“Food is our common ground – a universal experience.” –James Beard
I feel as though I have always had a deep-rooted connection to food and the earth, instilled in me by my family and the beautiful nature I was surrounded by growing up in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Cooking at home and enjoying food with others were huge parts of my upbringing, and ones that I am more thankful for each day. My most cherished memories almost always involve food. I’m sure if you take a moment to sit and reflect, you would realize that many of your most treasured moments do as well.
My love of food began at an early age, helping my mom bake our family’s favourite super chocolate chip cookies, picking fresh raspberries, strawberries, green beans, and snap peas out of my grandma Marian’s garden, and sitting down at the table to family dinner every night. As a child, I spent many early mornings fishing with my dad, helped him make his famous homemade hamburgers for our summer BBQ’s, and sampled his experimental Sunday brunch oatmeal recipes. For our birthday’s every year, my siblings and I would get our choice of whatever special meal we wanted, and it was tradition that our mom would make each of us a creative homemade birthday cake for our party (a responsibility that I have now taken on in the family). I watched my mother and grandmother as they canned jars of homemade jellies and jams, and made the most delicious pickled beets, carrots, and green tomatoes. My mom would round us kids up to walk the neighbourhood, picking ice cream pails full of wild saskatoon berries and crabapples for eating, baking, and preserving. I always eagerly anticipated my grandma Simone’s holiday feasts and homemade pies (especially the lemon meringue!) whenever our large extended family got together, and these feasts are still going strong today as family potlucks. I would look forward to a baking date every Christmas with my Aunt Debbie, not only learning how to measure and mix, but how to spread joy with homemade treats for my loved ones. I grew up in an incredibly diverse community and have had the amazing opportunity to be exposed to cuisines of the world, starting by exploring what was in everyone’s lunch boxes in elementary school. These are all the seeds that were planted in my youth, that grew into my purpose in life as a teacher and a cook.
In 2013 I graduated from the University of Alberta with my B.Ed, specializing in Food Studies, and landed my dream job as a full-time middle school and senior high school Foods teacher. In 2016 I decided to pursue my interests in holistic nutrition and health, and became a certified Culinary Nutrition Expert through the Academy of Culinary Nutrition. When I am not teaching in school, I enjoy teaching private and community cooking classes, workshops, and demonstrations in Fort McMurray, Alberta.
The kitchen is where my creativity thrives! I love creating recipes and sharing my enthusiasm for food with all my students, regardless of age or experience. My mission is to foster a greater appreciation for home cooking so that all people can learn the basic skills to prepare delicious, nutritious food with care. I am passionate about empowering people to take charge of their own health, starting right in their kitchens. I believe that food is a powerful means of healing and cultivating connection with our own bodies, the earth, and each other.
My other passion in life is yoga, and I am a CYA-accredited 500-hour Registered Yoga Teacher. The practice of yoga has been an instrumental part of my life and my health journey. It has helped me to develop body awareness and acceptance, connect to my spirituality, and become a stronger, more authentic teacher. The teachings of yoga call us to unite with all beings, in much the same way that food innately unifies and connects us. I am blessed to be part of an amazing yoga community and teach weekly restorative yoga classes at Higher Health Yoga & Wellness.