Each week we profile a different Canadian Food Blogger who is part of the FBC community. This week we meet Ronny, the art history professor who authors Primal Gourmet - a Toronto based recipe site that focuses on Paleo, Whole 30 and gluten-free recipes!
Name: Ronny Joseph Lvovski
Blog name: Primal Gourmet
Where were you born? Toronto
Where are you living now? Toronto
Why did you start your blog?
I wanted to share my personal health journey and provide easy and delicious Paleo and Whole30 recipes so that others could enjoy them.
How did you decide on your blog name?
It’s the way I approach healthy eating. It’s based on a primal blueprint, focusing on natural, whole foods, but with a gourmet twist. Plus, Paleo Gourmet was already taken.
What do you blog about?
I mainly share healthy recipes that never sacrifice flavour and provide step-by-step videos that take people from raw ingredients to finished product. The videos aren’t just entertainment, they’re also a way for me to demonstrate fundamental cooking techniques that I think every home cook should learn. Every now and then I try to provide readers with product reviews, as well as informative articles on healthy ingredients and pantry staples.
Is your blog your business, your hobby or something in between?
Like most blogs, it started off as a passion project. In early 2019, I decided to take on less teaching responsibilities (I am a college and university professor) to pursue my blog as a full-time endeavor. I’m very lucky to call my blog my career at this point, but it didn’t happen without a significant amount of hard work.
What post on your blog most encapsulates you and why?
This is a tough one! Maybe my Whole30 Chicken Shawarma? Toronto has no shortage of fantastic shawarma spots and I really wanted to recreate one at home. It’s easy, approachable and doesn’t require any fancy equipment. It’s a little gourmet thanks to a homemade spice mixture, but the dish only takes around 15 minutes to prepare and it’s just as delicious as the real thing. Especially with the bootleg garlic sauce that goes with it! It’s also Paleo and Whole30-friendly.
Which post do you wish received more love and why?
None in particular. I find it very useful to see which recipes are organically more or less popular because it’s a way for me to understand the interests of my readers.
Which post’s success surprised you and why?
A long time ago I took a poll and asked viewers of my Instagram stories which ground beef recipe they’d rather watch me cook: burgers or picadillo. Picadillo won by a landslide, which was a big relief because it’s what I wanted to cook that night!
What’s your biggest challenge as a blogger?
Finding the time to do everything. I’m still very much a one-man circus.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a blogger?
Consistency and understanding your audience is key.
What has been your biggest success as a blogger so far?
I have something coming soon that I can’t really talk about. Aside from that it’s receiving messages from people that cook my recipes for their families and friends and tell me that everyone enjoyed them. In my opinion, there is no greater success than that for a food blogger. The icing on the cake is that they cooked something healthy, knowingly or not!
Share a couple of your favourite food blogs to read. Why do you like them?
There are so many great ones that should be mentioned here but off the top of my head: Nom Nom Paleo. Michelle Tam is not only an OG blogger, she’s also one of the first people to approach paleo cooking in a way that prioritizes flavour. Her cookbooks are brilliant and anyone in this niche owes her a big debt of gratitude.
The Defined Dish is another. Alex Snodgrass’ recipes are delicious and very easy to prepare. Her focus is on Whole30 recipes but she also includes some indulgent ones for those navigating their Food Freedom. I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy of her first cookbook and provide a testimonial. It’s amazing and everyone should pre-order!
Lastly, Serious Eats. If I was stranded on a dessert island and could only bring one blog with me, it would be Serious Eats.
Favourite food - care to share a recipe or a restaurant destination?
Anything braised. Give me a big hunk of soft, fall-off-the bone, tender meat and some veggies and I’ll be as happy as a puppy with two tails. Or tacos. Just give me some tacos! Or fried chicken! Especially this one that’s 100% gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free!
What are you working on next for your blog?
Thanksgiving is just around the corner so smoked turkey is on the menu!
What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page?
I’m a homebody. I sometimes go for days without leaving the house. As long as there’s coffee, something to cook in the fridge, music playing in the background, and my wife and daughter beside me, I’m good.
What makes your blog unique?
I think my approach to healthy foods is a bit different than others. I want to eat really delicious, comforting food, but I also want it to be healthy so that I don’t fall back into a vicious cycle of weight gain, yo-yo dieting and self-loathing.
At the same time, I realize that not everyone has a fundamental knowledge of cooking or even likes to cook for that matter, so I use the step-by-step videos to demonstrate how a seemingly complicated recipe with many steps is actually quite easy with a few basic skills as well as some helpful tips and tricks. Not everyone takes the time to do that. Much less provide that type of content for free.
How do you cultivate a sense of community around your blog?
I’m very lucky that the Whole30 and Paleo communities are already very tight knit and mostly positive. They’re full of people much smarter than myself and I think we’re all just striving towards the becoming the best possible versions of ourselves. At the same time, I strongly believe that you get back what you put out. If you put out positive vibes, they will be returned to you. Inclusivity is also extremely important. Everyone is welcome as long as they keep things positive.
What part of the FBC site do you find most useful?
The blogger resources are quite valuable, particularly for those just starting out!
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