In Toronto, I was blessed to be able to work with Vanipha Southalack and her family. She had free reign to cook Thai and Laotion food at the Rivoli on Queen Street. From her, I learned how to make curries, noodle soups, meat salads called lap, and all the amazing nuances of this food. I was very fortunate to be able to go to Thailand and Laos with her to eat at its source.

Working at the David Wood Food Shop was about as close to heaven as imaginable at the time. A store filled with wonderful ingredients-especially the cheese! -and carte blanche to fill the take-out case on a daily basis. I came to learn about caviar and blinis, Salmon Wellington, and the sweet glory of dessert wine. David is still inspiring me now with his Salt Spring Island goat's and sheep's milk cheeses. more