February 2, 2015
Beating the Winter Blues by Culinary Canvas
We caught up with Lauren from Culinary Canvas, who we’ve been working with, to create some beautiful food art using the delicious ingredients from our Good Times flavours menu.
Lauren’s Zizzi Favourites:
Drink: Organic Shiraz
Light Lunch: Super Zucca Salad
Pizza: Rustica Piccante
To finish: Americano
What are your top tips for beating winter blues?
I often find the winter months to be a bit of a downer. After saying farewell to Christmas festivities and eagerly welcoming the sparkling promise of a fresh New Year, the chilly realities of winter begin to set in. Although my usual instinct is denial followed by an urge to hibernate, I’ve resolved to accept it this year because if there’s nothing I can do about it, I may as well embrace it.
Seeking refuge from the cold with ‘Good Times’ at Zizzi is exactly what I need to get over the winter slump. Warm pizza, roasted veggies, glasses of wine… the ultimate cold weather comforts.
And if you’re still feeling slowed down by holiday indulgence, the Super Zucca Salad (my favourite light-lunch) is a perfect way to eat well, feel great and have a good time with friends!
Why did you decide to work with Zizzi?
I decided to work with Zizzi because not only do I think it’s a great fit with Culinary Canvas and myself but I love how they approach food. For me, Zizzi is a restaurant that understands the importance of using fresh, healthy ingredients to create beautiful, simple dishes. There’s also this great sense of fun about it. At Zizzi people are encouraged to have fun with their food and it’s somewhere anyone can go for a good meal and a good time; it’s very comforting.
Where did your love of food come from?
My love for food definitely comes from my family and travel. Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to travel quite a bit and that combined with coming from a family of food-lovers meant I was often introduced to a lot of different cuisines. Although I too was reminded ‘don’t play with your food’, I was also encouraged to admire, appreciate, and enjoy my food. My father loves to cook and will often create beautiful dishes using fresh, healthy ingredients. I’ve always admired that he often has a vision of how the food will look when it makes it to the table; he once referred to it as “painting”. This analogy is what inspired the title “Culinary Canvas” and refers to the way I create art on a plate (my canvas) using fresh foods. The love and appreciation for food that I developed as a child has grown with me and really came out in University when I started cooking for myself and for friends.
How did you get into food art?
My first “Food Art” started at a dinner event at University where I was cooking for a few of my friends (Spaghetti Carbonara) – I had spent quite a bit of time locating the ingredients, prepping and cooking the food, then plating and presenting the dish. Despite the time and effort put into making said dish, the meal disappeared pretty quickly without a moment given to appreciate its appearance. The conversation around the table turned to some topic or another so I kind of zoned out and started playing with the leftover bits of food on my plate, eventually deciding to manipulate them into a tree and that became my first “food art” – the “spaghettree”. After that the combination of food and art became a fun part of my culinary experiences. Making “Food Art” was a way for me to take time out from studying and channel my creativity by combining it with my love for food. Although that was my first “food art” inspiration, I have always been keenly interested in food and art.
Does your love of food extend from art into the kitchen?
Yes, very much so! I love to cook.
If so, what are your favourite dishes to cook?
I love to cook anything that is packed with bright, beautiful, seasonal produce! One thing about doing Food Art is that it has completely changed how I view Food. Often when I’m shopping now I look for the brightest, most beautiful ingredients because that’s what I’m drawn to. I also try really hard to buy seasonally, so what I cook tends to change with the season. Some things I love to prepare are hearty salads, fresh pastas, vegetable curries and seafood (I love Salmon!). My favourite dishes to cook are those that are simple and healthy because I believe if the ingredients are good then they shouldn’t be messed with.