City: College Park, MD
Occupation: Student & Tutor
Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m Shanaí, a senior Biochemistry student at University of Maryland. Go Terps! Aside from being a student, I also enjoy traveling, spending time with family and friends, listening to music, and cooking of course! I’m a very positive, free-spirited, and energetic person.
When and how did you learn to cook?
As a home-trained chef, I learned to cook from many sources. I come from a large Caribbean family with a long line up of chefs and I have always been surrounded by lots of food. Family has really been my first teacher. I also draw inspiration from cooking shows like Chopped, Hell’s Kitchen, and also from other foodies and food blogs.
What inspires you about food?
Food is one of those amazing connections that anyone can enjoy regardless of social constructs and barriers. I’ve always loved creative arts and cooking is one of the most enjoyable ones. It’s amazing to create something that evokes memories or feelings through taste.
What/where is your favorite place to eat?
Aaah. It’s hard to narrow down just one place or food! Seafood is one of my favorites, mainly shrimp, crab, and sushi. I also recently tried ceviche, which is a South American raw spiced citrus fish dish, and loved it. Some of my favorite places to eat are Sardis, Hibachis, Blue Dolphin, and, Olive Garden.
How and why has food become such a large part of your life?
After struggling with losing and maintaining my weight almost my whole life, I’ve finally accepted that eating healthy and nourishing your body is much more important than counting calories or stressing over weight or size. I started my Instagram food page, @TheArtofTaste, last year as a way to cook and eat more nutritious and less processed foods.
What would your last meal be?
Definitely some type of Alfredo pasta with lots of shrimp and crab.
Where do you get your recipes?
The best recipes I’ve gotten have come from family. I also use online recipes from use Food Network, Recipes.com, Food.com, and Bon Appétit. I also get recipe from my favorite Instagram food blogs like @myhealthydish, @thekitchenista, and @ecsince80.
It’s almost ironic that there is a lack of women in a field that is sometimes expected as a profession or skill for women. I’m not entirely sure why this is.
Any words of advice for aspiring chefs?
Stay creative and new with whatever you do and don’t be afraid to take risks. Expressing your creativity and putting your own spin on things is what sets you apart!
Follow Shanai’s food page on Instagram! @theartoftaste