Each month we profile a different Canadian Food Blogger who is part of the FBC community. This month we meet Jessica Kostka, a blogger that loves to gather with people that she loves to break bread and share stories.

Cooking in my Genes logo

Name:  Jessica Kostka

Blog name and URL: Cooking in my Genes 

Where were you born? Etobicoke, Ontario

Where are you living now? Calgary, AB

Why did you start your blog?

I started sharing recipes I was making on Instagram, including updated family recipes and was getting a great response. I really enjoyed the creativity of revamping old family recipes and sharing what I cooked for my family now. I followed some other bigger food blogs and thought hey this could be a great creative outlet / hobby. In fact I had a 8 hour layover at the Minnesota airport in March 2015 and with that time I just figured let’s do it! So that day I made my blog live and the first recipe I cooked / published was with my brother who I was going to visit.

How did you decide on your blog name?

From a young age I can remember watching and then helping my parents and grandparents cook; enjoying delicious meals around the table; creating many memories around food. I draw on these moments when creating recipes and wanted the blog name to reflect that, hence Cooking in my Genes.

What do you blog about?

I share simple, seasonal and approachable recipes. Recipes that are easy to make whether for a weeknight dinner or gathering together with family and friends; recipes that help you spend less time in the kitchen and more time eating.

Is your blog your business, your hobby or something in between?

Over time the blog has become part of my business along with offering food photography and recipe development services to clients such as local and national brands and other food bloggers.

What post on your blog most encapsulates you and why?

Summer brunch board

My Summer Brunch Board - It’s bright, cheery, fun, fresh, seasonal, something to enjoy together -  completely encapsulates my approach to food and my personality. And, it’s a recipe I make on repeat during the summer months!

Which post do you wish received more love and why?

Spicy Turkey burgers with dill slaw

There are these Spicy Turkey Burgers with Dill Slaw that are SO GOOD. It’s a riff on the turkey burgers my Mom made growing up and much of my family now makes the new recipe all summer. You get a little heat from the burger; creaminess from the slaw; then topped with feta. Plus my 16 month old likes them too! They’re easy enough to make on a weeknight or grill them up for family and friends on the weekend.  

Which post’s success surprised you and why?

Citrus vodka crush cocktail

My Citrus Vodka Crush Cocktail has been one of my top performing posts since November 2020! I think of citrus as more of a Fall-Winter seasonal fruit so I thought this cocktail would do well in the cooler months, however, this cocktail has been popular throughout the years for any season! 

What’s your biggest challenge as a blogger?

I find the social media landscape constantly changing to be the biggest challenge! Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with but I always try to remember it's just one piece of the puzzle.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a blogger?

Just to stay true to myself. There can be a lot of noise out there, just watching what other bloggers are doing and watching what’s trendy. I really try to always put my work through my filter of ‘is this simple? is this recipe seasonal? is it easy to make?’ and it really helps keep me focused. 

What has been your biggest success as a blogger so far? 

It’s hard to choose just one but a few of my highlights would be (1) multi post partnerships with Northern Keep Vodka and Alberta Turkey - with Northern Keep Vodka I’ve been able to create seasonal cocktails which is one of my fav things to do and Alberta Turkey which local and the posts were very seasonal too, especially focused on the holidays where I love to cook and entertain (2) the feedfeed has featured a few of my cocktails and that was such a great win too!

Share a couple of your favourite food blogs to read. Why do you like them?

  • Ambitious Kitchen. I make recipes from this blog on repeat! They’re always full of flavour; easy to make; nutritious; and, my family enjoys the recipes too. I make the Flax Almond Meal Banana Muffins and the Cheddar-Stuffed Sweet Potato BBQ Turkey Meatloaf all the time. 
  • Smitten Kitchen. I consider one of the ‘OG’ bloggers. So many classic, comforting, delicious recipes like the Perfect Vegetable Lasagna and the Coconut Bread. I also love the stories she tells along with some of her recipes 

What are you working on next for your blog?

A new Fall-Winter e-cookbook! So far I’ve published two e-cookbooks and I absolutely LOVE the process of developing the recipes; curating, styling and photographing the scenes and recipes; and, then creating the actual e-book. It’s truly a creative project I look forward to.

What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page?

I love to be outside! In the warmer months I grow a vegetable garden and love to grow something new each year. This year I’m trying watermelon radishes that I hope turn out! I love paddle boarding and taking trips out to the mountains too. In the cooler months I really love a winter walk or cross country skiing. I truly enjoy everything each season has to offer.

What makes your blog unique?

I think focusing on recipes that are very seasonal makes the blog unique. 

How do you cultivate a sense of community around your blog?

The times in my life that have made me the happiest are gathering with the people I love around a delicious meal. It’s these moments that I draw on for my recipes and hope to have readers inspired by the blog to create their own memories with family and friends around delicious food too. 

What part of the FBC site do you find most useful?

I find myself going back to the blogger resources often, specifically I’ve used the ‘31 Day Blog Cleanup’ a few times over the years to help get back on track in the New Year.

Follow Jessica from Cooking in my Genes on Social Media

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram


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