Aflete loves exciting and healthy world foods with a little something different so when we came across Nadja, who shares her Korean and Asian fusion cooking on Instagram under mylifeisdelicious we had to find out more about her and her vegan cooking. Nadja combines the very best of Asian cooking and Western cooking in a variety of healthy dishes that range from desserts and snacks to main courses. Nadja also has the full recipes for her predominantly vegan creations available on her blog.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do for anyone who hasn’t come across your Instagram or blog before?
I am a half Korean half Swiss primary school teacher, who is currently teaching in Switzerland after coming back from a 1 and a half year stay in Seoul after graduating UNI in 2011. Food has always been very important to me, as my dad has a culinary background and I grew up around food and especially people who love food. I started cooking and baking when I was in my teens but it has turned into a real passion only a few years ago. I also recently decided to launch a recipe Blog in Korean together with my Instagram page. Cooking gives me time for myself, where I can really relax and focus on what I am doing alone. Some of you might call it a form of therapy? hehe
Most of your food appears to be vegan – do you try to eat vegan and is it difficult when you make a lot of Korean and Korean fusion food as meat is so prominent in many Korean foods?
When I lived in Korea, I was nowhere near being vegan. I am not an ethical vegan today as we speak, but have always had an interest in cooking healthy vegetarian and vegan dishes. My goal is to inspire my Korean blog readers to lead a balanced and healthy lifestyle WITHOUT necessarily having to omit any of the traditional Korean flavours. Many of my recipes consist of traditional Korean seasonings, which are merely used in a somewhat different way than in conventional Korean cuisine, which naturally turns the recipe into a whole new experience!
Your Instagram is mainly in English yet your blog is in Korean – how important do you think food is to experiencing a culture?
I grew up in 8 countries, due to my father’s job. Hence, I have always been confronted with different cultures and particularly different types of food. I believe to understand a culture fully, one must first understand the food. Why do the people eat the food they eat? Why do people living in hot countries eat the spiciest food? What is the history behind the dishes and how did they establish themselves over the years? I always ask myself such questions when I eat something new. But maybe that’s just me 🙂 I must say, I am very curious and interested when it comes to anything edible!
Where do you get your food inspiration from?
My food inspiration has many “pockets”. On one hand I am highly influenced by my parent’s home cooking, as they have always taught me to appreciate food and its uncountable facets. Another inspiration is definitely my international experience. Living in 8 countries on 4 different continents has given me the chance to engage and indulge into the different flavours, textures and colours from around the world. When I create a new recipe, I often think back to the times I had great food and then I try to remember what it tasted like. This often leads to one of my many recipes I now share on my blog and Instagram.
How long does it take you to create and perfect the wonderful recipes you share on Instagram and your blog?
Perfection was never my thing. Though I do have a few steps I like to hold on to before I actually start working on a meal in the kitchen. First, I brainstorm. I write down whatever comes to my mind, be it an ingredient or a whole menu. This can be at any time during the day, or night, just whenever an idea comes to mind, really. Then I start to select the things I want to add to my meal, judged by my instincts and what I feel like eating right at that moment. Most of my foods are made for the very first time, and crazily, the number of times a recipe was a FAIL, is not too many. I am not the kind of person who makes a recipe over and over again until it is perfect. Simply, because I don’t believe there IS a perfect recipe per se.
What advice do you have for someone who may want to start experimenting in the kitchen but not know where to start?
Cookbooks, Magazines, Food blogs and a lot of practice. My shelf is home to almost 50 cookbooks. I do not read novels or gossip magazines like a normal person would before they go to bed. I read cookbooks. I learn the techniques, food styling, flavour combinations and let myself be inspired by all the talented people out there. And once I’ve read some recipes, and see something interesting, I simply try them out, omitting the ingredients I don’t want and substituting them with ingredients I like. This is one good way to get started. Don’t attach yourself FULLY to the cookbook but make the changes you want, in order to make the recipe YOURS.
You freely share your recipes on social media and on your blog – have you considered putting together your own book as many people are self-publishing and creating eBooks at the moment?
I have had thoughts about publishing an eBook, but I feel that I am not quite at that “level” yet. I take all my pictures with my phone, and I think it might be better for me to first purchase a good camera before publishing anything at that scale. What I am really interested in doing though, is a cooking class. Being a teacher, I obviously love to teach 🙂 and if I can somehow combine teaching with cooking, I couldn’t be happier. Korea is only now turning their attention to vegetarianism and veganism, hence, I get a lot of attention on my blog and there have been a few people who suggested I open a cooking class in Seoul!
What is your impression of Aflete (a safe social platform exclusively for food, health and fitness) and do you think it can benefit the vegan community?
As the vegan community is becoming very large in many parts of the world, I think Aflete is a great way to share inspirational people and recipes to people who are new to the community. It is a great chance to get to know how other people lead a healthy plant based lifestyle and it is a motivation to continue one’s healthy journey!
As someone very health conscious who is a content creator – what features could Aflete introduce to help you?
I think you have a very balanced amount of Recipes, fitness tips, closer look at different ingredients etc. So far, I can’t really say that I am missing anything on Aflete. But maybe you could also introduce some healthy restaurants from around the world? Or where vegans can eat out when they are in a specific country? That could be fun 🙂
What features would you like to see Aflete introduce that may not be in other apps?
Healthy City feature! As I mentioned above, for people who like to travel (like me), I am always on the lookout for healthy, organic, veggie restaurants to go to when I am in a specific city. Maybe you could make a list of the MUST-visit healthy restaurants on your app?
See more of Nadja on her Instagram @mylifeisdelicious which she has 79k followers on and if you can read Korean check out her blog on Naver.
Thanks to Nadja for taking the time to answer our questions and we hope to feature some of her delicious recipes in English here soon.