As a kid, I'd snack on leaves, flowers and berries especially those not commonly considered food.
Food and heritage have always been central to my life. My parents met in the UK after WW2 ; my father was a Polish soldier and my mother an Irish girl working in a bakery. After some years living in Australia with my sisters, they immigrated to a small Canadian city where I was born.
In their journey, my parents came in contact with the foods of many cultures, and they also had distinctly "peasant" experiences in their own youth. As a result, there was huge respect for ingredients, for foods in season. This was the 70s and the foods on our table were vastly different from those of other kids at school -- whose families were embracing more convenience foods.
Through my dad, I became fond of seasonal ingredients and I was a natural-born forager. My creative play included snacking on leaves, flowers and berries whether or not they were commonly considered food. Once I was living in Mexico, I realized how those habits, beliefs and attitudes were in step with those of the people of the pueblos.
When it came time for college, I went to design school, and became a jewelry designer, yet always draw to restaurant kitchens. So, after 15 years in design, in 2005, I traded the jewelry tools for a chef’s knife and put my focus on helping people get back to the family table and special diets for health recovery, with Taste Your Freedom Personal Chef Service.
Now, no matter where in the world I go, Mexico has transformed the way I interact with my environment through food.
My move to Mexico, in 2009, inspired even greater shifts and since 2010, I have travelled to many regions in the country, exploring markets, cooking, tasting and learning.
Although I’m an omnivore, i regard plant foods as the foundation of my diet. Focusing on fresh ingredients of Mexico’s gastronomy not simply as food, but as livelihoods of people and communities today offered me a window into a culture and a sense of belonging - to appreciate and be appreciated.
In my role as a chef and caterer I sought to inspire and challenge my clients to embrace the produce that was unfamiliar to them Now, no matter where in the world I go, Mexico has transformed the way I interact with my environment through food.
I created and self-published Frutas y Verduras, A Fresh Food Lover’s Guide to Mexico, in 2016 and later launched in-person experiences like tours and cooking classes. Even as an intrepid chef, I know firsthand that everyday eating in a foreign country isn’t simple.
Unfamiliar foods, and differences in language complicate things. Even while knowing that the mercado and interactions with local vendors over local foods is one of the very best ways to immerse ourselves in the culture, it’s a common desire to try to seek out foods and environments that are familiar and in keeping with our habits. We all do it!
Great class in Merida, plant-based hands-on cooking class. a wonderful day of touring the market!
Whether you live in Mexico, hope to someday, or even as a traveller, follow me in a deep dive into its plant foods from the smallest fruits to the bigger picture issues.
This will be an experience you can savor and one that will transform you from an observer to a participant in this country’s fascinating and vibrant culture.
Eating for Ourselves
Locally sourced food is fresher and foods that thrive in our local environment are better for our bodies. Eating the unfamiliar and seasonal plants grown nearby also creates the opportunity to savor new-found flavors and textures, delighting our palates and energizing us as we explore, learn and grow.
Eating for our Community
From growers, vendors, chefs, home cooks, to our own kitchens and mouths, Mexico shows us many times over, that what we eat is much more than just sustenance. In the simple act of choosing local produce we have a positive impact on the local economy and culture, not to mention the individuals and their families that we buy from!