Meet Our New Community Chef: Vanessa Aaron
We have thousands of recipes from published cookbooks, magazines, and celebrities, but here at Kosher.com one of our goals is to shine a light on the future rising stars of the kosher foodie world. So we’ve opened up our site to anyone who cooks – whether for a food blog, Instagram, or just for family and friends! We call them our community chefs.
Kosher.com community chefs are a key part of the Kosher.com experience, contributing to what makes our site the most diverse collection of all types of kosher recipes.
Our community chefs have their own page of recipes and or articles with links to their personal platforms; are featured in our email newsletters, Instagram feed, and stories; and starting this month, will have their own special article introducing them to our audience.
Do you want to become a community chef? Learn more about the program and how to apply HERE!
Without further ado, meet our newest CC, Vanessa Aaron!
How did you get into cooking and baking?
I grew up in Singapore with several maids. I didn’t need to do any housework and never stepped into a kitchen. However, I went to an all-girls Anglican school, and home economics was part of the curriculum in secondary school, so I learned to cook in school from the age of 12 to 16 and had exams in cooking. That was the end of that until the ripe old age of 24 when I left to read for my Masters Degree in London. It was by necessity that I had to learn to cook quickly and cram a lifetime of cooking skills in a few short months. I always had a good palate and just got the hang of it very quickly.
What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
Ask any Asian cook and they will say their rice cooker. I can’t live without one. I never understand how Westerners use a pot to cook rice. Rice is a staple in Asia and the Middle East and I am an Iraqi Jew who was born and raised in Singapore, so that’s how we cook rice. It’s an amazing gadget. You just put oil, whatever flavorings you like, the rice, and then water, and it does the cooking for you and switches off automatically when finished. I even add chicken pieces to make chicken pilau or chicken rice.
How do you find the time to work on your recipes?
I love inventing new and unusual flavor profiles, and my four boys are in full-time school now, so it doesn’t take so much effort or time. It’s all in my head. In fact, I don’t even measure and crack my brains to give exact recipes. That’s the Middle Eastern way – a bit of this and a pinch of that.
How would you describe your cooking style?
I like healthy, natural food with lots of flavor from spices and a fusion of Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine reflecting my upbringing.
Where do you get inspiration for your recipes?
In my head, but I also watch loads of cookery shows and scroll through social
Do you have a signature dish?
I would say my curries.
What are your favorite recipes on Kosher.com?
Most of the desserts. I have a sweet tooth, but I must be honest I reduce the sugar in recipes as I find them way too sweet.
What are your favorite cooking videos to watch?
I love Ready Steady Cook, The Great British Bake Off, MasterChef and The Best British Home Cook.
What is your favorite cookbook?
I don’t buy cookbooks as I like creating recipes, but I have one called Awafi, which my late grandmother contributed to, that contains all the Iraqi Jewish recipes. That is precious to me.
Do you have a favorite ingredient to cook with?
Yes, garlic. It’s in all of my savory recipes.
What advice can you offer first-time cooks?
Don’t be afraid; it’s easier than you think. And it’s never too late to start. Just look at me. Read reviews and follow a five-star recipe to the letter at first, and then change it gradually to suit you as you get more confident.
We can't wait to meet you!