Born and raised in the suburbs of Northern Virginia, Idiscovered my artistic flair at the tender age of three, when I turned my pieces of bread into mini sculptures. As I grew, so did my passion for art, but it wasn’t just my creativity that flourished – my appetite for food also grew to legendary proportions. While other kids doodled stick figures, I was sewing images of delicious burgers with yarn (see my “HAMBERGER” masterpiece below).
My journey took a cheesesteak-flavored detour to Philadelphia, where I fell head over heels for the city’s history, art scene, and most importantly, its cheesesteaks…Also where I met my husband too! Living in Philly, I was surrounded by amazing Italian, Polish, Puerto Rican, and Pennsylvania Dutch/German communities and their culture. They had heavy influences in the cuisines at many restaurants scattered throughout the city. I got a taste for what “real” pierogies were like and how incredible German-style potato salads are.
During this time in my cooking journey, I learned a lot of substitutes and shortcuts in cooking. There were certain ingredients in my favorite dishes I grew up with that weren’t always available at nearby stores where I lived, so I had to find the best subtitutes and adjust recipes. I learned non-traditional ways of making things to cut down on time and also due to unavailable ingredients, some of which is shared on this site. From this, I also did a lot of experimenting with different ingredients in general, like making a savory chocolate pasta. I lived in Philadelphia for about 8 years of my young professional life before moving back to my home state to raise a family.