Updated: Jan 1, 2022
Hi - I'm Marie, otherwise known as Mazz, Maz, Mazzywonkas, or MazzMade.
I'm a first generation Australian-born of Malaysian-Chinese heritage, having grown up in Naarm (Melbourne), Victoria, but now residing in Walyalup (Fremantle) on Whadjuk Noongar Boodja in the state of Western Australia.
Food has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember, and some would label me as something of a "foodie". I must admit that I have previously based annual travels (during the 4 weeks leave granted from my full-time lawyering job each year) on chasing stars and hats and gastronomic experiences around the world. My Instagram account is peppered with indulgent food photos.
I'm nowadays more of an aspiring "eco-gastronome", with a broader motivation towards promoting a way of enjoying food which is sustainable for both the planet and all of its inhabitants, whilst still indulging all of the senses and tastebuds! I believe that enjoyment of food and growing and eating food in a kind and sustainable way are not mutually exclusive, but complementary - better food practices create better tastes and experiences, in addition to a healthier planet and conscience.
I only relatively recently adopted plant-based eating as a lifestyle choice, as I have educated myself on the environmental impact of our food choices and the cruel and unhealthy practices used in the industrial production of meat and animal products - rather than continuing to live and dine in somewhat ignorant bliss. Whilst I have changed my views on what and how I eat, my passion for gastronomy, cooking and dining (and the odd indulgent food photograph!) remains. A primary purpose of this blog is to share this new food journey and my adventures on it, which is definitely not limited to plain tofu and beans!
As my parents grew up in the food lover's destination of Ipoh, Malaysia, before immigrating to Australia, I have fond memories of family vacations back to Malaysia trawling the hawker markets of Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur and Penang (and spending time with family and relatives of course!!). I'm enjoying the opportunity to attempt recreating old favourite recipes using plant-based ingredients - going back to my roots, with plants, so to speak. Reminiscing and exchanging food recipes and photos with my mum, dad and youngest brother (all based in Melbourne) whilst now living in different States has been a nice way to stay in touch regularly, despite living 3,000 kms away from each other - showing how food really does unite and bring people together. It's also amazing how many traditional Asian dishes are or can be easily "veganised", with dairy in particular not being a staple part of Asian cuisine.
With overseas travel now limited, I'm happily continuing my foodie adventures more locally, at home playing with recipes, and through the occasional bespoke catering or "roaming kitchen" cooking pop-up or workshop gig. I'm currently playing with the idea of "armchair travel" and "kitchen roaming" through different cities via casual plant-based cooking workshops with friends.
At the same time, I also like to incorporate native ingredients into my cooking, both because indigenous herbs and plants are environmentally adapted to our Australian climate and therefore more sustainable, and as a means of acknowledging and supporting First Nations people, business and knowledge within our everyday activities living on this country. I have always liked the idea of "fusion" (not confusion) in cooking and the sharing of meals as a means of integrating and uniting different backgrounds, histories and cultures.
I love playing around with different food combinations, platings and recipes and sometimes engage my cheeky chocolate coloured lop-earred rabbit, Truffle (#truffleufagus, #littlemisstruffle), as my sous chef and chief taste tester. Truffle has a tendency towards Asian cuisine and enjoys her coriander and bok choy immensely, as well as cuttings of the old man saltbush growing abundantly in my frontyard (and the occassional off-limits skirting board or piece of soft furnishings)!
As part of my personal food journey, I am currently enrolled as a student of the Food Future Institute (@foodfutureinstitute) culinary cooking school. I have also completed and passed studies in "Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science (chemistry)" from HarvardX (an online learning initiative of Harvard University), and the Food Matters Institute (@foodmatters) Nutrition Certification Program, providing certification as a "Food Matters Nutrition Coach". I am presently completing a "Vegan Nutritionist Diploma Course" from the Centre of Excellence, UK. Whilst I am not a qualified nutritionist (nor likely to become one, which would require several more years of formal study!), I am trying to incorporate good nutritional principles into my everyday living, cooking and recipes, so that what I consume is not only kinder to animals and the environment, but kind to the body, mind and soul.