 🙂 This is simply the second in my Nyam series 🙂 For those who are newer to this blog, Nyam was a series I started last year where I interview the creators of food blogs that capture my imagination and appetite 🙂 My first interview was with fellow Trini blogger Chennette. This time I shifted my gaze to the far north, Vancouver Canada to be exact. Canada is a country that I have never been to but have always been curious about, having had friends from there, and of course being Trini I know more than my share of locals who have migrated there.
Kslobodian a.k.a Kimberley is a Canadian blogger and as a graduate of an actual culinary program I of course envy her immensely 😉 Enjoy our little tete-a-tete 😀
1. What is the above picture of, and why do you feel it represents you accurately?
Who looks happier, the person sitting at the desk, or the one who has just made a bunch of chocolates? I am very glad that I left my administrative job to pursue a different career path and am much happier focusing on food.
2. Describe your foodie evolution. When (and how) did you become interested in cooking and food culture?
Food was a major part of my childhood. Everyone in my family likes to cook and gatherings focused around fresh and plentiful homemade items. As a little kid, I remember feeling shy when I would take lunch to school because mine was always so big! My mom would literally pack me a picnic every time. Despite feeling that way, I savored everything. As I got older, I embraced the fact that I loved to eat delicious food and am not at all shy about eating and enjoying myself.
Exploring restaurants in my late teens and trying to replicate dishes in my own kitchen was a fun challenge for me. I would be delighted when I had the chance to entertain family and friends. Even though some dinner parties were stressful, due to elaborate menus, they always came together and were worth it. I loved operating my home-based chocolate business too. After working a full day at the office, I would go home and start making chocolates. I was always amazed at how quickly the chocolate-making hours went by. It never felt like “work”.
Traveling has influenced my taste buds the most. No matter where I go, how extremely different one culture is from another, I feel I can become connected to it through food. It is a wonderful and personal thing to share with loved ones and with strangers. I am often more interested in local markets and eating food with locals than I am about seeing museums and monuments when I travel.
It finally clicked a few years back that my career path should include food. Sweet or savory, food has always brought me joy. Whether I cook for family and friends, smother them with chocolate, or travel the world tasting and learning about different cuisines, I get tremendous pleasure out of it.
3. Although I only know a few Canadian food bloggers I’ve noticed that as a group you seem noticeably quieter on ‘Canadian’ as a culinary/cultural identity than many bloggers from other countries. Why do you think this is? And, what are your top three favorite ‘quintessentially Canadian’ dishes?
I think it is difficult to have one identity because Canada is known for its cultural diversity, which has an amazing impact on what is available. For example, the Ukrainian mainstays I grew up with were perogies, cabbage rolls, and kielbasa, while my husband would revel in the dishes his mother brought with her from South America. Most of my friends came from different backgrounds too, so Canadians are definitely spoiled with the smorgasbord of choices available to us.
In Canada, specialty foods vary from region to region, and I’m still learning about the ingredients and artisan products that are available around the country. Popular foods in Canada range from fresh lobster in Nova Scotia, poutine and maple syrup in Quebec, salmon from the pacific, and wild game from the across the country. Wines from the Okanagan are world class and vineyards are popping up all over interior BC. Long ago, family vacations would include fruit picking, so I can’t wait to revisit the Okanagan this summer and do the same.
4. What would you say are the top 3 lessons you’ve gained from formal culinary training?
Keep an open mind. Even though I trained in 2 different schools, all Chefs have different approaches and techniques. One method is not ‘the only’ method. Absorb everything you learn and apply what works for you.
For me, personally, I had a bit of an illusion that I would automatically open my own business. Not to say it can’t be done, but formal training helps you to realize the challenges and complexities of undertaking such a task. Everyone in the business needs to be involved for the right reasons and that team can be difficult to find. Nobody is going to love your business as much as you do, unless you give them incentive to.
You can never learn it all but master what you do.
5. Do you have any advice to others about how to choose a culinary school/program? What to look out for, etc.?
I have written a couple of posts regarding my experience in choosing a culinary and pastry school:
My main piece of advice is to job shadow people in the industry. If your goal is to open a café or a high-end bed and breakfast, find the one you love and visit it. Talk to the owner and their employees to find out what it is really like to run that kind of establishment. If you think you want to work in a restaurant, find the one you admire and ask to observe. There is nothing more powerful than talking to someone who is doing it and take notes about what they do well and what they don’t.
That concluded my little Nyam session with Kslobodian I hope you all enjoyed it 🙂 Now go visit her and tell her TriniGourmet sent ya 😆