A food photographer by trade and a food blogger for pleasure, Ann Gagno seems to be making the most of her time. Focusing on the experiences that excite and intrigue her in the world of food she catalogues it all on her blog Food Trippin’. Let’s have a look behind her lens, as Ann gets candid about what she gets up to when the camera and the keyboard are put to rest…
When and why did you start writing about food?
I started writing my blog, Food Trippin’, in the fall of 2010. Looking back, it certainly doesn’t feel like two years have already passed. Back then, I thought it was a good way to reach out and get myself immersed in the Toronto food scene.
What do you love most about food?
What I love most about food is the feeling of comfort it provides. It nourishes you physically, enriches you socially, and it brings people together. It is something we all look forward to and relate to no matter who we are or where we come from.
What do you do when you aren’t writing about or eating food?
When I part with my keyboard or put my fork down, I photograph food! LOL. I am a food photographer by trade.
Do you cook? If so, what’s your specialty? If not, why?
I do cook although having a chef for a business partner dialed down its frequency. I don’t dare compete with my partner’s knife skills. When I do cook, I prefer to cook with straightforward recipes that don’t take too much effort to prep or to look for ingredients. I am Asian-biased in the cooking that I do and my preferred cuisines are Filipino and Japanese.
What’s your favourite type of food(s) and where do you go to get it?
I don’t hide the fact that I am addicted to the food at Kanto by Tita Flips. She’s got it right to a tee and it’s what I remember as comfort food from home. If you want to try food from my childhood, swing by Kanto near Bathurst and Dundas.
What’s your hidden gem?
One restaurant I’ve frequented since I arrived in Canada back in 2001 is Super Sushi House by Kennedy and Ellesmere, in Scarborough. I almost always order the same thing: Shrimp Tempura, Kamakachi roll, Salmon Sashimi and finish it off with green tea ice cream. Even though I practically designed my own bento, they still give me free miso soup, salad and unlimited green tea. The crispness of their tempura is the same each time I order it, light and crisp and the fresh, sweet shrimp just shines through.
What’s your go-to restaurant?
I have my favorites all around Toronto for different reasons. To cite a few, I would always choose Futures Bakery & Café in The Annex for a lengthy, relaxing beer with a big group of friends. Ursa, when I’m in the mood to elevate my palate with the surprises that comes out of their kitchen. Richmond Station also deserves a mention as one of my new favourites – the meal and service there are immensely enjoyable.
What’s the most memorable meal you’ve ever had?
I must say, the most memorable meal I’ve had was outside of Toronto. The restaurant is Escriba’s El Xiringuito in Barcelona, Spain. I had the most fun watching a cook in action and later indulging in their tasty seafood paella. They do it old school and it is one of my must-visits each time I go back to Barcelona – definitely my idea of a tourist attraction.
What’s the one restaurant you have to try before you die?
This is quite an interesting question with an answer that might keep on changing as I grow older. LOL. Right now I must say that I would drop everything if I could have a meal orchestrated by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto or Mario Batali.
What’s your biggest restaurant pet peeve? (play nice)
I know that restaurants can have off days and even mediocre menu items. If I chance upon that mediocre menu item or am the recipient of bad service, I try to forget about it. I have a rule that bad experiences don’t need to be immortalized. I choose to focus and write about food and service that leave me happy and satisfied.