Food Photography Spotlight

By Allan Mai (ArtSci ’13)

It pretty much all started when I moved into my house in second-year and gained access to a kitchen; no meal plan meant I had to fend for myself. University students notoriously eat poorly, so I made a point to try and put some effort into cooking to try and make something that wasn't complete shit. I looked up some recipes and tried to copy them as best as possible, but it wasn't anything special.

However, I gradually got hooked on the Food Network with a housemate of mine. At first it was because we both shared a loved food, but after a while we found that our favourite shows were the ones that actually educated us, including Michael Smith's Chef At Home. He’s one of few celebrity chefs that can explain why he does something when it comes to cooking recipes. I became obsessed with looking at recipes and figuring out why they were instructed the way they were, with the ultimate goal of improving them.

I suppose I've been getting carried away with that for the past three years. I have no knowledge on how to plate things; I just do what I think would look appetizing. I would describe my style as both progressive and modern.

I'm in my third-year studying economics, however I am currently deciding on culinary schools to attend after my economics degree is complete. My plan is to grasp a strong foundation in classical culinary techniques and develop my skill from there.

I grew up eating Vietnamese food and originally wanted to build on that, however Kingston's ethnic ingredients are a bit more expensive so I decided to go more Western in my education, with most of my technical repertoire derived from French cuisine. However, I eventually want to go back to what I ate growing up; I envision my future restaurant offering progressive Vietnamese food. I've just started so I don't know what will happen, but I’m enjoying the learning experience and excited at the prospects.

Allan will be featured weekly with QJBlogs showcasing his delicious creations. Got your own passion for cooking? Tag QJBlogs and instagram it!

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