“Kusina” is the Filipino word for kitchen. Maria is my name. Maria is also one of the most common names of Filipinas. I chose Kusina Maria as my blog title because I want to share my unique adventures as a foodie in this little Southeast Asian archipelago called the Philippines.
I am a food lover and I started experimenting in the kitchen when I was in high school when my mom would tell me to prepare ingredients or cook simple dishes. Living alone in college, I would whip dishes for myself and other people. From simple steamed rice to more complex meals, I did everything on my own and I enjoyed every moment of it.
Experiences in my little kusina further piqued my interest in food. The more I cooked, the more I wanted to eat. The more I ate, the more I wanted to learn about food. And the more I learned, the more I wanted to cook. It was a cycle of eating, cooking, and learning.
Last year, I took a certificate course in Basic Skills in Cooking and Baking. The course gave me a good background and understanding of western cooking with emphasis on French cooking. More importantly, it taught me that every cook and baker must have discipline. Cooking and baking require study, preparation, and hard work.
Although I was one of the neophytes in my class, my passion for food helped me through the course. It gave me great pride and joy when my foodie relatives, who have been cooking and baking great food for decades, appreciated the food we prepared for graduation from culinary school.
More than a year after graduation, I am still in my kusina. I continue to learn about food from shows, books, other people, and through my own foodie adventures in my kusina and other people’s kusina. I am currently working at two kusinas.
The first one is the kitchen where I cook, bake, experiment, and eat. This is where I share with my family and friends the food I prepare and my knowledge about food. I love accepting invitations from people cook or bake on special occasions and on ordinary days.
One of the challenges which I enjoy is finding the right ingredients to substitute for ingredients that are not readily available here in my corner of the world. Another challenge I enjoy facing in the kitchen is incorporating our unique Filipino and Asian cuisine with my French and Western culinary experience.
As a Filipina Maria in the kitchen, I try to marry Asian and Western influences, my culinary training with my practical experiences, local ingredients and flavors with foreign techniques and dishes, my tastes with those of other people in order to create a foodie experience that is uniquely from Kusina Maria. The results, so far, have been encouraging.
Fellow foodies who have had a trip to Kusina Maria have enjoyed the dishes that I have shared with them. From coleslaw to my own signature Beef Stew, from pancakes and homemade vanilla ice cream to my version of Red Velvet Cake, the reviews have made me proud.
I always encourage people to give me honest reviews of my dishes. And there have been times when my food didn’t turn out too well. I consider those as valuable learning experiences that help me churn out better ice cream, bake better pastries, and cook more sumptuous meals. After all, my kusina is not just a kitchen but also a classroom where I continue to learn and improve.
My other kusina is my blog where I share my passion for food to the world. I have been a blogger for six years and I have a deep passion for writing. Before I started my cooking course, I saw an opportunity to share my passion for food through a foodie blog. Through this blog, I am able to share my stories, photos, videos, tips and tricks, recipes, and new insights on food and eating, cooking and baking.
I get a great sense of fulfillment whenever I share my passion for food with others. I feel happy every time I receive a comment giving a positive reaction to my recipe or article. I find great joy when a reader uses my recipe and people appreciate what the reader cooked. I feel like I was part of their meal even if I wasn’t even there. I also find great fulfillment when my tip helped another foodie resolve a crisis in their kusina.
As a proud young Filipina, a Maria living in a developing tropical country with a cuisine relatively unknown to the rest of the world, I am happy that I am able to reach out and share my unique foodie adventures to the rest of the world. It gives me great joy when my blogs reach other foodies in other parts of the world and they are able to appreciate my unique recipes, tips, and foodie stories.
While I cook western food, enjoy Mediterranean cuisine, love Japanese dishes, and love to try out and enjoy all kinds of cuisines and dishes, I am a Maria, a Filipina through and through. Our country is abundant of fresh and unique ingredients and our unique cuisine is based on our colonial past under Spanish, American, and Japanese regimes with Malay and Chines influences. With Filipino roots, my Western culinary training, and my exposure to all kinds of cuisines, and a passion for food, I believe I have a unique foodie experience that no other foodie has.
Kusina Maria, offline and online, is where my two passions connect: food and writing. More importantly, my kusina is where I am able to share a part of me to the people I love and to the rest of the world. Food is one way of sharing who I am and my own unique perspective of what food is. I am Maria and this is my Kusina.