Name: Barbara Mayhew
Blog name and URL: My Island Bistro Kitchen www.myislandbistrokitchen.com
Where were you born? Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Where are you living now? Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Why did you start your blog? I was sharing my cooking adventures with a limited audience on Facebook and decided I wanted to reach a wider audience to showcase the great food produced on PEI, the producers, where food comes from, and what home chefs can do with our Island foods. I also had a curiosity about several foods produced on the Island and decided if I was going to go and find out about them, I might as well share the knowledge with others who might also be interested. My blog also provides the platform for me to combine three of my passions: cooking, photography, and writing.
How did you decide on your blog name? When I had been sharing photos of my food creations on Facebook, I would refer to them as items ‘on the menu in the Bistro Kitchen’ so, when I started blogging, I simply added “My Island” to “Bistro Kitchen” to reflect that I’m blogging from the Island where I live. Thus “My Island Bistro Kitchen” was born.
What do you blog about? I blog about pretty much anything to do with food but a core focus is on food that comes from the land as well as the waters around PEI. I particularly enjoy paying visits to Island producers, finding out about what they are producing, telling their story, taking their products and creating recipes with them, and then sharing the recipes with my blog followers.
PEI has embraced culinary tourism so I also blog about the many culinary events and activities happening in PEI including the popular Fall Flavors events in September each year, the International Shellfish Festival, and other events such as Savour PEI and the Wine Festival. I like to also blog about vintage recipes and the old family favorites that are still considered “comfort” foods today. I also include postings about tablescapes, table etiquette, afternoon teas, and picnics to add variety and interest to the blog content. If there is a connection to food, I will blog about it!
What post are you most proud of and why? “War Cake – A Part of Wartime Culinary History”. I did a lot of research on war cake for this posting and I really enjoyed hearing the heartwarming stories about the cakes being made and shipped overseas to the soldiers during war time.
Which post do you wish received more love and why? Probably my 2013 “Cookie of the Month” series of postings. Not sure why, but it hasn’t been as popular and received as much attention or visitor traffic as I thought it might have.
Which post’s success surprised you and why? “A Tour of Newman Estate Winery in Gladstone, PEI”. This story about a young winery in the Eastern end of PEI still remains popular a year after it was first posted with almost daily traffic to it on my blog.
What is one (non-kitchen) gadget you can’t live without? Toss up between the iPad and the camera….both go everywhere with me! If I had to pick just one, it would be the iPad because of its many capabilities and it has a camera built in.
What is one kitchen gadget you can’t live without? Don’t know if I can choose between my workhorse Kitchen Aid and my really good set of knives.
Favorite food, care to share a recipe? My all-time favorite meal is traditional roast turkey dinner with all the trimmings….any time of the year!
What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page? I love to travel and try out new restaurants and foods in different places. I particularly like cruising and a highlight is always the culinary demonstrations and meal presentation onboard. The other activity I like to engage in is cake, cupcake, and cookie decorating as that brings out my true creative side. I also enjoy shopping for culinary utensils and equipment, dinnerware, and table linens. I am always on the hunt for something new, different, or unique. I have a fairly well-equipped kitchen!
What makes your blog unique? The focus on Island-produced foods and beverages and featuring them in recipes as opposed to simply using the blog solely to share my own favorite recipes although I do some of that as well. Focusing on Island products inspires me to be more creative in how I cook with local products and to find different ways to incorporate them into recipes and present them on the table. It also gives off-Island visitors to my blog a glimpse into the many fine foods and food products produced on PEI. We may be Canada’s smallest province but we produce great food on the Island!