Do you remember my Vegan Lo Mein recipe that was part of my January Asian cooking challenge? To perfectly complete that recipe, I used an amazing vegan fish sauce created by Sylvia from Feasting at Home – one of my favorite food blogs out there. And because her blog is full of many other amazing recipes and her imagination never ceases to amaze me, I thought it will be a great idea to get to know her better.
This is the story behind this interview, where you will find many things about Sylvia – the creative cook behind Feasting at Home. I was curious about how she started her blog after successfully managing to run a vegetarian restaurant and a catering business, what are her favorite recipes, fruits and veggies and some of her most important pieces of advice for anyone that wants to change their diet or lifestyle. She was happy to respond to my questions and you can read everything about her in the interview below. Enjoy!
P.S. Want to read more interviews with my favorite bloggers? Check out Veggie Stories!
We know that you don’t actually follow any specific diet, so can you describe your eating habits?
I eat what brings me the most joy and pleasure. I try to eat fresh, plant-based meals most of the time because this makes me feel at my best and the most energized. But I don’t ever prohibit myself, label myself or overly-identify with any one way of eating. I like to try a wide variety of foods from different cultures and ethnicities ….I am very curious, so I try everything at least once.
When and how did you discover your passion for cooking?
I started cooking in highschool but never thought it would become my career. I just really liked to eat! My parents were both immigrants and we traveled a lot, so I was exposed to unique foods and flavors in the house.
From ethnic-inspired recipes to simple and fast daily meals, Feasting at Home shows us an incredible world where vegetarian and vegan recipes are so diverse and easily adaptable! What’s the story behind your blog and how it all started?
Before the blog, I had a successful catering business and before that, a successful vegetarian restaurant. I had been in the food business for 20 years… and I really loved it, but didn’t not love the stress it put on my body and how it consumed every moment of my life. I wanted to slow down, create, travel and experience new cuisines. The blog was a way for me to pivot out of the stressful part of my work and keep the parts I loved. Cooking, creating, photographing, exploring, learning.
What would you consider to be your greatest achievement since you started Feasting at Home?
I learned to LISTEN. It took a while for this to sink in….but my readers had been telling me all along what they needed and wanted and what would be most useful to them. The moment I started really listening and aligning myself with their needs, everything changed!
You’ve been in the food industry for 20 years and even had a vegetarian restaurant for 10 years! What are the most important things you learned along the way?
I’m still learning this…..service. Customer service, listening to your customer and giving them more than what they ask for. Delight them.
Balance. We create our own schedule. If I’m too busy, its because I’ve created my schedule this way. If you have your own business, you have to take responsibility for the life you have created, and know that you have the power to change this.
When you have your own business, you can choose who you work with. Surround yourself with positive people that inspire and uplift you. This will make work way more joyful.
KEEP LEARNING. Don’t worry about competitors, or being “successful” – focus on just getting really really good at what you do. Take a class, read books, broaden your horizons, practice, practice practice and just get better.
What are the top 3 pieces of advice you give everyone that wants to make a change and turn vegetarian or vegan?
1. Listen to your body, pay attention to what you eat and how it makes you feel. Our bodies are so different.
2. Cooking vegan is not hard, it just takes a little practice- just like anything. Put a little time into it, and the reward is you’ll end up being a much better cook! learning to adapt recipes can be such a fun and rewarding practice.
3. Start slow- perhaps start with one or two vegan meals a day for while ….like breakfast and lunch. Changing all your meals, all at once can be very overwhelming.
And lastly, try to eat seasonally!
Favorite fruit and favorite vegetable in the world?
Ripe, juicy organic strawberries and vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes …although tomatoes are technically a fruit too. 🙂