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{VOTING OPEN} FoodBuzz Project Food Blog Challenge #1: Introducing FSK

Voting is now open until 6PM PST on Sept 23, 2010. Please use this link to vote. Thank you very much! :)

Red Clapp Pears
Red Clapp Pears

Have you aspired to be a star?! I have and I do :). I have always had the ambition and the confidence, but, over my 29 years, the route, the industry and the sparkle of the end goal has been a moving target. Not before a year or so back, did I even think that the food services industry would be one of the paths I would tread on. Well, in this I was urged along by the crash of the Wall Street giants!

Ok, I haven't gotten there yet but I am contending to! Whenever I watch The Next Food Network Star or MasterChef I wonder at my chances. However, in those cases, there are obstacles other than talent and I have been able to do little more than dream. Then, FoodBuzz came up with a real opportunity for me and I jumped on it like a kid on her Christmas gift - The Project Food Blog 2010.

Tomato Bredie
Tomato Bredie

Along with the honor of being judged by Dana Cowin (OMG!!!), I am humbled by the talent of my fellow ~2,000 contestents! Still, I am playing for the win and hope to put my best dish forward! ;-) Today, for the first challenge, in a series of them, I bare my hopes and dreams about me and this blog of mine, which, is my pet project.

I was born into a family of foodies in a maternal line of talented home chefs. South Indians by origin, but, reaching beyond regional constraints, our family table was always filled to the brim, at every meal, with a variety of dishes, meat and vegetables. It is, hence, natural that I imbibed much of that love for good food and not surprising that I had the creative artery pulsing through me.

Zucchini Chocolate loaf
Zucchini Chocolate Loaf

When I first met my future husband at business school, I have to say, frankly, one of the attractions was our mutual love for food, he hailing from another foodie family (actually community!), and, a thirst to discover all the good food joints in Bangalore, India, where we were then, supposedly, working towards earning our MBAs! I have to honestly say, we imbued more street food than business theories..

Since, moving to New York, one of the meccas of food, five years back, we have had the opportunity to discover oh-so-many different cuisines and flavors. For the first couple of years, I was content to look, taste and consume. At home, we cooked mostly Indian and simple dishes from other cuisines for want of time. We both worked long hours and it was all we could do to come back, cook dinner and crash for the day!

Provencal Bouillabaisse

But, a couple of years back, when I, suddenly, had more time on my hands, I started to challenge myself; to push myself beyond my comfort zone. I was itching to recreate what we had tasted and enjoyed in our travels and at home in New York restaurants. Hence, began my learning and this blog was born to document and share.

Accepting the unexpected change, from working 13-16 hours a day in a fast-paced, super-charged environment to listless unemployment, was not easy. No, it was downright depressing. But, this blog is one big reason, I smile today with the hope of a better tomorrow. FSK has been my best friend, mentor and my happy place. It has channeled my energies, provided a diversion; in short saved me from insanity (LOL), all the while fueling my passion and propelling me to further discovery and satisfaction!

Plum Galette
Plum Galette (similar recipe here)

I have no formal training in the culinary arts. But, equipped with an innate love for food, a quest for more and perfection, a passion for learning and much aided by the hereditary culinary talent, I have come far over the last two years. Along the way, I picked up a new hobby, photography, which, has turned into a second passion, thoroughly fueling the first into providing many willing subjects.

I have grown a lot; learnt and perfected many techniques to a point where I am comfortable in making them my own by adding my distinctive flavor twists. Through this blog, my goal is to bring to you my foodie thoughts and scrambles via the medium of great food, tried and tested recipes, inspired flavors and mouthwatering photographs.

Dirty and Gnarled
Organic Carrots from my CSA. First of Fall produce

This year I started a quest to eat seasonal and as much organic as I can. I joined a local CSA and through it support local farmers. For my patronage, I get a weekly basket of fresh, seasonal produce - vegetables and fruits. Inspired by their quality, I created the Farm to Table series with my original recipes for using them.

At this point, I don't know if I made FSK or if FSK made me, but, for somewhile now, we have been in step and I plan to continue striding in tandem. I hope you join me in my culinary journey and walk with me to stardom! :)

I hope you enjoyed the read and I appreciate all your comments and thoughts. I leave you with a slice of tomato tart for your trouble. Voting begins on September 20, 2010. Please do vote for me.

Tomato Tart
Tomato Tart

Share your creations tagging @ashafsk on Instagram and hashtag #MadeFromFSK