The first time I cooked was when I was seven. Many of you may think that is unbelievable. At the time, three generations of my family migrated to New Zealand and there were over twenty people living under the same roof. My parents and my uncles and aunties were often shorthanded hence, being the oldest granddaughter; I had no choice but to cook with the adults.
At the start, I thought cooking was fun but since our family were vegetarians it was difficult to obtain the ingredients overseas. Whatever we wanted to eat, we had to make it ourselves. When I was twelve years old, our family migrated to Australia. I grew anappreciationtowards the new environment and new ingredients. Slowly, I began to explore different resources such as learning from different teachers and also studying books. At that time, there were not many vegetarian recipes overseas hence I often needed to read non-vegetarian recipes and adjust the recipe to become vegetarian and create new cuisines. I could not imagine that through experimenting with new foods made those that tried my cooking ask whether I can start a class to teach them. This made me more determined to fully devote myself in the culinary arts.
When I was old enough to travel on my own, I realized there were many delicacies not available in Australia. I wondered how could I bring these delicacies back to Australia? At that time, I brought back many recipe books with me to study and would constantly be thinking of which ingredients could be substituted and which condiments can be easily obtained in Australia. I would also think about when I returned to my home country to visit my relatives whether I am able to make my favourite exotic cuisine whether it is American, Indian or Taiwanese etc. on my own. Through this book, I wish to pass on to you what I have learnt starting from the very basics through to advanced levels of cooking.Vegetarian cuisine will not only taste good but can also be fused with foods from different cultures.
This is a book of happiness. Many say that great food can bring happiness to people. I hope this book can bring you happiness.
Ya-Han Sophie Yang