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Archive for the ‘moi’ Category

I was plain chuffed (a phrase I feel my old writer L could’ve penned herself) when Mary Luz Mejia invited me to hear internationally acclaimed food blogger Clotilde Dusoulier speak at an event called “Eating Words: The Art of Food Blogging” last week.

While the name did not immediately resonate, Clotilde’s blog Chocolate & Zucchini was instantly familiar, as I’ve been a reader & subscriber for years! Visiting from Paris & spending two weeks in Stratford and Toronto, she made a concerted effort to visit George Brown College for this event.

Mary Luz, for those who may not be aware is a food writer, researcher, food TV producer/director and “one of Toronto’s most dedicated and passionate food journalists”. Isn’t that a lovely summation? My goal? Striving to be “one of Toronto’s most dedicated and passionate restaurant-enthusiasts” ;)

While having never met in person, Mary Luz tweets about all things food (@MaryLuzonFood), and I – much to the exasperation & teasing of M&S – also tweet incessantly about food (@_KimLe). Ah, the little windows that open up through Twitter.

Thursday came with eager anticipation. What a geek I am. Pourquoi? Simply to be in the presence of other like-minded, food-crazed strangers. Friends, who bless their hearts, tolerate it with infinite patience, are relieved to have me channel my blatherings elsewhere for a night.

Clotilde, with her lovely French accent, was here to give us a glimpse of her success (but not limited to) as a food blogger. How it all began, personal experiences and tips for writing. Born & raised in Paris, into a family of engineers (like me!), she created her blog in 2003 as an outlet to express her obsessive desire to talk about food (always) and to extend the conversation beyond the dinner table (24/7 if possible). It became a space she called her own (true), and a space that provided her tremendous joy (yes)…from readers’ reactions to the latest fervent dialogue over the best places to try in Toronto (overwhelmingly so).

{Sidebar I}: Isn’t it funny how you grasp onto similarities & identify with those whom you admire?

{Sidebar II}: Writing this from Montreal. Surrounded by family who speak French beautifully. Meeting Clotilde. Reading “The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry” – a true story of a journalist who pursues a lifelong dream to study at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. All serve to heighten ever-long desire to learn French. Someone…anyone…wave a linguistics wand & bestow this magical language upon me, s’il vous plaît.

Interesting note was that Clotilde’s 10 tips to a successful food blog could effectively be applied to ANY blog. From finding a focus & setting yourself apart to giving credit where credit is due, these weren’t food-specific or necessarily revelations, but simply guiding stars (and made richer with her stories). A warm & vibrant woman – she exuded a natural passion that was infectious, and for me, stirred up a renewed enthusiasm & commitment to writing. Merci Clotilde for sharing your stories & insights. And thank you Mary Luz for the invitation. How did you know this was just the thing to nudge me into action again? ;)

À bientôt!
kox

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We’ve waited a long time. A very long time. YEARS. And pinch me hard, it’s finally here.

A trip to the MOTHERLAND.

30+ years for our parents. And never for me & the bro. Yes. Finally.

A little exhausted from the insanity of trying to go on vacation; it’s with sleep-deprived excitement that I write this post. I haven’t finished packing and mind has been compiling endless TO DO lists for the past few days. But, will any of that matter in 24hrs? No. It’ll be glorious.

3 weeks in VIETNAM.

Itinerary: Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), My Tho, Can Tho, MeKong, Mui Ne, Hue, Hoi An, Tam Coc, Ha Long Bay, Hanoi.

You recognize some, yes? Of course you do. And I kinda love that you’ll likely not recognize others. I certainly didn’t. And that was important for us; we couldn’t simply play tourists. I don’t need to explain why, you get it.

Bro and I will be experiencing a culture that I hope will feel familiar, whilst at the same time, appreciating the fact that we’ll be surrounded by history, traditions, nuances etc. completely new to us. What struck me this eve: in anticipation of this trip, I could vividly imagine what it’d be like to eat a steaming bowl of pho on the streets…but truly couldn’t fathom what it’d be like to explore the neighbourhoods where our parents grew up.

Very, very special.

I’ll be taking my beautiful leather-bound journal, my camera, and Ooo yes, those tastebuds. M has asked that I do a photo journal. Fab idea. With that, S cheekily requested I include some nice scenic shots, to balance the plethora of food shots. Oui, certainly. Up for that challenge.

Btw, do you like my new masthead? Thought it’d be fitting…thx A.

Ok, last note before bed.

Mission: Eat 1 bowl of pho every day for the next 21 days.

SO. EXCITED.

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Sometimes, my hard little heart bursts with so much love for my mother.

Birthday was last last week. Half-expected we’d go out for dinner. More than half-hoped it was home-cooking. Train’d it back into the ‘ville, walked through the front door, stopped… and smiled.

Mama was cooking.

And cooking up a storm! Slaving over the stove from the minute she had gotten home…deliciousness wafting through the house…table set as if we were entertaining, bottle of wine breathing… her little 5″1 (if that) frame practically jumping with excitement. And my father beaming b/c he had actually kept the secret. I know, right? The sweetest.

Menu for the eve:

  • tofu & egg drop soup
  • lobster w. fresh ginger
  • king oyster mushrooms & scallions
  • basa fillets, vietnamese-styles
  • asian greens with garlic & mushrooms

Seriously delicious & made with love. The BEST combination. Don’t worry bro, I’m sure you’ll get the same treatment next week.

Sadly, didn’t have my camera. Snapped w. iPhone – Hipstamatic.

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Our happy place

If you’re having a bad day, just look at this pic. It may help.

Or you may just need a stiff drink.

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CampO-18

Camp Organic.

Think of the Apprentice, on steroids.

4 offices. 3 days. 7 sins. 7 teams. All disciplines. Different personalities. Intense-ness x 10.

Storytelling exercises, interviewing techniques, ideation sessions… to prep us for the big one.

36 hours to develop and pitch a new business.

Each team had a ‘persona’ to target. And we, team Greed, had the ‘Douchebags’. I kid you not, written on the piece of paper.

With that, to my dearly respected friends whom I called – pls don’t be offended.
I’ll explain, I promise. Alternatively, I’ll grovel at your feet and buy you a round (or five)
.

So, our initial task was to extract insights from our personas.  Purpose: demonstrate compelling customer empathy. Support our pitch with juicy material. Tell a great story.

Ok, but where does one find such deep & irresistible insights?

V-E-G-A-S!

From complete strangers.

On the streets. In the bars. At the Bellagio. At Wynn’s buffet. At the Palms.

Why, of course. Cue heart palpitations.

Time to grovel. We quickly realized that this term was presumptuous, (slightly) judgmental and our men didn’t fit the profile as described. Our men weren’t douchebags! Our men were ambitious, purposeful, enterprising, successful, competitive, self-motivated etc. And we were barely scratching the surface.

So many layers. So complex. Our “Eric with a C”.

p.s – Guys, I KNEW all of this before I called you…purely validation research.

At this point, I’ll stop here. Would hate to spoil anything for the next lucky souls ;)

For me, it was an exhaustingly-fantastic experience. 9hrs of sleep over 3 days exhausting. Driven to consume first-ever Red Bull exhausting. 2.5 days to get over jet-lag exhausting. Worth it? Absolutely. Professionally & personally, we were challenged. In ways we had never been before. Tempted to do the Vancouver-mush, but will save for another time. Those who participated in the previous 17 will understand. Agree or disagree, it’s an experience.

And if I could show one pic, it would be this one (thanks U).

team greed's incoherently brilliant ideas

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V-day at O

Beautiful red roses delivered anonymously… to our secret admirer, you made us (M,S,K) feel so special. Thank you!

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winter nights

Why go out when you can do this? 

chocolate chip cookies & Mondavi

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