The FBC “Where Are They Now?” series celebrating FBC role models covers a variety of journeys reflecting diversity in various ways including culture, gender, and geography written by Diane Galambos. Inspiring bloggers know the world of blogging. In our first article: "Where Are They Now", Diane is interviewing Heidi Fink, a Red Seal Chef and an award-winning cooking instructor. Heid Fink has been teaching cooking classes since 1999 in Victoria, BC.
Chef Heidi Fink (Victoria B.C.)
Vancouver Island’s Heidi Fink had a plan – train to be a chef. This she did and at one point was Executive Chef of Victoria’s Rebar. (Trivia: Rebar’s cookbook has survived all of my frequent cookbook purges.)
She thought of herself as a restaurant chef but during a maternity leave she discovered she had a knack for teaching cooking classes. Though she had planned to return to restaurant work she never did. That was in the mid to late 90’s.
Her portfolio now includes chef, teaching (in the community, on Zoom and full time at Camosun College), a website and blog, food writing for magazines, partnerships, recipe development, running culinary tours, newsletters, and TV host - all while doing her own social media and some of her photography and videos.
Heidi’s food focus is broad – local and seasonal with a world cuisine twist, including gluten-free, vegetarian and flexitarian. Her writing and cooking classes have garnered multiple awards including one for her contribution to food education in the city of Victoria.
Heidi attended FBC2014 in Vancouver and FBC2017 in Ottawa. She found everyone to be welcoming but says she felt a bit like an imposter since, compared to others, her blog was a bit of an afterthought. As her teaching was evolving into a broader business, a graphic designer friend encouraged her to have a website and blog to generate traffic for the business.
Heidi’s fist blogposts used Blogger.com (which has been around since 1999) but she soon moved to WordPress. Her current website which includes her blog remains on WordPress and was constructed by her designer friend’s business – “Seen + Herd.” Heidi has total access and easily handles content management. While she remains pleased with the clean and accessible look of her non-monetized site, she’s considering some do-overs.
She reflects on how in the early days of blogging it seemed easier to get into the scene. Referring to Julie Powell of “Julie and Julia” fame she notes that blogging simply involved writing on easy to use platforms. Today an array of “bells and whistles” confront the novice blogger. Heidi recalls feeling somewhat overwhelmed when a blog audit identified missing blog features now considered to be essential standard practices. Inasmuch as many involved learning curves she found time to be the enemy of implementation.
Heidi stresses she believes in blogging and loves to write. As a kind of online portfolio it undoubtedly helped give rise to opportunities that came her way.
Photos are a given in the blogging world and Heidi‘s trusty DSLR is now supplemented with her Google Pixel. Though a professional photographer did some pics on her website, she does the photos on her blog and social media – but with little fuss. She says she has no time to set up fancy photo shoots.
We reminisced that the Ottawa conference was encouraging people to embrace video. Heidi has posted casual videos more likely to be of a market or her busy desk versus cooking videos. For these she has lucked into the benefits of her TV show. It is filmed in a way that makes it easy for her to grab short clips to use as she pleases. Since last March she has hosted CHEK Media’s “Cookin’ on the Coast” – well worth a visit since she even shares some secret recipes! On TikTok, where she mostly consumes content and posts infrequently, her videos have had mixed results, but video figures in her future plans that include creating more Instagram (IG) stories and reels, and having her own YouTube channel.
IG tops her social media usage, followed by Facebook. Heidi almost never posts or reads Twitter. She was an enthusiastic beta user of Pinterest but now almost never visits the site.
I asked about podcasts, but since she’s not a consumer of podcasts, she has no plans to create one. She is, however, thoroughly enjoying the TV show which feeds her passion to educate and entertain.
It turns out I am one of many who have been asking her if she has plans for a cookbook. While she has enough material to compile one time continues to be a deterrent, yet she’s put it on her Hopes & Dreams list – along with a possible opportunity to do a staff teaching exchange in the Philippines. Until then she says “I am trying to balance my crazy work schedule without getting so exhausted that I can no longer hope and dream.”
Heidi says she doesn’t consider herself enough of a blogging success to give blogging advice, but as a business woman she believes it is advantageous to diversify. Her view is that always and only creating content can be exhausting. Other complementary work energizes and offers various streams of income. (Not a bad idea when the world goes topsy-turvy.) I’m grateful that Heidi always comes to the rescue when I post food science questions!
Heidi Fink has been an FBC member since 2012.
Follow Heidi Fink