One can not think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.
/ virginia woolf /
Once in a Lifetime...
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 (also known as Paris!). I have a bi-monthly column in The Globe and Mail where I share recipes and stories alongside images that I style and photograph.
I absolutely love exploring the rich and diverse culinary history this country has to offer by traveling and discovering traditional French recipes and ingredients. On the weekends, you will likely find me relaxing and cooking at home, seeking out the best asian restaurants in Paris, or wandering a local market in search of all things fresh and seasonal.
Until mid-2017, I could regularly be found cooking and creating new eats from behind the stove in the tiny open kitchen at Pas de Loup. Since then, I have been devoting my time to refocusing and exploring...which basically means eating all the things and subsequently scheming up all the many different possibilities for what's next!
Most recently, this so-called 'eating and scheming' approach has managed to evolve into some pretty cool projects. To start, this past September I found myself as a co-chef-in-residency at Chardon restaurant in Arles, France alongside my dear friend, chef Melanie Witt, who flew all the way from Vancouver to join me! Following that, I was spent a month collaborating with chef Harry Cummins and his partner, sommeliere Laura Vidal, on a popup restaurant in Singapore under the umbrella of their touring company called The Paris Popup. After that, I ventured out on a quick 10-day hop around Vietnam with my other good friend, and renowned food photographer, Joann Pai which practically has brought me right up to Christmas. For the remainder of 2018, I am looking forward to spending some time with family over the holidays in Brittany, but it won't be long before I will plant my feet back down again in Paris in preparation for the New Year.
CONTINUE READING BELOW...
How did I get here?
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 considering I completed a bachelor's degree in Fashion Design first.
It actually wasn't even until a couple years into the daily office grind as a women's running designer at lululemon that I finally started to accept that I was spending way more of my time designing recipes than I was designing clothing. 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!
I attended the professional culinary program at the Northwest Culinary Academy in Vancouver because Chef Tony seemed like one of the most authentic people I had ever met and because their 4-month intensive program was everything a young cook could ever need to confidently get started. There I learned the basics, the history of cooking as an art and as a profession and the techniques I needed to forge my way into the industry. From there, the trajectory has only been up; suffice to say I owe the foundation of my career to the experience I gained during my time there.
For a few years after that, I cooked my way around Vancouver before eventually deciding on a whim to buy a one-way ticket and move to Paris. I had never lived anywhere outside of Vancouver, so you better believe it was scary! 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 into the unknown (Paris! oui! oui!). I have been here for 3 years now, and although I miss my native home and family dearly, I do not regret moving, not for a single minute.
The road to becoming a chef isn't an easy one, but it certainly is the life I have chosen. I'd be lying if I told you that there haven't been struggles or that I have never cried from the frustration and intense stress this job inevitably brings along with it, 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 those cuts can be!
It is the #lifeofacook for me and no other. I do hope you'll follow along!
WANNA KNOW WHERE I'VE WORKED?
How do I work this?
I have worked with the following people and they have taught me wonderful things:
chef owner of fable
Founder Built for this baby, Holistic nutritionist and classically trained chef
haan palcu chang
chef owner of mama flo's
CHEF OWNER OF THE PARIS POPUP