Name: Vincci Tsui
Blog name and URL: Ceci n'est pas un food blog (www.cecinestpasunfoodblog.com)
Where were you born? Hong Kong (which is where I'm vacationing right now before heading to the Philippines for two weeks!)
Where are you living now? Calgary, AB
Why did you start your blog? I've been blogging since before "blogging" was even a word - I remember having a Teen Open Diary in the early '00s, then eventually moving it to Blogger. When I moved away to Montreal for school in 2004, I discovered food blogs (specifically, The Amateur Gourmet) and I found I was writing more and more about food on my personal blog, since I was cooking on my own and learning about food and nutrition (I'm now a registered dietitian) every day. One evening in December 2006 I "made up" a recipe for butternut squash and beet soup (http://cecinestpasunfoodblog.com/2006/12/roasted-butternut-squash-and-beet-souphoney-garlic-green-tea-shrimp) (which now to me, sounds silly and terrible) and I decided it was time to have my own separate food blog.
How did you decide on your blog name? The name was inspired by Magritte's piece, "Ceci n'est pas une pipe." For me, it was fitting, since I was in Montreal, so there's a bit of French in there, and by saying "This is not a food blog," I never felt bad about occasionally going off the food track. Even now, I still write about my new year's resolutions every month. Sometimes I hate the name of my blog though, because most people back home in Calgary don't speak French and can't remember the name. Even my own boyfriend searches "Vincci blog" on Google to find my blog 🙁
What do you blog about? It's definitely been an evolution. As a nutrition student in Montreal, I blogged about the recipes I was making, and also jammed in quite a bit of nutrition. I dined out only occasionally. When I finished school, I moved back home and since my mom was doing most of the cooking, I blogged more about restaurants that I went to, and less about recipes and nutrition. Now, I try to make it a mix of restaurants and recipes (though it still leans more on the restaurant side, cuz the posts take less time to put up) and my monthly new year's resolution check-ups.
What post are you most proud of and why? My recap of the first-ever Calgary Food Blogger Bake Sale I organized.
It's obviously not the post itself that I'm proud of (notice the blurry cell phone photos), but I was very proud of the event - I was pleasantly surprised by how kind and open everyone was to contributing to the bake sale, including "famous" bloggers, like Julie van Rosendaal of Dinner with Julie. People literally came to the booth with her cookbooks to get them autographed! I was also very proud of the amount of money that we raised for Calgary Meals on Wheels, and am proud that we've been able to make it a (sort of) annual event. Calgary bloggers, in case you're wondering, we've outgrown our current space so I've been trying to look for a new one - stay tuned!
Which post do you wish received more love and why? I think my entire blog deserves more love! Haha, ok, I know it's my own fault for not updating very often. For now, I would say I wished my Facebook page received more love - I just started it a couple weeks ago and it only has a few "likes".
Which post’s success surprised you and why? My post featuring 101 Cookbook's Lentil Cabbage Soup recipe is probably my most popular of all time.
Please excuse the photo - my skills have improved immensely since 2008! I'm surprised because I personally don't cook with cabbage a lot, and probably wouldn't think of making lentil cabbage soup on my own, but lots of people search for it!
What is one (non-kitchen) gadget you can’t live without? My phone! I'm almost always on it, and I think people know me more from Instagram and Twitter than they do from my blog. In fact, I refuse to have a Pinterest account just so that it's one less thing for me to become obsessed with. When I'm not on social media, I actually play games on my phone quite a bit - my current obsession is Zookeeper Battle.
What is one kitchen gadget you can’t live without? This sounds so cliché, but definitely my chef's knife. It's a Japanese knife from Knifewear (www.knifewear.com) in Calgary that I got as a gift from my boyfriend. I'm more of a cook than a baker, so chopping and prep forms the basis of all the dishes I make. To me, having a sharp knife makes the job easier and more pleasurable, which reminds me, I probably need to bring my knife in to get it sharpened.
Favourite food, care to share a recipe? I don't have a favourite food as it largely depends on what I feel like eating at the time, but I definitely find myself leaning toward Asian cuisines with bold flavours. We make this recipe for Korean Pan-Fried Tofu with Spicy Sauce a lot because it's simple and the perfect balance of sweet, savoury and spicy. I also have a soft spot for salty, crunchy snacks, like popcorn and tortilla chips.
What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page? My life is pretty much an open book, so I'm under the impression that everyone knows everything about me already! When I'm not cooking, eating, on my phone, or in front of the computer, I spend a lot of my free time training in Muay Thai kickboxing. I've actually done a few amateur fights, but I'm pretty terrible. People say that they could never guess by looking at me because I'm small and pretty mild-mannered. In February, I hurt my MCL while skiing and was out for two months! That was quite heartbreaking - I just got back into it for a couple weeks and now I'm on vacation. Hopefully will be back into it full-time very soon.
What makes your blog unique? I think what makes it unique is that I've been blogging for a very long time - about 6.5 years. I think these days starting a blog comes with more pressure to have other social media stuff in place, good photos, SEO, lots of hits, etc. etc. Now, some people start blogs with an end goal of getting a cookbook or getting to write in traditional publications. For me, I started my blog just so that people who were reading my personal blog won't have to read about food all the time! (Or vice versa) I definitely cringe when I look at the crappy photos and the way I tried to stuff nutrition into my old posts, but I also know that I'm lucky that I've had time to play around with stuff before reading and writing blogs became popular.