Awia at her community garden plot
Tell us a little about yourself ?
I am Awia Markey from Awia’s Kitchen I call myself a foodographer – a word I use to describe my combination of services: food writing, recipe creation, food reviews, food events, food photography, and art. I am also the author of SOULiCiOUS cookbook, written after touring around the USA to interview African American chefs and home cooks about America’s oldest cuisine – soul food.
Currently Iam working on a new cookbook that includes recipes that are full of feisty flavour but in low in sugar and salt. You can find recipes and read her weekly Pimp My Plate cafe reviews on her blog: www.awiaskitchenblog.wordpress.com
Strawberry and Chilli Jam recipe
When did you know you wanted to be a Foodographer?
I started my journey as a ‘foodographer’ last year. When people ask me what a foodographer is I explain that I use the term to describe my activities that all centre on food – food writing, food reviews, food photography, art, and recipe creation.
What is your favourite food memory?
My favourite food memory is eating lunch outdoors under palm trees at a roti hut in Grenada, an island in the West Indies. I ate a roti filled with curried chicken and potatoes ….so simple and so delicious.
Where do you get your inspiration when you cook, design and paint?
I see food as a passport to other cultures, and a way of bringing together people at the same table, to learn and share. The vibrant colours of ingredients and their flavours, continually inspire me.
Best piece of advice you would give an emerging artist/artisan?
Art is a wonderful way of expressing who we are and our unique view of the world. My advice would be to follow your own voice.
Best cooking tip for a young apprentice just starting out?
Eat a diverse variety of foods – try everything – and experiment with flavours in your own kitchen. And read lots of cookbooks and cooking blogs for inspiration.
Funniest kitchen incident?
When I was testing traditional soul food recipes for my cookbook SOULICIOUS, I cooked a pot of Chitlins. I’d eaten them in America but never cooked them myself. Chitlins are pig intestines and smell awful smell when you cook them. ‘Like sewage,’ was how my partner described them! I hadn’t realized it had wafted from my kitchen, all the way out to the foyer of our apartment building. I was asked never to cook them again, lol.
Who in the food world do you most admire?
I admire food activists like Jamie Oliver and Ron Finley – the ‘gangsta gardener’ – who try to educate people about issues of food justice, as well as how to eat a healthy diet.
Favourite foods to cook with?
I love cooking with flavour. Favourites include: nutmeg, chilli, ginger, and I’ve been using hibiscus flowers to make delicious summer drinks, and frozen ice blocks.
Do you have a favourite cook book to recommend?
Tough question! I own a lot of cookbooks but one of my favourites is Cafe Pasqual’s which features vibrant recipes from their cafe in Santa Fe. The café is named after the folk saint of Mexican and New Mexican kitchens and cooks, San Pasqual.
What do you think is the most challenging ingredient to work with?
Vinegar! There are so many styles, flavours, and uses of vinegar. White vinegar can be used to separate curds to make queso fresco (Mexican fresh cheese), or a good Balsamic can be drizzled over fresh ricotta to make a simple Italian dessert, or it can used as a glaze, or a salad dressing. Mostly I find it a challenge to work with as I don’t really like the flavour of vinegar.
What is going to be the next big thing in the food world?
I hope it will be Indian street food.
What do you do for fun?
One of my favourite things to do is to grab my camera and just head out the door. There’s always something to photograph in Sydney’s city, or even in your own backyard.
Tell us about your upcoming creative workshop at ArtSHINE ?
I’ve created my FRIDALICIOUS event to explore artist Frida Kahlo’s life through the colours, flavours, and lifestyle and creativity of Mexico.
There will be tasting plates of Mexican finger food, and glasses of Agua de Jamaica, a deliciously refreshing traditional hibiscus cordial.
You will learn about Frida Kahlo’s art, and then create your own Frida-inspired painting to take home – no art experience is required for this class.
FRIDIALICOUS is being held in ArtSHINE’s wonderful, light-filled venue.
Tickets are $89 pp and include tasting plates, canvas, and art materials.
Participants can choose to dress in a Frida-inspired way but I ask everyone to bring an art apron or old T-Shirt to protect their clothing when painting.
Places are limited, to create a more personal experience.
How did you come up with the concept for your workshop combine Art & Food?
At my previous Learn to Cook like Frida Kahlo cooking class one of the attendees suggested I add an art-craft element to the class, which I thought it was a great idea! I’m excited that that people will be able to create something unique and beautiful to take home with them.
What do you most love about your job?
I am excited to combine my passion for food, flavour, and art, and I hope to inspire people to try new flavours.
If you had just one wish, what would it be?
A bigger kitchen!
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