The Adopted Tomato Story
My story begins on the rural outskirts of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, where I was surrounded by fresh ingredients and a passion for food. My father, a part-time beekeeper, owned a small honey operation and a massive blueberry patch, while my mother and grandmother were culinary mavericks in the kitchen. As a child, I loved experimenting under their watchful eye, discovering how to create meals that were both pleasing to eat and look at. Food brought us together, and made us notorious for hosting colourful dinner parties that guaranteed great cuisine and even better company.
CULTIVATING MY ROOTS
Whether it was picking strawberries, cooking in the kitchen or tending to the garden, food was part of my everyday life as a child. So, it was no surprise to my family when I took a position as a dining room server for Delta and the Four Seasons. During this time, I toured across the country, where I learned how to craft extraordinary dishes from some of Canada’s top executive chefs who also became lifelong friends.
From whiskey-laced profiteroles to poached Salmon in an orange cream sauce, the tastes and textures were endless. My senses were truly awakened. And my passion for food grew more than I ever could have imagined.
NURTURING FAMILY TRADITIONS
My life has changed since my serving days. I’m a mother, a wife and an entrepreneur living the city life out west in St. Albert, Alberta. Still, my heart will always remain in the country. Growing up, I valued the quality time food brought my family. I still do. Today, I bring that into every meal I make—whether it’s using fresh ingredients straight from my garden or bringing traditional recipes from back east to our dining room table. And like my parents, food has become a social event in our home too, where Sunday potlucks full of new faces or kitchen parties with close friends and family are standard, and lots of laughter is the norm.
FEEDING THE SOUL
Though I’ll never stop learning in the kitchen, for me, cooking goes far beyond making great food. It allows my creative side to grow, which inspires me to work harder and do better with each new dish I conceive. But for me, it’s about even more than that. It’s about community.
Food turns strangers into friends. It connects us to the places we live, and allows us to celebrate each other—and life—through every bite we take. Simply put, food brings people together. And that’s what truly feeds my soul.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Through my culinary journey, I hope to introduce people to what’s in their own backyard—from local vendors to learning how to sustain their own garden. Most of all, I want to provide memorable experiences that inspire others to explore the places, people and things they love most.
I can’t wait to share my journey with you. Together, we can create a community of individuals who not only love great food, but the experiences it brings, too. Of course doing this while laughing and having fun is also part of the package.
A MEANINGFUL NAME
Adoption is something that’s very close to my heart. I am an adopted child, raised by a parent who was adopted, and who is proud to be raising an adopted child of my own. Our family is diverse, adaptable and inclusive.
So are tomatoes.
Think about it. Tomatoes can be adopted into many recipes. They add flavour, and enhance a variety of dishes each and every time. They’re also the first “vegetable” (technically, fruit) I tried growing on my own. It wasn’t easy at first, but with patience and care, I learned how to properly nurture them over time. Now, tomatoes are a staple in my kitchen and my garden.
To pay it forward, I host an annual Adopt a Tomato event that allows others to adopt my tomato seedlings in exchange for a food bank donation. Together, we enjoy gardening and the reward of cooking our produce afterwards—all while helping our community.
My story, my family and my passions begin and end with inclusion. Food just brings it all to the table.