What led you to working in the Meat & Seafood department at the Wedge?
I had a roommate working in the Deli at the time who told me the Meat department was hiring. I applied because I really liked to cook! And the Wedge has amazing food! Somehow, I knew that working at a place like the Wedge, I could continue to get better in the kitchen and that I could get closer to fulfilling a later-in-life dream of writing a cookbook.
Tell us more about that cookbook dream.
I was lucky enough to travel to Asia and the Middle East with my family at the young age of 10 and again at 16. I like to think that those trips and the foods we ate have inspired me to be a better cook, so that I can help inspire others. I’ve learned that food tastes better with good company and is meant to be shared in a social setting. My goal is to teach people to cook meals that are shared with loved ones and fun to create. Getting friends and family together over some chow is a great way to stay connected. For me, cooking is a hobby, my therapy and a love-language!
When I figured out I had a knack for rattling the pots and pans, I began writing down some recipes of things I liked and wanted to make again. But more than that, how I could make it better the next time. Most were unorganized, hand-written recipes with things crossed out and notes scribbled all over the place. Now that I have a clearer vision, I want to create three separate cookbooks: 1) Secret family favorite recipes — just for my family; 2) An international cookbook inspired by my family’s trips abroad to Asia and the Middle East; and 3) the “Get-Together” cookbook, which will include meals that are fun as a group and true to a Minnesota-style potluck, inspiring people to enjoy conversation (with a glass of wine or beer), fellowship and sharing great food.
Do you have any money-saving tips in the Meat department?
We all love to save a buck here and there when we can. I watch the sales and fill my deep freezer. Fresh Cut Fridays (last Friday of the month) are great days to stock up on your proteins to throw in the freezer with 10% off of everything in the Meat and Seafood department, including sale items. In my time here, I’ve learned that there are lots of ways to save even more money. For example, buy whole chickens. Brine them (or any other poultry parts) for a day before roasting them for added tenderness, juiciness and flavor. Look for the Basics (marked with blue signs at the Wedge, orange at Linden Hills) in the meat and seafood display case. With a few tips and some skill, you can turn modest cut of meat into a flavorful, tender and juicy eating experience.
Now get out there and go cook for someone! Find me at the Wedge Meat counter for recipes, ideas and inspiration.