So, this is me.  Alyssa Kelly Huggins.  I grew up in Timmins, Ontario, daughter to devoted parents Sue and Dave, and sister to my favourite older brother, Chris.  As a child, I didn't spend all my time curious about food.  In fact, I was fairly picky.  But, both my mother and my father were adept in the kitchen and there was always a home-cooked, healthy meal put before my brother, me, and sometimes a table of guests.  This was the basis, I think, for my appreciation of both good food and gracious hosting.

I moved out when I was 17, and eventually into my own apartment in Chelmsford, Ontario where I lived to work on a horse farm.  I can't say I cooked anything of any excellence at that age.  In fact, I was so obsessed with what I put in my body, that I refused meals with too much fat, oil, or butter.  What I cooked then I can only imagine now would be probably pretty unimaginative. And so, my first forays into cooking and food were not glamorous.  What that time did teach me, however, was how to fend for myself.  How to make a meal on my own.  And, I started to gain confidence in the kitchen.

By 19 I had hosted my first Thanksgiving, complete with turkey and all the fixings.  At 23, I bought a house in Unionville, Ontario and moved in with my then-boyfriend (later husband, and later ex-husband).  With the rows of manicured homes nestled around a golf course, young families abundant, it was like living in Pleasantville.  I was practically a Stepford Wife.  But, I really enjoyed it.  I loved to entertain, and so started to amass a healthy number of kitchen gadgets.  I took the odd cooking class.  I stretched myself to try new recipes of greater difficulty.  I was finding my passion for food.  It was then I also realized that cooking was one of the best ways I had to share myself.  To demonstrate to someone how I felt about them.  To show my love and appreciation by devoting hours in the kitchen to a well-crafted meal.  I was hooked.

Fast forward to today.  I work in advertising and call Leslieville (part of Toronto) my home.  Ad world by day; food world by night.  Had I found my passion - and I mean my true passion - 10 years earlier, I probably would be a chef or in some way more connected to the food & restaurant industry.  But, I'm not.  I'm an amateur at-home cook who still loves to entertain and to test new recipes of ever-increasing difficulty. I've since taken many more cooking classes and accumulated many more kitchen gadgets.  I watch the Food Network for hours each week.  And, I have this little blog and side-project: The Restaurant Club. 

Who knows where this will take me in the food world.  Maybe nowhere.  That would be OK, since a passion is something you want to do, no matter if you're paid or not.  But, maybe this will go somewhere.  Who knows?  Either way, I hope you enjoy coming along with me for the adventure.

- Alyssa