Vancouver-born chef à Paris.
Eating all the things, drinking all the wines.
Living my best life!
"And you may ask yourself, where does this highway go to?"
Coucou, c'est moi Lina! I am a professional cook and native Vancouverite who lives and works in the big, gritty and beautifully charming City of Light. You will find me most nights of the week, cooking and creating new eats in front of the stove at Pas de Loup in the 11e arrondissement.
Chapter 1: Vancouver.
Although I grew up surrounded by beautiful fresh food, being fed gloriously delicious meals cooked by my naturally culinarily inclined parents and grandparents, I didn't always know that all things kitchen would eventually become my chosen profession. In fact, some would say I started out a little late in the game compared to most of my colleagues in professional kitchens these days. Although I am in no way geriatric, being a good 7-10 years older than most of the people I work with has always kept me on my toes, sometimes even forcing me to learn and mature a lot faster than some of my peers.
Originally a design school graduate and ex-lululemon designer, I made the best choice of my life the day I decided to put my tape measure and sewing machine aside in favour of a crisp white apron and a bag full of gloriously sharp knives.
The road to becoming a professional cook isn't always an easy one, but it certainly is the life I have chosen. The occasional (read: frequent) tears after being yelled at by a chef, the tired body (for which there is not much relief), the ridiculously long hours, the notoriously bad pay, not to mention the serious lack of holidays, well, it really isn't for everyone. Trust me when I say that there are still times when I question it myself as I imagine we all have at some point. But the fact of the matter is, I wouldn't trade all the endless cuts on my fingers for any other life - no matter how truly endless and annoying they really are!
It is the life of a cook for me. And no other.
Chapter 2: Paris.
"Well...How did I get here?"
Sometimes life throws you a curveball. Things fall apart and we are left to build ourselves back up again. In early 2014, I found myself at such a crossroad. It was difficult to know exactly what to do next. Somewhere along the way, although I was moving forward and getting interesting opportunities in my life and in the kitchen, I felt like I had lost track of myself and wasn't really sure anymore how to get back to the real me.
In search of answers, I spent an afternoon digging deep with a dear friend doing some goal setting and life visioning - something I knew lots about from the time I spent working at lululemon, but had never really put much stock into developing much further for myself. Together, she and I worked through some exercises that gave me a chance to take some time outside of my present mindset and situation (which to be completely honest was fairly sad, and I'll admit, not very optimistic).
You see, my little universe and world as I had known it, seemed to be melting away around me. My heart and spirit were broken and I could barely see a few steps in front of my own two feet. But with a little thoughtfulness and a little work, my eyes opened to some new possibilities and a vision of where I could potentially take my life 5-10 years or so down the line. It was inspiring.
Still, the immediate future seemed uncertain and fairly open. So, on whim, having never lived anywhere outside of Vancouver in my entire life, I took the plunge and decided to buy a one-way ticket to Paris! I sold all of my things (which, I believed at the time, made up a huge part of my identity and were very hard to part with), packed my bags (there were two, and they were heavy!) and set off on a journey in to the unknown (Paris! oui! oui!).
And now, here I am! Moving, shaking, creating and living the very best life I could have ever imagined for myself. I can't honestly tell you exactly where this is all going to end up, but I hope you will follow along...