Interviews Going Global With Stephanie Arsenault

| Thursday, 19 September 2013 10:00

Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 3.22.40 PMIt’s no secret that Bitchin’ Kitchen started online. We were loud mouths, shaking up the cooking space. We posted our episodes on YouTube, blogged our hearts out on BitchinKitchen.TV, and saw our community grow from 200 fans on Facebook to over 150K. We’re proud of our web roots!

Back then, we had a strong following that included regular folks and fellow food bloggers that supported us. Some have throughout the years, and continue to do so to this very day. It’s for that reason that we’re showcasing awesome food bloggers from around the world. First up, from our home and native land: Stephanie Arsenault of Global Dish.

Q: Dan has been trying to set this up for months! I’m glad we finally got to chat. Tell me about your super awesome blog: Global Dish.

SA: Sheesh! He’s sure a hard-ass, isn’t he? I’ve been at it for about two and a half years now, and it’s really grown. Basically, it’s a compilation of my recipes, photographs, and stories – with a few reviews and restaurant features thrown in for good measure. It’s about food, it’s about travel, and it’s meant to be fun and light-hearted.

Q: Like every blogger, there are humble beginnings. How did you get started?

SA: I actually started blogging unintentionally. My website was initially created as a sort of online portfolio for my writing and photography, and then after a little while I also began to use it as an outlet for sharing my recipes, along with some more personal stories and photos. It was a place for me to get creative outside of the writing and photography I was doing for work. Now, I suppose it has become a big part of who I am.

Q: Your pictures are freaking fabulous. I’m just starting out with the food photography thing. What is the first and most important thing I should know to be awesome at it?

SA: Why, thank you! Honestly, lighting and keeping true to the subject are the most important things. If you have great, natural, window light – that’s all you need. In terms of staying true to the subject: don’t be a jerk about food styling. I get that it’s important to make sure things look good, but you want the food that you’re photographing to be just that – food. It should appear as you made it, as you plan to eat it. Donna Hay’s cookbooks are the perfect example of that; all of those photos just make me want to move to Australia to hang out with her and all of her cool friends and eat her incredible food.

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Q: You cover restaurants, you create recipes, you travel and you blog about it. What’s your favorite Recipe?

SA: Bread. Not one recipe in particular, just bread. I love to make basic loaves of white bread and throw in some goodness: fresh jalapenos and sharp cheddar, cinnamon and sugar, seeds and herbs. Or cinnamon rolls, packed with berries and chopped stone fruits for lazy weekend brunches. Oh, and garlicky pans of focaccia to sop up leftover spaghetti sauce.  Really, there’s just something so satisfying about mixing the ingredients together, kneading the dough, watching it rise, and then having such a delicious creation at the end of it all.

What’s your favorite Restaurant?

Here in Calgary, Pulcinella has been a long time favourite of mine. They make this incredible Napoletana-style pizza that it seriously just as good as it is in Naples. I swear if I could go there every day and eat a Margherita pizza, and then wash it down with a bottle of Peroni, my life would be complete.

What’s your favorite Place to visit?

Ah! There are so many places. I’ll give you a bunch of my favourites (in no particular order) because I’m incapable of making decisions. Collioure, France; Siem Reap, Cambodia; Tulum, Mexico; Certaldo, Italy; and Tofino, BC.

Q: Food blogging is a competitive space. Is there such a thing as differentiating yourself at this point? And, what do you think is the key to blogging success?

SA: It’s definitely competitive, but it’s also a pretty over-saturated industry. That said, I think the most important thing for bloggers to do is to just be themselves. It can be a rarity, I find, to encounter people who aren’t concerned with trying to be who they think others want them to be. Plus, there are these “standards” on how a blog should look, what you should put on it… but if we all followed that advice, everything would be the same, wouldn’t it? I try to be as true to myself as possible, and I hope that it will differentiate me from others – and at the end of the day it will bring success. If not, well… I guess I’m screwed.

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Q: Stephanie, I’m gonna be honest: you’re pretty good looking. So, food aside – how do you get your skin so flawless and what do you use on your hair?

SA: Aw, shucks, aren’t you sweet! I am not one of those people with naturally beautiful hair and skin – I want to slap those people across their beautiful faces. My hair is confused (dry, curly, straight, houses birds in the spring), and my skin can’t decide if it belongs to a 14-year-old going through puberty or a scaly old alligator. To keep things under control, I love to use Origins and Simple Skincare on my face, and Aveda products on my hair.

Q: On a serious note, what do you think is the most empowering thing about women in the blogging and food space?

SA: Women are kicking some pretty serious ass in the food industry right now (a few of my favourites include Nadia G, of course, Lynn Crawford, Nigella Lawson, and Anna Olson) and are an inspiration to those of us who love cooking as much as they do. I’m not a chef by any means (professional eater, however…) but they make the whole concept seem approachable and fun. I think that’s what’s great about women blogging as well; they can openly be awesome, appreciated, and inspiring without being held back. In reality, I think women are actually kind of dominating the food and food blogging world right now, so it’s safe to say we’re doing something right.

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Q: As a person who is pretty active online, tell me, how do you get over writer’s block. Isn’t it a pain in the ass? Like, you go to a restaurant; you have loads to say about it, but can’t get it to sound as awesome on “paper”. What are some tips?

SA: As Ernest Hemingway said, “write drunk; edit sober.” Honestly, one of the easiest ways to combat writing block for me is to sit back and enjoy a pint with friends. Take a break, get my mind off of whatever the task at hand is, and then go back to it, post-beer, and let my creative juices flow. This method requires next-day proofreading, of course. Otherwise, I throw on my hiking boots and head out for a hike or bike in the mountains. Fresh air and exercise usually manages to help me get back on track. If not, back to step 1: beer.

Q: We’re going to be telling people to stalk you online. What things are you working on? Things people can look forward to?

SA: The best way to check out what’s coming up, or what’s going on, is to head to my site. I do announcements or previews whenever possible, so it’s pretty up to date. I have features up over at Eat In, Eat Out Magazine (I’m the West Coast Editor), and recently did some fun East Coast pieces with the awesome Canadian travel site, Toque & Canoe. I’m also working with Dan and some other amazing people on a new Canadian food site called Eat North – so stay tuned!

Follow Stephanie: @globaldish
Visit her website: Globaldish.ca

 

By Angelique Picanco

Photos by: Jacqueline Elizabeth Photography.

 

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