Sarina lives close to the equator on a vibrant island called Trinidad. Her goal: To be the first Caribbean blogger representing her country (and possibly the region) at next year’s Food Blogger Connect (FBC) in London. No problem, right? Well… in the interview below, Sarina explains how the exchange rate doesn’t work well in her favor–among other factors that makes travel difficult. Meanwhile, she’s representing her culture by way of cooking on her food blog, TriniGourmet.com, publishing eBooks, and producing how-to cooking videos. She’s on a mission to spread the love about her comfort food, and MyLifeRunsOnFood.com wants to help her. Learn more about Sarina and make a contribution to her campaign, London Calling.
Why was TriniGourmet.com created?
In 2006 after a car accident made me unable to continue my work as a life and business coach, a chance online conversation with an old college friend brought into sharp focus the rich culinary heritage of my country.
As I spoke to my friend of swizzle sticks, browning, and doubles, her curiousity and amazement grew. I now realized I had a new mission. To spread word of the dishes and approaches we here in the Caribbean often take for granted and which, in some cases, are being lost . Within 24 hours of that conversation I had registered the domain and started to document my successes (and struggles) in mastering the cuisine of my land.
What is the Food Blogger Connect, and how did you first hear about it?
Food Blogger Connect is an annual conference hosted in London. It’s billed as the leading international food blogger conference and it truly does attract attendees from every part of the world, except (to date) the Caribbean! That’s what I’m hoping to change. I learnt about it in its second year from some of the food bloggers who were instrumental in bringing it together.
What makes a trip from Trinidad to London expensive?
It’s a trans-atlantic flight that starts practically at the Equator. A non-stop flight clocks in at 9 1/2 hours. Added to that our exchange rate is currently $10TT for every £1. This means that everything from the cost of the conference ticket and workshop passes to accommodations increases x10 for me when budgeting.
As the first food blogger from the Caribbean, what do you hope to share and learn from other food bloggers and related-industry professionals in attendance?
My aims are two-fold. Firstly I’d like to share my knowledge and passion for Trinidadian and Caribbean food. Many of our dishes easily fit into or adapt to the gluten-free and vegan lifestyles which followers are always looking for new recipes in. Secondly I’d like to learn from the speakers, fellow bloggers, and industry attendees the latest best practices, both in terms of blog and photo presentation but also in growing the platform I’ve built and maximizing the opportunities which sometimes only occur when ‘pressing the flesh’. As it is, outside of the Conference itself, a few industry opportunities have also been suggested to me as a result of my growing network of UK food industry professionals. However, as with many things, I have to be there in person to explore them.
Why is Food Blogger Connect (FBC) conference important to TriniGourmet.com?
I strongly believe that events such as Food Blogger Connect, and the opportunities they provide, are vital to helping Trinidadian and Caribbean cuisine gain greater awareness in people’s day to day lives. I picked this event, in particular, because I believe that the geographic cross-section it attracts will also bring me the most value for my time. If I can only attend one conference, I want to make it count!
A minimum $25 support earns a pledgee an advance copy ebook, “Holiday Glam: 30+ Festive Caribbean Recipes.” What’s your favorite recipe?
My favorite recipe? Oh, that’s always a hard one! In the book I try to combine tradition with modernity. Throwing back to those dishes that have stood the test of time, as well as offering up some new twists. My favorite traditional recipe is definitely my Trinidad Black Cake, a dish that completely redefines any preconceived notion you may have of holiday fruitcakes. I am also quite fond of my Cassava Latkes as well, that’s one of the modern adaptations 🙂
Once in London, which dish and/or restaurant are looking forward to trying?
Anything with rhubarb is going to be high on my list! It’s a flavor I’ve only had once in my life and it became an instant fave. As far as London restaurants go I would love to try Manna, a vegetarian establishment which serves up a traditional English brunch vegan style! I’ve also heard lovely things about Betty’s Café Tea Rooms and would definitely make the trek to Northern England time and budget permitting.