[GIVEAWAY] Interview with Chef-Turned-Artist Kristina Groeger

I’m really drawn to people who hold many talents. It might be that I see myself in them, but I think it’s mostly because it excites me to think of all the collaborations and conversations we could have, and the things that we can put out into the world. Chef-Turned-Artist, Kristina Groeger, has been a FGFS Fan Club member since Day One and was the first submission to roll in when we announced our gallery show, Fat In Public. If you live in or around Roncesvalles, or are an adventurer, you can see Kristina’s design work in the logo for Extra Butter, a nifty addition to the bourgeoning strip. I recently roped Kristina into answering a few burning questions about her work and life. kristinaG FGFS: Who are you?

Kristina: Oh, hi hello. I’m Kristina Groeger.

FGFS: What do you do?

Kristina: I am a visual artist that lives in Toronto. I was a chef for a good number of years and decided to do a bit of a career change to focus more on making art and comics.

FGFS: What gets you excited about what you do?

Kristina: Half of my life ago (in high school), I can remember feeling really excited by creating a whole world with paint or pictures. I loved the idea of telling a story through something so simple. It’s exciting to watch a blob of paint or plate of food turn into a person with personality or a symphony of colour and taste.

FGFS: You’re like me in that your talents are varied. We do it all. Web, photography, art, cooking. I can’t imagine life being any other way. How about you? Is that just who you are, and how you function?

Kristina: I think this is definitely something I still explore and struggle with a bit. Without seeming like a “Jill of all trades, master of none” I like to think of myself more as an absent minded professor who is super close to a breakthrough. I’ve tried very hard to string together why I am such a “renaissance woman” (read: distracted aquarius). But, as far as web, photography, art, cooking? I see them all as forms of creation, story telling, or challenge and those are my favourite things to explore.

FGFS: What dish are you really, really good at making? Either you’re known for it, or just can just bang it out no problem and impress everyone.

Kristina: I would say that I am fairly known for my savoury or sweet pies. I really love working with pastry, also encompassing pasta and bread. I love kneading and sculpting the mixture of water, flour, and fat. It’s crazy how powder and liquid takes form into a delicious vehicle for flavour.

FGFS: Why is it that you create imagery and art that deals with food so prominently?

Kristina: Food for me has been an enormous part of my life for a really long time. I’ve been on a strict regime for the past six months to have more energy and start getting back into some sporty stuff I used to enjoy (skiing, swimming, baseball). When I was painting the donuts [paintings featured in Fat in Public], it was having an intense internal struggle about eating for pleasure vs. eating for body fuel. I also notice that everyone takes photos of their food the same way people would take photos of their family. The way we view food has shifted. When you see the way chefs like Michel Bras, Jason Bangerter, Daniel Humm, or Graham Elliott plate food you realize that this is art. They are using textures and viscosity to paint a beautiful landscape and story. I love exploring this in all types of mediums.

Ref: Chef Michel Bras Gargilou Source

FGFS: Anything else to add?

Kristine: This is one of my favourite videos of all time that shows the melding of food/art : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQ_zMnxR9z8

Kristina has generously given us some prints and stickers(!) of the donut paintings from her series, Round Food Makes You Round, that hung in out gallery show in February.

To be one of the lucky winners follow these steps: 1. Go follow Kristina on Twitter 2. Tweet using the hashtag #FGFSxRoundFood and let us know why you want to win!

For further exploration find Kristina at these hot online places:   Tumblrhttp://tumblr.kristinagroeger.com/ and Etsyhttps://www.etsy.com/shop/KristinaGroegerArt
Portfoliohttp://kristinagroeger.com/

HoHoTo: The Party That Twitter Built in Support of Daily Bread Food Bank

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What do you get when you put 600 media and tech-savvy people gather together at the Mod Club to celebrate the holidays and to help make the world suck a little less? Something called “the party that twitter built” HoHoTO is often sited as one of the first remarkable examples of a hyper-connected social media movement using the power of self-organizing online groups to make a real world difference. Since 2008, HoHoTO has raised over $280,000 for Daily Bread Food Bank.
Daily Bread is a favourite of FGFS. The work Daily Bread does goes far beyond distributing food and hot meals through out Toronto but also works to support people struggling with hunger by providing job training; research and education in the issue surrounding poverty such as houseing. Stats on the Daily Bread’s site states that those who spend 50% or more of their income on housing are at risk for homelessness, and the average person who uses their services spends 73% of their income on housing, leaving sometimes as little as $6 food, transportation, clothing and other basic needs. Last year, there were almost 763,700 visits to Daily Bread member agencies of which there are over 200.
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The event takes place on Thursday, December 19th at 7 pm at the Mod Club (722 College St). Early bird tickets start at $40 and VIP tickets are available at $150 and include drinks and appetizers. A little bird tells us that the food options for VIP are going to be off the chain.
You can find HoHoTo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/HoHoTO and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HoHoTO. 

100,000 Twitter Followers and Food Network Canada Scout

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After our dear friend, and loyal Fat Girl Food Squad reader, Siobhan Ozege alerted us to the 100,000 Twitter Followers and Food Network Canada Scout contest, us Head Bitches in Charge thought about how much Food Network Canada meant to us in our formative years of food loving and ultimately lead us to starting our own blog.

Yes, it’s true.  Chefs are our rock-stars.  Not only do they make stellar food that inspire us on the daily (for example: Chef Michael Smith’s daily recipes on Chef at Home) but they motivate us to live and try food outside of our comfort zone. LikeChuck Hughes’ journeys on Chuck’s Day Off or John Catucci of You Gotta Eat Herechecking out little dives, like we attempt to at Fat Girl Food Squad.

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There were many nights were Squad Leader Ama stayed up late to watch the original Iron Chef and wished she could be a bad-ass chef like Morimoto.  While we’re not as adept of chefs now (we try), we do know a lot of rad chefs.  So whenFood Network Canada cracked 100K followers, we decided it was time to celebrate!  Our friend, Corey Moranis, makes these incredible deliciously cosmic cakes.  We told Corey our plan to celebrate Food Network Canada’s achivement, and she in turn made the most fabulous 10-tier cake that you have ever seen.

Having ridden with this leaning tower of cake on our laps across Toronto in a taxi cab,we got insight into how difficult pastry chefs and contestants on Last Cake Standing have it. Trust us, it was stressful.  But in the end, we got home and we were able to celebrate in full fashion, including a photo-shoot to celebrate you,Food Network Canada.  It’s because of you, your shows and your hosts that are people like us and our readers are inspired to keep cooking, keep eating and keeping living their foodie rockstar dreams.

But most of all, thanks for giving us a chance to celebrate with this bodacious  cake.

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