A little bit about me
Hello Everyone! My name is Allison – it’s what the ‘A’ stands for in AMC – Allison Maria Carmen. Born and bred in Brunei, further educated in Australia, but the blood of a Filipino runs in my veins; truly a third culture kid at heart. Besides the obvious interest in all things food, I am also a lover of nature, thrilling adventures, and travelling – be it hopping on a plane to a new country, or just a trip down the road to the nearest bushwalking/hiking spot to add that finishing touch to a great week on the weekends. My other interests include writing, photography, boxing, swimming, and designing!
I graduated from the University of New South Wales back in 2015 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Design, my two majors being in Graphic & Environments/Spatial Design. My course has also allowed me to explore other areas of design such as ceramics/pottery, object, photography, and basic web design.
“Be a woman in business, not a woman in everyone’s business” — Unknown.
Since then I worked six (sometimes seven) days a week as a Senior Creative Design and Event Management Executive for one of Brunei’s leading Advertising and Event Management agencies. Apart from that, I was also in Social Media Management, the Editor and Copywriter the company’s biannual magazine, and an Event Photographer when needed – a woman with many hats they say! Presently I have been back in the Philippines and currently working as a Sales Creative Associate for a subsidiary of one of the biggest Real Estate firms in the country.
Growing up, food for me was just something that my mother cooked, and though I appreciated and loved all the Filipino food that she cooked for the family, that’s really all it was to me – to satisfy my hunger, three (sometimes four) times a day. It wasn’t until that I left for university that I really started to grow into an interest for cooking, and only because it was too expensive to eat out on a daily basis. However, I was a shit cook during my first year at university. I didn’t even know how to make sunny side up eggs! My meals would consist of take away, pre-packed, microwavable, and on some occasions, home-cooked food that was of very low quality. I basically ate to survive.
“A recipe has no soul. You as the cook must bring soul to the recipe” — Thomas Keller.
I knew I needed to change both my cooking and eating habits. I have my mom to thank for that. I made the active decision to ask my mom to teach me how to cook the dishes that I loved eating when I was growing up. And now, I love to cook & I love to eat. I remember my high school French teacher telling us that the French “live to eat” and not “eat to live” meaning that food is something more than just fuel. I am definitely a person who lives to eat, because food for me is a lifestyle that brings happiness amongst family and friends.
A little bit about this blog
I was sitting in my room one fine Wednesday afternoon, quite possibly still in my pyjamas, staring blankly at the list of assignments that needed to be done over the mid-semester Easter Break. It was my second-last semester of the year ever, basically bored and not bothered to continue working on my many university assignments. Thus I decided to explore the world of wordpress for a bit. After an hour or so, Amcarmen’s Kitchen (formerly known then as Kitchen Headquarters) was born on April 16, 2014.
In mid-2015, I attended a talk on the Business of Food Blogging, and managed to speak with one of the guest speakers that night, Bella Jakubiak, 2011 My Kitchen Rules Australia Winner alongside her sister Sammy. From our short discussion, Bella raised an interesting point after I told her that my recipes were all over the place. She said that yes, everyone out there loves food, but what can I do to separate myself from the many food bloggers out there? What’s my niche? Bella is of Polish heritage which is the source of her inspiration for her cooking – showcasing both traditional and reinvented Polish cuisine in Australia.
With one of the Jakubiak sisters, Bella (middle), 2011 My Kitchen Rules Australia Winner
If you had been following Amcarmen’s Kitchen from the very beginning, you’d know that the blog had no clear sense of direction, and it wasn’t well taken care for for the first year it was up an running. After my chat with Bella, I thought long and hard about my direction, and really diversity is really what I am about, and who I am as a person.
I am a third culture kid. I grew up outside of my home country, but indulged in food from home, as well as the vast food culture in Brunei. I studied in Australia, which is highly multicultural in both race and food offered. This is why I know a lot of dishes outside my roots and why I am always interested in learning new dishes from different cultures. And thus, Amcarmen’s Kitchen is back as ‘The Third Culture Foodie’.
L to R: Spice-roasted Pineapple Cheesecake, Dragon Fruit & Lychee Taho, Spice-roasted Pineapple Nice Cream, and Fudgy Avocado-Chilli Brownies
Amcarmen’s Kitchen: The Third Culture Foodie, will predominantly feature recipes of my home cooked meals – ranging from my roots, Filipino food, to all sorts of Asian Cuisines such as Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, etc. and of course Italian and Western Cuisines. I would really want to expand my horizons and experience/learn to cook more European and Middle-Eastern Cuisines. My blog will also feature photographs and reviews of cafés and restaurants from my travels.
Just before I wrap things up, I want everyone to know that I have not taken up any culinary courses, or any culinary-related courses. Everything you see on Amcarmen’s Kitchen is purely by a passion-driven amateur that spends her only day off from work in the kitchen dedicated to this blog. Besides cooking, she also styles and photographs all her own dishes.
I hope that you enjoy going through my blog, and if you are a new follower, I suggest that you read all about my kitchen journey of how I started out as a terrible 19-year old girl who left the nest and struggled to feed herself throughout her first year at university. I am amazed at how far I’ve come from being that girl and I am super excited for what’s more to come.
“A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness” — Elsa Schiaparelli.
– Ally xx