It Gives Me Great Joy

Seventy-five posts ago, I quietly launched Kitchen Confidante. I announced it to friends and family as my “new baby,” and just as any parent would, I nurtured it with love. It is an extension of me, and I am proud of it. And like my…

It Gives Me Great Joy

Seventy-five posts ago, I quietly launched Kitchen Confidante. I announced it to friends and family as my “new baby,” and just as any parent would, I nurtured it with love. It is an extension of me, and I am proud of it. And like my real children, my food blog continues to mature and surprise me.

If you were to tell me when I started this endeavor that I would be entering a contest called Project Food Blog, I surely would not have believed you. For those of you who are not familiar with Project Food Blog, it is the first competition of its kind, hosted by Foodbuzz, where food bloggers compete in a series of culinary challenges, until one (just one!) food blogger is left. As I read through the series of challenges, I couldn’t help but feel excited about Project Food Blog and the idea of challenging myself to see how I could tackle each one. It will be fun! {Incidentally, voting begins September 20th.}

So, here goes. This is the first challenge:

“For the very first Project Food Blog Challenge, we’re asking you to create a blog post that defines you as a food blogger and makes it clear why you think you have what it takes to be the next food blog star.”

Star. Wow, what an interesting choice of words. I have humble expectations for this blog, but exceedingly high standards. My journey as a food blogger is a reflection on the things I value deeply in life. Family. Friends. Beauty. Exceptional taste. Culture. Exploration. Emotion.

Because when it comes down to it, I am an emotional eater.

Tell someone you are an emotional eater, and they instantly picture you with an unhealthy relationship with food, secretly gorging on comfort foods in the middle of the night to cope with life stress. But I’m talking about the power of food. How it can transport you – to your childhood, to a different country, to specific memories in your life. It can connect you to people who are equally passionate about food, whether they are professional chefs, wine lovers, or home cooks. And yes, good food can make you happy. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Food transcends time and place. The food I share with you pulls from platefuls of memories. Growing up in New York, and having lived in amazing cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, I have had the pleasure to explore some of our country’s best regional cuisines. And I am forever grateful to my parents for giving my brother, sister, and I the chance to travel all over the world, to taste the most amazing foods and cultivate an international palate. These food adventures have given me the chance to learn what really exceptional food tastes like, whether it is my grandmother’s Philippine kitchen, the bazaars of Istanbul, the street fairs of the Midwest, or the fanciest restaurants in New York City.

But really — why do I blog? To be frank, for very selfish reasons. It gives me great joy.

It Gives Me Great Joy

… to share family favorites…

…showcase the flavors of my heritage…

…play with my food and develop my own recipes…

…reminisce about flavors discovered through travel…

…explore new tastes…

…meet other food bloggers….

{that’s me, on the right, with Spicy Green Mango}

…and share the stories behind those passionate about food.

For me, Kitchen Confidante is my way of extending the hospitality of my upbringing beyond my kitchen and this culinary-rich part of the world I am lucky to call home.

I always hope to bring you beauty through food, one post at a time.




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  1. Dan (mychef)

    Hi, ma’am… just taking a trip on your site and read this one

    BEAUTIFUL WORK… interesting sets of food blogs and Im very much curious to read and see your first ever blog… Im just gonna take my tour here…

    …it just inspires me more to pursue this JOY same as yours about cooking, food, family and LIFE…

  2. Kim @ Simply Starving

    I can’t wait to see what you come up with for the other challenges! I will be voting for you along the way! Your photos are beautiful and your food looks simply amazing! Good luck!

  3. Danica

    I voted for ya…I mean, how can I not?! Your pictures are ALWAYS amazing and you are my POM buddy :)


  4. Mhel B

    You got my “heart” dearie! Mabuhay ang Pinoy. Let’s keep promoting Filipino culinary to the world. Hope we all make it to the next challenge.. Cheers!

  5. Sweet Swallows

    Gorgeous photos and beautiful post! I don’t think you’ll need my vote, but you’ve certainly got it!

  6. Tracey@TangledNoodle

    The joy you have in blogging is obvious from your exceptional writing and beautiful photography! I’m rooting for you to go all the way in Project Food Blog – I just voted! 8-D

  7. Lick My Spoon

    There’s nothing wrong with cooking because it makes you happy, it’s the same reason anyone picks up any hobby. Your photos are beautiful, we’ve got some good ones from SF Chefs too. Best of luck in PFB, you’ve got our vote!

    Lick My Spoon

  8. Katharina

    Hi! I just stumbled upon your blog through Project Food Blog (I’m also in the running). I loved this post and this quote especially, “And yes, good food can make you happy. There’s nothing wrong with that”. I agree! There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Actually, the title of my last post says just that, “a very happy belly helps make a very happy heart” :) Your photos are beautiful, and how they show your journey as a food blogger. Isn’t it wonderful how multi-dimensional our reasonings actually are? It’s not just a love for food, but a connection, and something deeper than meets the eye.

    XOXO Best of luck

  9. Lea @ Healthy Coconut

    Hi Liren,

    What a unique name you have? I like it.

    I just found your blog and I’ve really enjoyed viewing your beautiful pictures as well as reading your stories.

    I’m glad I just finished eating lunch or I would have been hungry again looking at your dessert pictures.

    Good luck on project food blog.

    ~ Lea

    • Liren

      Hi Lea! Thanks for you lovely comments and well wishes on PFB! I really do appreciate it and am so glad you found my blog. Oh, and yes, I do have a rather unique name. As a child I was not too fond of it, but now I love it, especially since it is a combination of my parents’s names: Linda & Rene. They were too corny :)

  10. Priscilla - She's Cookin'

    Liren, I’ve enjoyed your beautiful photographs, unique recipes and well written, heartfelt posts over the months and look forward to more :) Good luck in the challenge!

  11. Angie

    What a beautiful post. Well written- just beautiful! I love your point of view. Best of luck in Project Food Blog!

  12. Za

    Yummm….love the pics. And especially love the phrase “emotional eater”. I can relate to that. All the best with the competition. It’s nice to read other PFB blog posts….it’s amazing how we can present the same topic in so many different ways!

  13. Cristina

    Ms Liren: This is a beautiful, well-written and laid out post. There are so many quotes from this writing that should be quoted for it’s eloquence in which it was said. I have no doubt that you will take this all the way. You have Challenge 1 in the bag.

    I’ve been following your blog practically since you started and I’m always in wonder that you hadn’t been doing it longer with your style and presentation.

    I’ll be cheering for you all along the way!

  14. Jean

    Liren, at this point there’s nothing more I can say that I haven’t before. Your posts are always a joy to read and I think you have raised the bar for everyone else (me included) when it comes to quality blogging. I don’t doubt at all that you’ll swiftly progress to the top of this contest. :-) I’m a fan!

  15. riceandwheat

    What a beautiful post! I’m loving all the different approaches to answering that challenge 1 question … yours definitely has the most gorgeous photography by far. Good luck and I’m excited to read more of your posts!

  16. Becky at VintageMixer

    I love your description of an emotional eater. Food takes me back to a time and place often and reminds me of dear friendships and special. It is so much more than the food for me and extends to the relationships of the people whom we share the food with :)

  17. Jun Belen

    I guess I’m an emotional eater myself. Like you, Liren, I associate food with a lot of things about my life — family, friends, successes, frustrations, losses. And that’s what’s great about blogging – we get to share this with everyone — our love of food, love of our family. You have a lovely blog, Liren and you have a lot of beautiful ideas. Best of luck to you. Looking forward to reading your posts.

Kitchen Confidante®