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Carol Yamaguchi


As a freelance food writer, I am fascinated with global ingredients and their cultural origins. I believe that experiencing nationalities and religions through food is the best way to become globally aware.

My adventurous parents are responsible for this interest in multicultural cuisine. Their married life began in Sri Lanka; so at a very early age, I developed a love for fragrant curries, spices, and condiments. After two years of colonial lifestyle and the birth of my brother, my parents moved to Rome, Italy, where I was born and christened with a love of all things Italian, including pasta, pizza, and panna cotta. Two years passed languidly by until my family was abruptly transferred to Toledo, Ohio where my younger sister was born. Every Saturday night my parents would pack us all into their pale green Chevy Fairlane and introduce us to the delights of Hungarian hot dogs at Tony Packo's, a traditional family establishment since 1932.

The following year we moved to Switzerland where I discovered the comfort of chocolate and snitzel with all its variations of flavour. Five years later we were back in Rome to again indulge in 'la dolce vita' and the Via Veneto. After a few more impressionable years of exquisite European cuisine, I was on my way to sunny California to experience the casual lifestyle of beach and barbecue culture. Then at the age of twelve, I found myself in culinary shock as we moved to England and were exposed to the horrors of overcooked vegetables, tough Sunday roasts, and a variety of dubious looking desserts with names like 'spotted dick' and 'rock cakes'.

Thankfully after twelve months, we were quickly transferred to Hong Kong, where we could savour the joys of Asian cuisine. Dim Sum was introduced into my vocabulary and became a weekly event. During our stay in Hong Kong, we traveled extensively throughout nearby Asia: in Thailand we experienced swallow's nest soup, shark's fin and turtle; in Pakistan we caught crabs off a dhow at sunset and ate them freshly cooked on board; in Turkey we feasted on tender lamb sis kebab, rice pilaf, and honey drenched baklava. It was with great sadness that we left Hong Kong; however I happily adapted once again to the barbecue cuisine and Hispanic influences of California. By the age of sixteen, I arrived in Canada with a multi-layered culinary history and an appetite for multicultural fusion food.

Now years later, I am married to a gourmet food trader and restaurateur from Japan. Because of this Japanese connection, I have experienced many elements of Japan that are not readily available to the ordinary tourist, such as traditional celebratory dinners; exclusive restaurants with elegant geisha present; remote mountain inns surrounded by snow covered hot springs; sake distilleries that are centuries old; and family owned and run sumo stables. I have access to current global food trends as well as new concepts within the food industry. With my husband, I also revisit European cities and towns following culinary itineraries which focus on wineries, olive farms, restaurants, marketplaces, coffee roasters, and food shows.

Throughout my extensive travels I am always reminded that food offers not just nourishment but also friendship, comfort and enlightenment. Experimenting with global ingredients opens our eyes, minds, and hearts to the world around us.

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