What was your childhood comfort food?
My childhood comfort food would be raspberry pie (my grandma and mom make the best). It brings me back home and we always have it when family is together. It reminds me of picking berries in my grandmother's garden and is my first memory of how good food can be when it's grown with loving hands.
While I haven't yet made a dish to reflect my comfort food, I would love to create more delicious vegan desserts in the future.
How do you maintain a balance between cooking comfort food and innovative food? Which do you prefer?
I think it's all about knowing your audience and elevating dishes when appropriate. I love innovative food and this keeps your creativity and motivation going.
On the other hand, comfort foods are perfect just the way they are and that's usually what I'm eating when I'm done with a shift, even better when I don't have to cook them myself.
What is your favourite food to cook for yourself vs in a restaurant?
I love cooking lasagna at home: it's a big hearty meal, really easy and always good. If I'm cooking in a restaurant, I really enjoy baking and making desserts.
What is your favorite food/dish to order at a restaurant?
I love tempura veggies or good fried Brussels sprouts, or really nice mushroom dumplings - there are lots of delicious plant-forward dishes to try.
Now, about EPIC and Harvest:
If you had to describe the Harvest menu's flavor profile in three words, what would they be?
Sweet, Nutty, Flavourful
What flavors and ingredients do you aim to highlight?
I hope to highlight the freshness of local produce, and truly showcase what Edmonton and Alberta have to offer.
What are the cultural or regional influences reflected in these dishes?
Its mainly North American cuisine for the moment, but my labneh dish (caramelized onion tahini labneh) is inspired by Middle Eastern flavors. I would love to expand my menu and add more Middle Eastern, Japanese and Indian influences.
If you could add one more dish to the menu, which would it be?
One dish I would love to add is a vegan carbonara. Transform this comfort food staple into a plant-based dish.
I'm going to add more dishes on my menu, focusing on entrees, and I'm excited to add on more vegan desserts and sorbets. I'm looking forward to develop some vegan cheeses to include in my offering.