Each month we profile a different Canadian Food Blogger who is part of the FBC community. This month we meet Rachelle a blogger who shares dishes from her family, wholesome foods and favourite childhood meals.

Vivacious Gourmet written

Name: Rachelle Newbigging

Blog name and URL: Vivacious Gourmet

Where were you born? Hamilton, Ontario

Where are you living now? Toronto, Ontario 

Why did you start your blog? 

I started my blog 6 years ago because I was cooking a lot for my family and friends. They loved all the dishes I was making and kept asking for the recipes. Most of these great dishes were passed down from my Grandma.  My grandma always said, “What's the point of having great recipes if you can’t share them with others?” She studied cooking in France in the 70’s and taught her recipes back here in Canada. I eventually created my website to share those great recipes with everyone and it kept growing and growing! I haven’t looked back since. 

How did you decide on your blog name?

Vivacious means lively, sparkling, vibrant, zesty. It also comes from the latin word Vivere or (‘to live fully’). I wanted to inspire people to eat vibrant foods that are not only healthy but nutritious without ever compromising on flavour. Being healthy doesn't mean it should taste monotonous. 

What do you blog about?

My blog primarily focuses on eating seasonally and promoting healthier recipes.  I love to travel and dine out at great restaurants. In Toronto we are so lucky to have a wide array of culinary experiences in our own backyard that everyone can try and explore. I wanted to share my passion and love for real good food so everyone can try. 

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

My blog is both a business and a hobby. I work full time at an advertising company. I love cooking for all my colleagues and they have been great taste testers for my recipes! So far they have loved all the dishes I have made for them. I also love working with local businesses to showcase their products in a way that feels inspiring and attainable to every consumer.

Which post most encapsulates you?  

Tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwich, pumpkins

My Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup with a Prosciutto Grilled Cheese Sandwich is one of my favourite dishes to make for myself. It reminds me of my childhood.  I love making big batches of soup at home. They can make you feel good and like you got a big hug on a cold day. What could be better than a grilled cheese sandwich to dip into it! 

Which post do you wish received more love and why? 

carrot cake muffins

My Carrot Cake Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting is a fantastic and easy muffin recipe to make. It is also great for dessert or breakfast. I guess I don’t bake as often as I like and it didn't really get as much attention as my savoury dishes.  

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

My biggest lesson I’ve learned as a blogger is not to compare yourself to others. I used to get frustrated that my food did not look as beautiful as their dishes. I learned that it just takes time to develop your culinary and photography skills. I am so grateful for the process and I remind myself it is never too late to learn a new skill.

Which post’s success surprised you and why? 

Braised beef with fresh tomatoes and mashed potatoes.

My Braised Beef Shortribs are such a delicious recipe, and to be honest fairly easy to make. I was shocked that so many people were looking for attainable gourmet dishes to impress their friends. I still have people sending me pictures of their Shortribs dishes and it makes my heart so full!

What’s your biggest challenge as a blogger?

My biggest challenge is making time to get in the kitchen and cook. There are some days I just don’t feel like cooking. But I love when my family cooks for me. That will always be my favourite restaurant in the world, home. When I do have free time on my weekends, I get super excited to create a new dish and share it with everyone. 

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

One of the biggest successes I have had so far is being able to meet and cook alongside some of my role models. Massimo Capra, David Rocco, Lynn Crawford and Claudio Aprile just to name a few. I still get nervous meeting celebrity chefs. They have done so much for the Canadian culinary industry and I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to meet and learn from them. They inspire me in so many ways and I hope I can do the same for other people.

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

Oh there are so many lovely blogs that I love and some of them I’ve become friends with. I love Diala’s Kitchen! She has beautiful recipes and she is incredibly creative. Diala has such a zest for life, travelling and discovering cuisines around the world.  Her energy and zest for life is just amazing. 

My other favourite is Irene Matys. I first met Irene when I was just getting started in the industry 5 years ago and she has always inspired me to take a real look at where we source our food from (locally) and really honouring our roots and culture. Her photography is just stunning and everything she makes I just want to eat up.  

What are you working on next for your blog? 

This year I really want to focus on expanding my community and attending more live culinary experiences. There are so many activities surrounding cooking classes, farmers markets and restaurant openings.  I would love to meet other food bloggers sharing and cooking meals together! 

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

Something people may not know about me is that I am actively completing my Healthy Arts Culinary Certificate at George Brown College. Although I've been self taught with the help of my mother and grandmother, I wanted to expand my knowledge and skills set in a professional setting. The classes have been incredibly eye opening and I feel so lucky to meet other students who share a passion for cooking and preparing healthy meals. 

What makes your blog unique? 

My blog is unique in a way that I like to offer my foodie enthusiasts a wide array of recipes that you can customize to your own food preferences. You can make my dishes gluten free, dairy free or even vegetarian. I encourage people to do what makes them feel full and happy!

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

I like to encourage others to share their recipes with me! I also engage with my peers and fellow food bloggers. I love seeing everyone’s creations and it inspires me to explore more in the grocery stores and try something new. 

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

I love the weekly menu plans on the FBC website. This is very helpful when I am planning what to make for the week. It makes it very easy to plan my grocery store runs. There are so many options to choose from and I love that the recipes are tried and tested by my peers.

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