Aug. 24, 2022

Ukrainian Chef Anna Voloshyna and Her New Cookbook Budmo!

Ukrainian Chef Anna Voloshyna and Her New Cookbook Budmo!

This week's guest is chef Anna Voloshyna. She's a Ukrainian-born, California-based chef, blogger, and culinary instructor. Her upcoming cookbook Budmo! (out September 27th) celebrates classic Eastern European recipes with a modern, creative twist.

On the show, we discuss her upbringing and life in Ukraine, where she lived until she was 21.  We talk about the food she grew up with and loves, but also the current war with Russia. Food is political, and you need to understand some of the history to get a complete picture of Ukrainian cuisine.  If you’re interested in learning about Ukrainian cuisine, this is the episode for you.

ANNA VOLOSHYNA
Anna’s Website
Anna's Instagram
Anna's Facebook
Anna Voloshyna's cookbook Budmo!

CHEFS WITHOUT RESTAURANTS

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Founder Chris Spear’s personal chef business Perfect Little Bites

Sponsor- The United States Personal Chef Association
Over the past 30 years, the world of the personal chef has grown in importance to fulfill those dining needs. While the pandemic certainly upended the restaurant experience, it allowed personal chefs to close that dining gap.  Central to all of that is the United States Personal Chef Association.

Representing nearly 1,000 chefs around the US and Canada.  USPCA provides a strategic backbone for those chefs that includes liability insurance, training, communications, certification, and more. It’s a reassurance to consumers that the chef coming into their home is prepared to offer them an experience with their meal. USPCA provides training to become a Personal Chef through our Preparatory Membership.  Looking to showcase your products or services to our chefs and their clients, partnership opportunities are available.
 
Call Angela today at 800-995-2138 ext 705 or email her at aprather@uspca.com for membership and partner info.

Transcript
Chris Spear:

Welcome to the Chefs Without Restaurants podcast. I'm your host Chris spear. On the show. I have conversations with culinary entrepreneurs and people in the food and beverage industry who took a different route. Their caterers research chefs, personal chefs, cookbook authors, food truckers, farmers, cottage bakers, and all sorts of culinary renegades. I myself fall into the personal chef category as I started my own personal chef business perfect little bites 11 years ago. And while I started working in kitchens in the early 90s, I've literally never worked in a restaurant. So we are coming into one of my favorite seasons. Fall is my favorite season weather wise. But it's also cookbook season. And today I have my first cookbook author of this fall. This week, I'm speaking with Anna Villa OCEANA. She's the author of the book Budo, which will be coming out on September 27. I was fortunate to receive an advanced copy of this prior to our conversation. And I have to say it is a fantastic book. And I was born and raised in the Ukraine and lived there until she was 21 and has since moved to San Francisco. Right now, as everyone knows, there's a terrible war going on in the Ukraine. Russia is violently trying to take over control. And it has been going on for months at this point. Anna still has family there. Her mom currently is living with her in San Francisco. But as of our recording today, she's getting ready to head back there tomorrow. So my thoughts will be with her. But she still has, you know, most of her family over there. Her new book is a cookbook about Ukrainian cooking. So we started out by talking about her background, I really want to get some history, I am not really knowledgeable about the Ukraine, or you know much of what's going on in that section of the world. So it was really important for me to kind of understand where she came from what her life was like. But also, you know, we want to talk about food. So I wanted to kind of find out what it was that she loves about Ukrainian cuisine. Since moving to the US, she started blogging and was, you know, been sharing recipes on her website for a couple of years now. That led to her doing some food photography. And, you know, then she got to the point where she decided she wanted to put out a cookbook. So here we are. So if you're interested in hearing her story, learning a little bit about the Ukraine, you know, getting some insight as to kind of what's going on right now with the war, but also learning about Ukrainian cooking and Ukrainian food. One of the terrible things when you know Russia had taken over initially, they wanted all the countries in the Soviet Union to kind of have a unified cuisine and culture. And so many of those republics lost their independence in many ways, and one of which is food and cooking. So the food was kind of homogenous across the USSR. So it's really great to see people like Anna bringing those things back, you know, talking about borscht being a Ukrainian dish. You know, I always think of it as a Russian dish. Her book comes out on September 27. We will link that in the show notes. One of the things I thought was really impressive was that she photographed all of the dishes for her cookbook. It's a beautiful cookbook, and I know often there's a lot of styling that goes into I mean I think So I don't know personally, but I know that there is a lot of styling that goes into these things. And here that she actually styled and shot all these dishes herself for the book, I think is an amazing feat and makes it all that more impressive. You can check out a lot of her work on Instagram and her website as well. And if you'd like to connect with me on Instagram, I'm at Chefs Without Restaurants. And I say this almost every week, but go to chefs without restaurants.org. To find all of our hot links, you'll be able to connect to our private Facebook group where we're helping other entrepreneurs build and grow their business through a sense of community, you can sign up for our weekly newsletter. And also you can find out how to join our database of chefs where we pass along referrals if you're a personal chef or caterer or food truck and looking to pick up gigs. So check that out. It's chefs without restaurants.org. And as always, the show will be coming right up after our word from this week's sponsor the United States personal chef Association. Over the past 30 years, the world of the personal chef has grown in importance to fulfill those dining needs. While the pandemic certainly up ended the restaurant experience, it allowed personal chefs to close that dining gap is central to all of that is the United States personal chef Association, representing nearly 1000 chefs around the US and Canada. US PCA provides a strategic backbone to those chefs that includes liability insurance, training, communications, certification, and more. It's a reassurance to consumers that the chef coming into their home is prepared to offer them an experience with their meal. You SPCA provides training to become a personal chef through our preparatory membership. Looking to showcase your products or services to our chefs and their clients. partnership opportunities are available. Call Angela today at 1-800-995-2138. Extension 705. Or email her at a PR a t h e r at OU spca.com for membership and partner info. Hey, Anna, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for coming on.

Anna Voloshyna:

Thank you so much for having me.

Chris Spear:

I have a copy of your upcoming cookbook and it looks great. And I can't wait to talk to you about it.

Anna Voloshyna:

Oh my god, thank you for inviting me, I'm happy to share about my book.

Chris Spear:

Is it wild to you to think that you're gonna have like an actual physical book that's going to be out there in the world?

Anna Voloshyna:

Yes. And I just got my first copy. And I still cannot believe probably it will be very surreal to see it on the shelf in some random cookbook store. Yeah, it's so cool. I don't have my own book. But I was in a compilation book a couple of years ago. And I you know, I can still go on like a Barnes and Noble and pull a physical book off the shelf. And it's so wild to open up and see me and a recipe in there. It's so cool. You know, like, no matter what else I do in my life, I was in a book. Wow, what was the book, the book is called knives and ink. It's actually a book about chefs and their tattoos. And it was put together by an artist and a publisher. So it's actually not a picture of me, you send in a photo of you with your tattoo, and this artist draws it in her style. So it's illustrated. And then you get to have a recipe in the book. So that was really neat. So there's a lot of other chef friends of mine who are in the book, and it was kind of a cool experience. Oh, that's cool. So I want to start the show kind of talking about your background and growing up. You were born and raised in the Ukraine. Can you talk a little bit about life growing up and what it was like there? Of course, so I was born in the southern part of Ukraine, in a very small town called snooty Africa. So it was a pretty sleepy town, maybe 10,000 people. I grew up eating a lot in going to farmers markets at least once a week. So it was so early on, I was introduced to this wonderful produce. And in the south southern part we have, I think the best produce in Ukraine and maybe the best in Europe. So we grow, grow our own tomatoes, amazing watermelons, melons, cucumbers, like whatever you think of we are growing it in Ukraine, and especially around my towns, we were surrounded by fields of sunflowers and weed and this huge fields of watermelons. So I know my produce well, and my family cooks a lot. So it was all the time like family gatherings with a lot of food, a bunch of family members, a bunch of friends. So it was all about eating, cooking and canning together pretty much. And I didn't even really realize how big of a country it is. You know, it's been a while since I was in school, and you know, he kind of studied geography and when you know when I was in school, it was still like the USSR and you kind of picture this whole thing on the map. Right? But it's is it like the second biggest country in Europe? After Russia? Yes. So if you consider Russia Europe, because it's sometimes it's not because it's so big and it's like it'll lies in part of the Central Asia and Europe. And it's like, so a lot of organizations consider Ukraine, the largest, completely European country, the largest one. So there's quite a variety of climates and also produce. So we had all four seasons, we had blazingly hot summers, and pretty cold winters. And every year, it was different. Some winters were very, very mild with rains and a lot of mud, I would say. And the next couple of years, you had the snow storms. So I remember growing up, and we had snow days, and we had so much snow that it was like three feet tall. But then the next five years, we had only mud. So it's very unpredictable in Ukraine. And we will always have a saying, and if the sun will not burn our crops, then the rain will drown them. So just like it's like that, you know, farmer's life, you're constantly fighting with weather in nature. But yeah, summers were very hard. The seasons were pretty long. So we have long summer season was a bunch of crops and a bunch of like growing stages. So we were lucky to have that. But during the winter, we basically didn't have anything that was growing, no fresh dill, no fresh cucumbers. So everything you preserved, that was the stuff you ate, especially during the 90s. Because there was not a lot of produce coming in from abroad because Ukraine was such a poor country out after the USSR collapsed. And people were just relying on their own little gardens and the stuff they preserved, or the stuff they can store in their root cellars. I love preservation. I don't do enough of it. But like we have like a basic small garden at my house. But it is kind of satisfying to be able to crack open a jar of something in the dead of winter and still feel like you've got a little bit of summer. Absolutely. This is probably my favorite thing of all it just go to a root cellar and pick a jar and open it and just enjoy. In the Fun fact, in Ukraine, nobody labels the jars. And don't ask me why. And I never realized how silly that was like not labeling jars. And then I came here and everything is labeled. And you know which jam is raspberry and which one is strawberry in Ukraine, you just pick a jar of jam and hope that you guessed and got whatever you wanted to get. So I guess you have to be a little flexible in whatever you're making. You're planning on making something with a raspberry jam and you don't get raspberry. So you just kind of have to wing it. For sure. Like I think Ukrainian cooks are very flexible. Well, what brought you to the United States you came over when you were 21. Yeah, my husband's job. He started a startup and got acquired and the company brought us to the United States. And we lived in Palo Alto for a few years. And then we moved to San Francisco. And I think this is the best place for me. I fell in love instantly. And I love the produce. I struggle a little bit at the beginning because I couldn't find my favorite tomatoes. And I'm like, Whoa, what's happening? And then I discovered farmers markets and I found my favorite farmers and life

Unknown:

getting better. So is there a Ukrainian community there in San Francisco? We have a large community of Ukrainians here. I have a lot of friends. Since it's like the Bay Area is so large, everyone kind of lives in different cities. But we get together the pop up dinners, I host a bunch of Ukrainian cooking classes or pop ups. So we get together we spend time together. So yeah, and we don't have unfortunately any Ukrainian restaurant like maybe couple, but it was marketed as Eastern European restaurants before. And now, this year, they suddenly became Ukrainian restaurants because they don't want to be associated with Russia at all. So we have just a couple of those and a few grocery stores where you can buy Eastern European produce. But other than that, I think it's all a lot of just personal connections and just like Ukrainian barbecues and small gatherings. And this is obviously I mean, such a tough time. I have no connection to any of this but I'm sure for you with what's going on in the Ukraine right now with Russia. It's got to be incredibly difficult. Do you still have family and people over there? Yes, everyone is there. It is so devastating. So my whole family had to leave their house is our tiny city became occupied by Russian Army. So my whole family escaped things God because right now nobody can leave the city and believe without water, electricity and any actually produce that comes and Madison that comes outside of the of the city. It is incredibly tough for them. And I'm so grateful for my family that they listened to me. And they laughed because at first or they nobody wanted to leave. But then I'm like, I was hysterical. And I said, No, no, you're leaving, it is so dangerous. And the left and everyone now is in Odessa. And they everyone is in the same city. They live in different places, but they like have dinners together. And that makes me very happy. And my mom right now is with us. And she's been with us for five months here in the United States. And she's going back tomorrow, because my younger sister is in Ukraine. And she's 2022. So she's not a baby. But still for my mom. She's like, Oh, my little girl. So she's going there to be with her. And after that she will come back probably here and spend a couple more months with us. Well, that's great that she came over and you know, wishing her the best. Hopefully she has safe travels and everything goes well. It must be great to see, you know, even where I live, like our community just seems like there's so much support for the Ukraine, even people who, you know, don't even really know much about it. It just seems like there's overwhelming support. How's that make you feel? Very emotional, to be honest. The day that the worker started, I got a message from a very famous chef in San Francisco, and he's like, they are bombing Ukraine. How is your family? Are they safe? And I'm like reading this message. And I cannot believe I'm like, No, No, nobody's bombing Ukraine. It's impossible. I opened the news and nothing is there. And then I opened my Instagram and another chef from Ukraine. She's a very famous cookbook author. Her name is Ola Herculez. She is posting like Russia invaded Ukraine. And I thought yes, this is real. This is happening. I called my family we were constantly in touch. Nobody believed me in Ukraine, like I called everyone and like they're like, no. But then a couple of hours later, everybody understood that this is real. And I started posting on my Instagram and like sharing links where to donate and support Ukrainian army and Ukrainian people because I instantly knew that Ukraine will need all the support it can get. And a bunch I don't know how many 1000s of dollars we got the first day because I couldn't keep track of it. But it was over. I don't know 10s of 1000 solvents of dollars. Right away. The first day people were just sending money to me sending money directly. It was crazy. And then some chefs started this hashtag cook hashtag cook for Ukraine, and everyone who use the hashtag hosted a class or bake sale or some sort of event and raise money to send to Ukraine. And at least 20 people from the Bay Area. People that I know or follow an Instagram hosted a class in the next seven days and transferred the proceeds to Ukraine. And we had Baker THON organized by amazing six Duchess farm and we raised $25,000 online just from one bake a thon where we had like eight chefs from different countries and different states have to participate and just share the recipes. So the support was overwhelming. Every Michelin star restaurant in in San Francisco soon, like participated and like, supported in some way either by posting on their social media or hosting a dinner and a bunch of chefs here came together and hosted very expensive pop up dinners. And one time they raised $50,000 And one of others events raised over $100,000 So it was just so impressive. And I hosted a bunch of events, classes and dinners myself. So everybody supported me and they said whatever you need. Do you need people do you need a venue? Do you need produce? What do you need? We will support farmers donated their produce. My friends in wine business donated their wines. It's still pretty much go While a lot of people I was afraid that people will forget, but they don't, or they still are actively engaging, maybe not as active as the first month or the second month, but it's still pretty much on top of the everybody's minds. So has this really sparked an interest in kind of all things Ukraine, like, especially food and cooking? Have you seen an interest in people wanting to learn more about the food? Since it's kind of been top of mind? Definitely. First of all, I started my cooking classes and dinners a few years ago, and it was hard to convince people to come and try Ukrainian food. They wanted some connection because everybody knew USSR, and they wanted and they needed an explanation. What is Ukraine because not a lot of people knew the country and knew the food. So I had to explain a lot. And I had to say like, oh borscht is a Ukrainian dish remaining is a Russian dish. And like nobody cared. They wanted to taste Soviet food or Russian food, everything was Russian food before. Now people know, oh, this is Ukrainian food. And I see the interest I see the willing to learn and understand why Ukraine is fighting and food culture and politics are very much close. I think, in my opinion, food is politics is very political. And people now willing to put some effort to learn about Ukrainian food, Ukrainian culture, and Ukrainian history. So yeah, and we, we, we have a lot of Ukrainian authors. But okay, not a lot. But we have some very prominent Ukrainian authors. And people are willing to buy their books, for example, or Herculez. And we actually fun fact, we were born just maybe 50 kilometers, maybe six, six kilometers apart, we've never met. And she moved to the United Kingdom and started her career there. And I moved to the United States and started talking about Ukrainian food here. And now we both see growing interest to our for our local culture. Yeah, I found her online. Like even before, you know, the war in the past couple of months, like she was making beautiful food. And I was just interested in she's got quite a following on Instagram. So her following and grew immensely, because she she started posting about war in Ukraine, and another chef, actually from Russia. And she's friends with her Elisa, Elisa Tomas Skinner. And they started this hashtag cook for Ukraine. They started posting the race over one and a half million pounds to help Ukraine. They are such a great advocates. And I understand that Elisa is a Russian chef, and Russia is an enemy, but she supports Ukraine, she against this invasion. And she's she's fully with our people. And I'm so grateful for their collaboration. And they just inspired so many people in Ukraine and outside of Ukraine to fight to donate to volunteer, and they are just amazing human beings. You know, going back to what you said, like food is politics, you can't really disconnect a food and its cuisine and culture. From that. I mean, you have to look at his history, geography, and all of that. I mean, the country is so huge, you're bordered by so many different countries now and over, you know, a period of time there was lots of occupations and wars and so forth. And I think you did a really great job in the cookbook, touching on that giving people a very brief overview if they're not kind of familiar with the background of the Ukraine. Thank you so much. Yes, traveling through Ukraine, you will see how the food changes. And closer to the Russian border, you will see more Russian dishes, more Soviet style dishes, and closer to the western part, where we have Poland and Hungary. And that part was under Commonwealth affiliate Ngwenya. So they, they feel more European. They have a lot of European dishes, binds with European small bakeries and coffee shops. And you cannot find that in the eastern part of Ukraine. And you can tell when you've traveled to the northern part, there is a big connection to polish and biliteracy and kitchen as well. So a lot of potato dishes, lots of cabbage dishes, and in the southern part of Ukraine where I'm from and Crimea as well. You will find Turkish influence Greek influence and up more focus on seasonality because we were so fortunate to get this phenomenal produce during the spring and summer. So you travel and you see how politics influenced the cuisine and how different kinds of countries left their marks on our Ukrainian food. So you've got a cookbook coming out, and you've been doing food writing kind of blogging, some food photography, how did that all start? When did you start kind of putting recipes out there and working in the food world. It all started when I came to the United States, I was not allowed to work here. So I was on h4 visa. And for about four or five years, I was not able to work legally here. So I decided I need to do something. And cooking was, was something I knew. And it always brought me a sense of comfort in the morning. And I decided, okay, so I will just cook, invite friends over, it will help me to break the ice and meet new people. And that's what I did. And a lot of people started asking me for recipes. And especially since there were not a lot of Ukrainian recipes out there. So I decided, Okay, I will just post for that. Like, I will write recipes and send them and they like, Oh no, can you post it somewhere. So it will be easy to find. And I can share it with my mom or whatever. And I started doing that. And then I thought, okay, photos are very, very important, because people don't understand. And if I can put the photo, they will see the dish, they will know how to shake their dumplings, or they will see the consistency of the batter. So I started doing that. And it was not good photos were horrible. Oh my god. And then I decided to put some effort into that as well. And I loved it. I love taking photos of food. And I don't like to take photos of people or nature or anything like that. I only like photos of food and produce. I don't know what's wrong with me. But this is a fact. And I started taking photos. And when they got better. I got my first job offer company startup in San Francisco, they asked me to come and take photos for their app. And I started working with restaurants and chefs. And soon enough, a bunch of different startups started calling me and asking to work for them. And I ended up taking photos for most of the food startups in San Francisco. I loved it. And I met a lot of chef friends through those gigs. And it was was a very wise decision. Like looking back. Now I understand that taking photos for my own cookbook was the best thing I could do. Because I controlled the whole process. And to be honest, I saved a lot of money taking photos myself. Oh, wow. You took all those photos in the book? Absolutely, yes. Oh, they're beautiful. I love you know, not only the technical photos, but like the styling the way that you put it together. It's a beautifully shot book, I had no idea. I don't think there's many cookbook authors who do their own photography. Thank you so much. I was very lucky that my publisher allowed my team to get the full creative control. So all of the everything considering this book was created by a very small team of females here in San Francisco. And the final edits were made in New York. But everything else was made here in San Francisco. It's a local cookbook. And I took all the photos, I style styled everything myself. And I had a bunch of recipe testers all over the United States. And it was probably the best part of the book to get the feedback from all of those people. But yeah, other than that, it is a pretty local cookbook. Wow. Well, it is beautiful. So I want to talk about that a little bit. How did you decide to do a cookbook? I mean, was it just a natural progression from kind of doing the blogging but like what solidified like hey, I'm gonna make a cookbook. I think it was a natural progression for sure. But you know, every chef or every home cook for sure. Has like the secret dream of becoming a cookbook author because they think okay, like what can be cooler than having my own cookbook. And like you said earlier, this is forever like this is something you will have for the rest of your life. This is a fun project and especially usually it's very personal projects for cook like myself, because you will put your family recipes and the whole world will know about your like grandma's famous recipe, I never made this book about my grandma, because I'm not Julia Child. As you know the saying, nobody is interested in your grandma, Julia Child, but still seeing my family recipes, the recipes from my home country and some modern twist, I made this, it is so satisfying and like holding the rug, it's just the amazing feeling. And I know that a lot of cooks, they have this dream. But I just put a lot of work and made me made it happen. I took a course at Stanford. And they have now the I think they're offering this course online cookbook writing course. And I met an amazing mentor, Tori Ricci, she's a teacher. And she, I think, at least once a year, she she teaches this course. And it was such an amazing experience. And I loved it. I loved the whole process. I love everything about this process of writing cookbooks. And I think a lot of people just have this dream in their minds. But when time comes to put the work in, they're like, Oh, this is too much. And for me, it was oh, no, no, this is perfect. Just blogging alone, I find overwhelming. And I've done that for like 15 years, but to the process of like, you know, if I'm cooking for myself, my family, my friends, it's different, when you know, the recipe is going to be out there, you know, making sure everything's weighed, measured all that. So it's actually good, and people can follow it. But then throw in the photography and all that that's, that's a lot. So it's, I think a challenge. Not everyone is up for definitely not a lot of people realize that until they just, like start doing it. And then they're like, Oh, my God, it's it's a lot. And other than that, that when the book is finished, you need to put a lot of work into marketing and PR. And everybody's saying that that 90% of cookbook PR is on the author. And it's true. Some people have this idea that the publishing house will take care of everything. And they will provide you with their sources, and they will provide you with some guidance and help. But it will not be enough to make this book as successful as it needs to be to make money. Well, you're on my podcast, so all my listeners need to go out and get on ordering this book. The book is called How do you pronounce it? Is it bird? Mo? Yes. Perfect. Boys. MA Yes. Nice. which roughly translates to cheers. Is that correct? It's used as cheers it translate to let us be. And let us be it's broad meaning it means let us be together that has been in this moment. Let us be healthy. And let us be celebrating. It's a very cheerful word. That's a really cool name for a book. So I've noticed you definitely do some. I don't know, fusion is kind of a dirty word. But you definitely put your own twist on some of these recipes. Like this is not just a classic Ukrainian cookbook, correct? Correct. I have a few very classic recipes. But most of the time, I was inspired by our beautiful produce here in California. And he wanted to adopt Ukrainian recipes and make them lighter and healthy, slightly healthier. Because you can not make vareniki, which are stuffed dumplings healthier, you cannot do that. But you can try to make them lighter, more modern, because Ukrainian cuisine did not get enough of attention and did not get the development that French cuisine got just because we were a part of USSR. And during those dark times, no cuisine was developing. It was just standardized dishes, everything by the guideline of the party, Communist Party. And it was not a lot of creative freedom. And nobody could go abroad and study no chef can could travel and train at a French restaurant and can come back to Ukraine and implement the knowledge. So right now I feel like Ukrainian cuisine is just started to spread its wings and Ukrainian shafts are willing to experiment and put Ukrainian cuisine and a map. And that's what I want to do. I want to keep playing with the recipes and discover old and forgotten maybe even forgotten recipes and forgotten because of the USSR rule and make them modern and fresh and interesting again, that's so bizarre to me. I you know in your book you had said they replaced all the restaurants with like these identities All government run kind of what was their canteens? I think, like, why would you want to do that? I don't understand that wanting to have such a diverse food that could be represented to just kind of erase all that seems really bizarre to me. Oh, no, it's actually one of the tools to control people. If you can control their diet, you can control their minds, if you can, like they wanted to put their own narrative, they did not want countries to have like the republics to have their own identity. The identity for everyone should be we are from the USSR, we love our Communist Party, we will have our leader, and we are all equal. So nobody was allowed to eat better, at least commoners could not eat any different from like the people from one city in Ukraine to the city in Georgia to the city in Uzbekistan, only the top level level of government could afford like this foreign produce, or like olive oil was not a thing. In USSR at all, we only had two types of oil, sunflower oil, refined and unrefined. And actually, I would say it was unrefined sunflower oil for most of the time. And my mom said she only had refined sunflower oil when she was in her 20s, which late 20s, which was already independent Ukraine. So it was like one type of oil, one type of water margerine that's it. And everything was so standardized. They wanted to control every single aspect of people's life and food was just one of the aspects makes me really grateful for having been born here. I don't think we always think about these kinds of things and all the benefits, we have to living in a free country. You know, a lot of people complain about their freedoms and their rights here in the US. And I think we need to take a hard look at other countries to really realize what our freedom means. Yeah, the world is so big, and it is a whole heart a lot of things we don't know and we don't think about but when we start traveling and discovering the world, we start understanding the country and the place we live in a little better and definitely appreciated more. So when someone gets your book, what do you recommend they start making like Do you have a couple entry recipes that you would say these are kind of give you a good overview of the cuisine or just things that you really love. I have a furious like okay, I love all of my recipes, but some of them I love a little more. For example, my mom's my mom's spicy and sour tomatoes, I love them to death and I make them literally every week just because we we eat them so fast and every time is two pounds. And we eat that two pounds in a week or whether we have friends or like we'll we can just kill it the whole jar by ourselves like three people can kill a jar of those tomatoes in a week for sure. That's the first one and the best thing about those tomatoes is that you can make them during winter time and just make sure to get good comparing tomatoes and they will be almost as delicious as the one you pickle in summer. The other dish is definitely borsch because this is such a quintessential Ukrainian food. It is comforting food and a lot of people heard of borsch or tried wars, but I think I managed to put this three recipes which I love the most one is Greenbush which is wonderful. It's full of green sorrel, the other one is traditional Redbush but I twisted it a little bit and I made it vegetarian and I added a lot of chanterelles, and prunes, which balanced the flavor and make it very interesting and Amani and the third one is called borsch so cold wash probably will be a little bit cold for the fall season because the book will come out September 27. But vegetarian wash I think is the right way to go. And I also have a recipe for Ukrainian garlic bread, which is called pomp Bush key and it's something we usually eat with wash always with wash and I don't think we are thank you yes and sour cream. Add sour cream to your boys never skip sour cream. That's my advice. I think the tendency with other cuisines is to like, Americanized. So like you see a recipe that calls for like 10 cloves of garlic and say like, oh, well, maybe I'm only going to put two in there. because that sounds like a lot, but you know, fighting that urge to do that, like I want to kind of follow that recipe, at least the first time that I'm making a dish I've never made before. I need to be more discipline disciplined with that, because I, I don't know I am a little bit ABD. So my mind start starts wandering. And I'm like, Okay, I pretty much got the idea. So I will follow my idea, not the recipe. But in terms of garlic, I would put 10 gloves for sure I'm not shy from you shying away from using garlic. Well, I'm definitely going to make those tomatoes we have a garden that is just over run with tomatoes right now. And I think I have all and we have a lot of herbs. I think I have everything on hand to make those tomatoes. So you think I should whip up a batch of those this afternoon. I'm not going to regret it. Oh my God, you will love it. And I will wait for your email with a thank you note. Because you will love that recipe for sure. I asked you the one thing, don't eat it. Eat them. In three days. Just wait for that. Let them sit in the fridge. wait three days and they will become so magical. Oh my god, I think you will love them. I love tomatoes. So I I do think waiting is gonna be the hard part. It's the same with salsa, like we always make like, you know, Mexican salsa with them. And I want to like make it today and eat it tonight. But I know that if I just let it sit a couple of days, it's gonna be so much better. Yeah, patience is very important in cooking, especially when you ferment something or because something that's the key to success. Do you do a lot of homemade pickling and fermentation? I know people who do much more than I do. But yes, I do. I do my own sauerkraut, I do kimchi, I make cucumbers. And I experiment with squash recipes. Not very successfully, I need to define a good recipe to start because I tried a bunch and I don't like the flavor, it's still not quite as good. As I remembered, from my childhood. Maybe the yeasts are different, maybe the bacterias in the air are not the same. And that's why I don't like the flavor that much. But I'm still working, I have my hopes high. I also make my own cheese. And the reason is we have this wonderful Ukrainian. It's not only Ukrainian. But it's the European soft in tangy, fresh cheese called sear in Ukraine, or to Iraq in Poland. You can get it from Eastern European market, but it was frozen before. And it's like mustard used, the flavor is not the same. So I do it with whole milk. And we have wonderful local whole milk. So I do it at home and it takes maybe 20 minutes of active cooking time. And the whole process takes 24 hours. But it's mostly sitting there and waiting for its time. So just active cooking time is very little. And it's easy to make. So I make it almost every week, because a lot of Ukrainian dishes are centered around that type of cheese, desserts and savory dishes. And we use it as a feeling for our dumplings. So it's something I'm absolutely have to have in my fridge. And you have a recipe for that in the book, don't you? Yes, I wanted to add it just because a lot of recipes needs the Swiss cheese. And I know that people from different states might not get the same access to Eastern European markets. So for those who are adventurous enough to try this recipe, and it's very easy, I assure you, I put it out there just because if they want to try some of the dishes, they would have to make it or buy it and I am convinced that the homemade version is always better. I think people get skeptical with leaving dairy out, you know, it seems like maybe a little Not that there's anything wrong with it. I understand but I think people tend to not want to make whether it be cream fresh or buttermilk or any of that stuff like leaving dairy out for you know, 24 to 36 hours. Yeah, in Ukraine is different. In Ukraine, we use sour milk for a lot of things. And our sour milk of course is different from the local sour milk because you basically cannot make because the milk is so pasteurized. You cannot make it sour unless you add some bacterias like kefir or a couple of tablespoons of yogurt. So you need to help and boost those bacterias and let them work in Ukraine. If you will leave your milk for a couple of days it will get naturally sour will be delicious and you can eat it with a spoon or use it for your baking, or my husband just likes to eat it as is. So it's something I grew up with. And I know that people are struggling because it's not about part of the culture. But this is a live organism, you add this bacteria as they are working. They're doing good stuff there. They're like how they're having their own party, and nothing bad is happening. There is no mold. There's just life like in sourdough. Fermented foods are delicious. They're some of my very favorite foods. Yeah, same here. So what is next? Are you going to continue doing the blogging and all this? I know the books not even out yet. But I'm already ready to start working on my second book. I have some ideas, I need to discuss it with my editor. I want to tell stories about Eastern European culture and food and possibly travel there. And I would love to do a cooking show or traveling show just to introduce this amazing parts of the world that people are not focusing on, because everybody knows Greece, but not as many people know of Croatia, or Hungary. Hungary is a very famous cuisine. But still, we know some dishes and we don't know a lot of rustic and regional dishes or people don't know Hungarian wine except for Tokai. And there is so much to explore the hospitality in that countries are crazy. And there are a lot of different feasts and interesting moments. And I would love to tell those stories. I want to tell stories of other cuisines, but still the cuisines I grew up with. And I feel related to. For so many years, we've really, as at least in the US really recognize these Western European cuisine, you know, let's say French, Italian kind of is like the pinnacle for culinary. And now there seems to be such an interest in other cuisines that maybe weren't as appreciated or recognized before. And I think that's really cool. So I would love to see something like that. All thank you so much. I hope it will happen. Next year, I will start putting together a proposal and we'll see what happens. But meanwhile, I will keep writing about Ukrainian food. I wrote a couple of stories, and they will be published soon. I cannot announce them yet. But follow me on Instagram at anovulation cooks. And you will see the announcement. And I hope people will slowly fall in love with that buy part of the world and will be willing to try the cuisine. I think everybody's already have the interest. But now they need great recipes and resources to dive in. Well, you are the place to go. I think people are going to love this cookbook. So I'm really excited for you. I can't wait for it to come out and for people to find it. Thank you so much for your support. I hope it will be exactly like that, and that we'll have more many more projects to come. Do you have anything else you'd like to share? Before we get out of here today? Yes, as always, I finish all of my interviews by saying that the war in Ukraine is still actively going on. And please don't forget about our country, please support. Please share, read the news. I know we're all tired. And we all want this war to end. But until Ukraine will win. This war will not end and we are fighting for our freedom. We're fighting for our culture. We are fighting for the right to call borsch Ukrainian. And we are fighting to live our lives as we want to leave them and to build our country as we want to build it. So please support it's a very important word. And everybody wants it to end as soon as possible. Hopefully, that's what will happen soon. And Ukraine feels the support. And everyone I know are so glad to see people in the United States cooking Ukrainian food people in Canada cooking Ukrainian food, and we feel the support and it keeps us going. Thank you for that. And please keep doing well, you have the full support of us here at the Chefs Without Restaurants podcast and with our community. And if there's anything we can ever do for you, please let us know. Thank you so much. And the book comes out on what date September 27. People can pre order the book from rizzoli.com Amazon, omnivore books from pretty much even Target and Walmart. So get your book or I would say please, if you have a local bookstore, preorder from them and support your law local businesses. But if you live in Canada or Europe order from Amazon, because I believe this is the only way to order the book at this moment, but hopefully we'll start working with more local bookstores when the cookbook is out. Fantastic. We'll all this will be linked up in the show notes so people will also know how to find the book. Thank you so much. Thanks so much for taking the time to come on the show today. And to all of our Chefs Without Restaurants listeners, this has been Chris and I hope you have a great week. Thank you. Go to chefs without restaurants.org To find our Facebook group, mailing list and check database. The community's free to join. You'll get gig opportunities, advice on building and growing your business and you'll never miss an episode of our podcast. Have a great week.