I think it's important to state that my passion for food in general started when I went to Japan back in 2007. I think then I was just barely starting to appreciate sushi, and when I went to Taiwan in 2008, that's when I really started to appreciate food in all its glory. When I moved into my first apartment, my roommate at the time taught me how to make some dishes, which snowballed into wanting to learn how to cook everything I can.
It's not uncommon for me to try to find something new to cook every day. I would try different variations of salads, different ways of cooking chicken, beef, pork, tofu, etc. I really loved experimenting with food, and trying new foods at restaurants that people would normally not even think about ordering. I think it's very common for people to say they love food, but I really love food.
After a few years of trying new things, I started to develop an interest in plating (which I'm still learning how to do in present day). I started to experiment in different ways of plating, without getting into the molecular gastronomy of it all. I think there's an art to that, but I prefer making comfort food look good. I'm not trying to play with my food.
A few years ago (maybe 2016?), I joined this new startup app as a personal chef. It was a bit sketch, not gonna lie. I had to get my food handler's license, but I would make meals and package them up for customers ordering through the app. Every day, I would offer something different on my menu, but it was a good way to get a little bit of extra pocket cash. I would get pretty good reviews and it really inspired me to keep going until it just no longer kept my interest. The app never really took off in Austin, and I knew that. So I stopped that, and a few weeks later, they left the Austin market.
After that, I decided I needed something to really combine my love for cooking with my professional skill of graphic design. I loved food photography, so I thought of various ideas that could potentially get me inspired. And that's when my cookbook came to fruition. It was a passion project three years in the making, but finally, I published my very first cookbook, My Slovak Kitchen. I collaborated with my mom on almost all of the recipes. Took photos of every single dish we made together, and translated all the handwritten recipes from Slovak to English. I also had to convert the recipes from metric units to the standard US measurement. THAT gave me a deeper appreciation for metric units, but unfortunately that's not something we're really going to adopt in the US any time soon.
While my cookbook was never meant to be a huge moneymaker, it really humbles me to know that I have so many people be really supportive of my endeavors. But after that, I felt the whole experience as surreal. I couldn't believe that this project I had been working on for so long was done. I needed something else to occupy my time, and that's when Who Noms the World came to fruition. It started off as just an Instagram where I can post food photos of dishes from around the world. At the time of writing this, I have cooked dishes from 72 countries. Not even halfway done, but this has been such a great experience. I love trying new things, and it really ties back to the very first year of learning how to cook in college, but now I'm doing it at a larger scale.