Introduce yourself – tell us a bit about you, where you’re from and your blog. What’s the meaning behind Leshestyle?
Hi! My name is Leeonney and I’m from the Gem of the Antilles, St. Vincent. I am an aspiring Personal Chef and Caterer and also a food blogger at leshestyle.com. My blog is geared towards island inspired recipes that are quite straight forward and easy to follow. I try to use ingredients that are accessible and inexpensive and put an island spin on them.
Where does your passion for cooking come from?
I grew up in the restaurant business. My mother owns and operates her own small restaurant back home where she serves very delicious and authentic Caribbean food. Truth be told, I did not have a love or passion for cooking until I moved to the states. I can’t say exactly when it hit me, but I just found myself enjoying watching food network and getting in the kitchen to attempt what I just saw or even come up with something original. Though I grew up in the cooking world, I would say my passion came from wanting to pursue a career that I love wholeheartedly.
What inspires you? Where do you get your recipe inspiration from?
- There are three ways that I develop my recipes. 1: By skimming through my cookbook collection. If I come across a recipe that seems interesting, I would think of ways to make it more island inspired and substitute ingredients etc.
- 2: By searching my fridge and pantry for any ingredients I have on hand. I would then think of ways to make what I have work as a full recipe. That’s sort of my “chopped” moment…making odd ingredients work.
- 3: I take to Pinterest and other food blogs to see what ingredients are trending. I also try to work along with the seasons using ingredients that are at their peak of freshness.
Any ingredients you can’t stand? Which one can’t you live without?
Right now I won’t say that there are any ingredients that I can’t stand. I love exploring. I consider myself a newbie to the culinary world, so I’m very wide eyed and curious. One ingredient I cannot live without would have to be Green Seasoning. I know that’s a combination of ingredients but it’s like a staple for me I put it in everything. I also have a recipe on the blog.
Are there any cooking techniques, dishes or styles that particularly intimidate you and you have yet to try?
So far I would say baking intimidates me. I am not a baker and I don’t claim to be. Baking is a science and I am no science major. With cooking you can substitute and precise measurements is not an issue, with baking on the other hand that’s not the case. I’m doing baking this semester and I have to admit that I’ve been doing a good job this far.
Share your worst cooking nightmare. Any epic recipe failures?
One time I had about two overly ripe plantains sitting in my fruit basket. I attempted to make a plantain tart and that didn’t turn out too well. It was pretty dry and had a weird texture. Again, this goes back to the fact that I am no baker. Now that I’m learning the ins and outs of the baking process, I just may give it another try.
What’s the most adventurous dish you’ve ever eaten?
I’d say Oysters. I was never keen on trying them because I heard the mouth feel isn’t a pleasant one. I had them at a restaurant that prepares then in a brick oven and they were delicious. I don’t know how adventurous that is, but it was something daring and different for me
If I’m only going to make one dish from your blog, which one should it be?
Definitely one of my most recent ones, the lentil soup. It’s so filling and flavorful.
What’s the best part of being a food blogger?
That would have to be meeting and connecting with other food bloggers. I love learning from others who share similar interests. I’d also like to add being able to share my passion with others.
I’m a huge fan of cooking competitions (shout out Food Network) and watch them religiously. Who would you want to battle on Iron Chef?
Yesssss to Food Network. Lol…I would have to say Mr. Bobby Flay. I find him to be very versed in the culinary world, especially when it comes to different cuisines and flavours. I think giving myself that challenge, win or lose would be a fulfilling one.
How do you keep your content fresh/relevant?
I do this by keeping up with other food blogs and forums. I also take into account the season. Right now alot of ingredients such as strawberries and green beans are at their peak, so I would try to come up with recipes that include those.
How has your cooking changed since moving from St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the USA?
It has grown and evolved tremendously. I am now more opened to trying new things and finding ways to make ingredients I never once liked work for me.
What was the availability of ingredients like in St. Vincent. Do you miss it?
We Caribbean people sort of live a self sustainable lifestyle. MOST if not everything is home grown or easily accessible and fresh at the vegetable market. Here in the US it’s not that easy. If I do find similar ingredients they either aren’t as fresh or they’re pretty pricey.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?
Lasagna all day every day. I’m a pasta lover and I love cheese too. lasagna to me is the best of both worlds.
Are there any food blogs that YOU follow?