Hi! My name is Antonina and I am a self-taught cook and a recipe writer for TasteAbroad, a food blog with easy step-by-step recipes with pictures.

And my cooking story started…with a failure.

I was graduating from University in my hometown Omsk, Siberia, and I as many of you wanted to prove to the whole world – I am a grown-up now. Well, I did not realize that being an adult means not only renting your own apartment and paying your own bills but also cooking every single meal for yourself. Like my friends, I lived off leftovers from numerous restaurants and take-away places, but my budget soon enough reminded me that this can not continue forever. And there I was: in my apartment`s kitchen, confused, excited, ready to start.

It was not an easy journey, by all means, I learned on my own mistakes, tossed numerous food in the trash, burnt pans and pots, cut my fingers, and got upset with myself and other “chefs” who make it sounds so darn easy but the reality was not as pretty as they advertised in their books or blogs.

That is why I want to save you some time, nerves, and fingers and help you become a better cook, share my secrets and tips I developed over 10 years of cooking, and show you that cooking is not hard, it is FUN!

So now that you have an idea about the purpose of my blog, I want to answer why TASTEABROAD has its name. Let`s get back to my background.

Soon after I graduated from university, I realized that I am not sold on settling down and there is too much World to see and TASTE! So I packed my bags, sold my car and moved to the city of my dreams and a culinary mecca – Barcelona.

Spain got me obsessed with fresh ingredients, I lived 2 blocks away from La Boqueria – most famous market in town. Every day on my way to my school ( oh yes I forgot to tell you – to move to Spain I passed all sorts of exams and enrolled to an amazing business school) I saw workers unloading trucks with fresh vegetables, boxes of fresh caught fish and sea monsters I never saw before, bags of crispy baguette.. That was the first time I realized – cooking is not just my hobby or some everyday chore, it is my passion!

4 amazing years while studying and working in Spain I got to learn their culinary culture, I mastered paella and risotto, got my hands on new ingredients I never thought I would have access to – saffron, jamon, fresh olives. And I went beyond with my culinary travel – I learnt so many other amazing dishes from around the GLOBE: Thai curries, Italian pastas, French escargot, Belgian beer stew, Portuguese shrimp pil-pil, Fusion sushi rolls…I could not get enough of it! I still cherish those memories and it still makes me smile to think of that excitement I developed for food and cooking. But life is a movement and I found myself needing a change.

 Some people think of a change as a move from/to apartments/jobs/city. I went further. I changed a big city life to a “rush slowly” lifestyle on a remote Caribbean island named Saint Kitts.

Island life was so refreshing, so new and so challenging! I came from a world where I can get any ingredient I can think of to a world where ocean dictates what is on my plate today and for the rest of the week. Everything was imported from a “big land” and if the ship would not make it this week due to the weather and ocean condition – you will need to use your imagination and just create a dish from what you have. That was a real survival school for me as a chef, but it got me so much more versatile.

I learnt respect to every single ingredient from local people, which have a true talent for healthy yet tasty cooking. Much simpler recipes, much more attention to detail and much more food as a religion – that is what Caribbean culinary world had to offer I did not take it for granted. I traveled to nearby islands, got to try so many new dishes and to learn that sometimes taste is much more important than presentation!

I spent 3 amazing years in St Kitts, met love of my life and finally got to where I am right now…Another big culinary mecca in United States – Charleston, South Carolina. If you never heard of southern cooking – let me describe it to you in three words: comforting, entertaining and soooo TASTY!

I am still learning my way through thousands of authentic recipes which I incorporate in my previous cooking experience. So TASTEABROAD is a mix of all the countries and cultures I was lucky to experience and my own cooking tips and secrets I got to develop through my food journey and I am so excited to share it with you!