You don’t have to travel this year to get a taste of the world’s cuisine.
In her new cookbook Diala’s Kitchen, food blogger and avid traveller Diala Canelo serves up a tasty multicultural feast. Inspired by the cities she’s roamed and her Dominican roots, Diala dished out a behind-the-scenes look at creating her first vegetarian and pescatarian cookbook.
How did you discover your love for food?
When I moved to Montreal to attend university, I fell in love with how multicultural the city and its food scene were. I soon found myself making recipes inspired by all the dishes I was trying when eating out, as well as bringing home ingredients from the markets near where I lived and making recipes from the cookbooks I had started collecting. Cooking and baking soon became my passion.
Your new cookbook Diala’s Kitchen was just released on August 4th. Tell us more in detail about the process of creating your own cookbook!
The cookbook took over two years to make from the initial proposal. I developed and tested every recipe, did all the photography and styling, and wrote all the travel essays. It was a process that I enjoyed and I feel so very proud of. Each recipe is inspired by my travels, especially by 6 cities that have not only inspired the way I cook, but the way I live as well.
Why do you put an emphasis on vegetarian and pescatarian dishes?
It’s the way I’ve been eating since I was 19 years old. I enjoy it very much. I come from a family where vegetables were always revered and my love for seafood comes from being born in Dominican Republic – an island with such a vibrant culinary history and that happens to be rich in fish and delicious seafood.
If you could pick only one of your recipes to cook every day, which would it be?
Asopao de camarones! A quintessential Dominican dish – a bit similar to a tomato-based risotto – studded with shrimp and spiced with lots of garlic and cilantro.
Your recipes are all inspired by places you’ve travelled to. What’s your favourite city to eat in and why?
Barcelona! I felt connected to it since I first visited in 2013. Truly love at first sight. I could spend hours lost in its markets eating the freshest seafood, manchego cheese and tortilla Española. I feel drawn to the flavours, the utter simplicity of its dishes and how people enjoy having every meal together with family and loved ones. It’s about spending time enjoying food, but together.
What’s the next project or challenge you’re tackling?
For now I’m enjoying seeing the cookbook being so well received. I plan to continue doing the things that I love: creating recipes, working on my photography and sharing those through the blog and Instagram. I believe that in life, we must enjoy the things that we already have instead of constantly rushing to the next thing.
What advice would you give to someone who dreams of having your career?
When I started my food blog and Instagram, there were countless well-established food blogs already. We can’t let the fact that others are doing what we want to do stop us from pursuing a career or a dream. We all have our very own set of qualities to bring to anything we put our minds to, whatever that might be.
What would you consider your biggest accomplishment to date?
My biggest accomplishment has been raising my daughters. Seeing them grow up to be kind, intelligent, brave, supportive and caring women makes me proud in the biggest way possible.
Want to try out the recipes from Diala’s travels? Diala’s Kitchen is available at Indigo, Type Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other independent stores. To keep up with Diala, follow her on Instagram & Twitter or check out her blog at www.dialaskitchen.com.