Amanda Huang is a cooking school instructor and the founder of Earth Made Kitchen, a global community cooking hub. She started cooking at home in order to heal from health issues she was facing at one point and has been cooking ever since. We had the pleasure of chatting with Amanda about Earth Made Kitchen, how cooking can help improve one’s physical and mental health, in addition to easy food preparation hacks for those who may be too busy to cook a homemade meal. We hope her words will inspire you to embark on a culinary adventure in the kitchen for your own health and wellbeing.
Healthified Magazine (HM): Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. When did you develop a passion for cooking?
Amanda Huang: I developed my passion for cooking at a young age. There were many reasons why I started cooking –– one of them as a way to heal my personal health problems in my early teens.
HM: What inspired you to teach others how to cook?
Amanda: I wanted to share my love of cooking with others. Both teaching and cooking have been a passion of mine. I have also met many people who just didn’t know how to cook – living in a busy world can sometimes keep us from focusing on our own health, and I’ve seen it through my friends, family and myself. Teaching others to cook to help with their health and lifestyle, along with my passion and experience from working at the cooking schools inspired me to teach others how to cook.
HM: Tell us a little bit about your cooking school, Earth Made Kitchen. What programs do you offer?
Amanda: I started Earth Made Kitchen to simply teach others how to cook through my workshops as well as online resources, like my recipes and newsletters. I cook a little bit of everything and emphasize whole foods, culinary techniques and a variety of different ingredients and dishes through my workshops. I started right before the pandemic hit (what timing!), and have only had a few in-person workshops. Most of my workshops are online, and anyone from all over the world can attend! I have all kinds of workshops – cooking essentials, baking, kids classes, date night workshops, holiday classes, corporate team building workshops and more!
HM: How does cooking bring people together?
Amanda: Cooking is more than just “making dinner.” It’s an experience. When people cook together, they are able to connect with one another through food and conversation. It is an activity that can be enjoyed by any group of people. After cooking comes the eating – another experience that brings people together!
HM: Why is cooking at home important for health and wellbeing?
Amanda: Cooking at home means that you have control of your kitchen and what you eat. You are the one that understands your own health and wellbeing, and you know what’s best for you when you have control over what you eat. Home cooking is also quite relaxing and is a creative activity, which can be beneficial for both your physical and mental health.
HM: Do you encourage people to have a variety of diverse dishes and try different cuisines?
Amanda: Trying a variety of dishes and cuisines allows us to see what’s out there – it opens our eyes (and taste buds!) to new foods and flavours, and can help us cook more too. Discovering new dishes educates us with different cultures and ingredients, and is often a fun-filled experience!
HM: What do you love most about the art of cooking?
Amanda: I love how creative and artistic you can get with cooking. Whether it’s plating, combining and mixing certain ingredients, chopping, garnishing…so many aspects of cooking feels like you’re creating a work of art. I’ve always been an artistic and creative person as well, and cooking is definitely an outlet for me to exercise my creativity!
HM: Do you have any go-to food preparation or cooking hacks you’d like to share for those who may be too busy to cook at home?
Amanda: When it comes to cooking hacks and food prep, I always emphasize the use of spices, seasonings and dried herbs! They are full of flavour and can be incorporated into so many dishes. Chop things like herbs beforehand to add them to a quick soup or pasta.
HM: What advice would you give to someone who is starting to learn how to cook?
Amanda: Have fun with it! You may feel intimidated at first, but once you start and get the hang
of it, you will surely enjoy it. As we are still in a pandemic, working/studying from home means cooking from home, and there are endless sources online to help guide you (like Earth Made Kitchen!). Watch YouTube videos, read online food blogs, and take an online cooking class!