About Me

I’m a food-lover who was born and raised in Vancouver BC. For career reasons, I moved to Calgary in 2003 where I lived for eight years.

I received one of my life’s biggest lessons in the beginning of my Calgary years – food cultures vary greatly from city to city AND my food habits weren’t the norm. I had taken for granted growing up in Vancouver the bounty of fresh local produce, Chinese and Japanese restaurants, and fresh seafood. Geographically, I understood the difference in availability of seafood and farms but I was very disappointed Calgary didn’t have quite as much offering in ethnic foods as I was accustomed.

During my eight years in Calgary, the city grew and diversified in its population. Along with that growth the food scene also grew and my palate with it. I established a favourite restaurants list to meet the various on-sets of cravings (yes even very fresh sushi). I developed great relationships with grocers and vendors at various farmers’ markets. I knew where I liked to shop for what food item and somewhere along the way I became that person in the office who everyone turned to for suggestions on where to buy food or where to eat both locally and before they went traveling.

I recently moved to Edmonton and am facing another journey in re-establishing food routines and relationships. I found that there wasn’t as much conversation in this city about restaurants or food vendors as in Calgary or Vancouver… or maybe I wasn’t meeting the right people. Searching for restaurants that demonstrated an integrity and passion for food was one thing but even more difficult was my search for a reliable provider of natural and organic food products, a provider who sourced locally whenever possible and who could introduce me to new emerging brands or producers. I’ve been asking around and the answers are generally Superstore or Planet Organic.

I created this blog to share my food adventures and to start the conversation about finding and eating delicious foods that are full of integrity. Sharing food is sharing life.

“… having good food in your life makes your life better. It makes your family happier and your time with your friends more enjoyable.” (Adam Rapoport, Editor-in-Chief Bon Appetit Magazine)

When I’m not eating or doing some other form of food related activity:
For 8-9 hours a day I am a Corporate Trainer in the area of Leadership and Employee Development. Twice a week I practice Vinyasa and Hatha yoga. I also love watching my TV shows, cheering on the Vancouver Canucks, and hanging out with my step dog.

Earliest memory of a food obsession:
Throughout my childhood I loved soft boiled eggs and tuna casserole made with Cream of Mushroom Soup. My parents probably made the casserole at least once a week for me. Even my cooking-challenged mom couldn’t screw this up, although she tried. On more than one occasion she would add her flair – cut up hot dog sausages, spam, soy sauce… and it still tasted fine to me.

But the earliest memory I have of trying a dish and falling in love immediately was the Hong Kong style Club Spaghetti. I was probably 8 or 9 years old and was having lunch with my dad at Goldstone Bakery in Vancouver. I’m sure my dad ordered this dish thinking it was a safe option that I would like since I liked pizza and Kraft Dinner… little did he know this would start a 6-7 year obsession where it became the ONLY dish I ordered when we went for lunch with my grandparents.  Club Spaghetti is in a tomato sauce but the HK style twist is that it includes all sorts of frozen mixed vegetables (i.e. carrots, corn, peas), assorted meat scraps (i.e. thin strips of ham, chicken, pork, or beef), and topped off with a fried egg. I always fought for the portion with the egg because even at a young age, I appreciated how the runny yolk made the whole dish creamier and richer.

Comfort foods:

  • Pasta (any kind)
  • Congee with Pork, Century Egg, and Dried Oysters (congee is to the Chinese as Chicken Soup is to North Americans

Things that are always in my fridge:
Tomatoes, Yogurt, Eggs, Cheese, Basil, Avocados, Zucchini

Things that are always in my pantry:
Chicken Broth, Tuna, Packages of Curry Mixes, and Lots of Spices

Favourite food shows:
No Reservations, Best Thing I Ever Ate, & Top Chef

Best meal while traveling*:
Dinner at Alan Wong’s on King Street in Honolulu. This meal was 2 years ago but I still remember what we ate:

Starters:

  • Chinatown Roast Duck Nachos and Chili
  • Poki-Pines
  • Mini Loco Mocos

Entrees:

  • Ginger Crusted Onaga
  • Surf and Turf  (beef tenderloin and sweet crab)

*Close runner-ups: Morimoto’s in NYC, Ono’s in Honolulu

Best meal in a local city:
A 9 course tasting at Corso 32 (Edmonton)
My going-away dinner at Charcut (Calgary)

Favourite food book:
Momofuku Chef David Chang’s cookbook – the only cookbook I’ve read from beginning to end… I love his bad boy chef style. I also own 3 copies of this book (and no I didn’t buy any of them)

Favourite magazine:
Clean Eating Magazine

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Categories: ME

7 Comments on “About Me”

  1. Janine
    July 26, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

    Carmen this is fantastic! Congratulations on the site…
    After your New York trip I was thinking you needed to be on the food network…who knows, maybe one day I will say I knew her when… :0)

    • July 26, 2011 at 11:34 pm #

      Awww thanks for the kind words Janine. Started this to help me transition in my move to Edmonton but having a great time creating the blog and have started to see a vision for where I’d like to take this and it’s definitely exciting. Hope you and the boys are doing well.

  2. David Dawkins
    August 2, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

    Just breezing through. Have checked out… http://www.eatlocalfirst.com/home.php

    • August 2, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

      Hi David – thanks for checking out my blog and for the link. I’m slowly making my way through the listing of producers, was definitely a great resource moving here.

  3. August 6, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

    Hi Carmen, love your blog! I moved to Calgary a year ago and started writing blog posts about my visits to Calgary restaurants. Totally agree with you that food cultures vary geographically. Having lived in big cities like Vancouver, NYC and Taipei, I was quite disappointed at first with what I could find in Calgary. But slowly, I’m adjusting to it. Definitely would like your suggestions on where to dine 🙂

    • August 6, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

      Hey Cat, thanks for the comment. Over the past 12 years I’ve really come to love the Calgary food community, it’s taken a bit of time but over the past 5-6 years we’re seeing lots of innovation in this city. If you’re on Twitter or Instagram, follow me @foodkarmablog Always love sharing info and dining experiences.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Summer Stuffed Tomatoes | foodkarma - July 18, 2011

    […] Stuffed Tomatoes Posted on July 18, 2011 by foodkarma If you’ve read my blurb in About Me, you would know that I always have tomatoes and my favourite tomatoes are from Gull Valley […]

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