We had the good fortune of connecting with Edie Dourleijn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Edie, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
To be honest, I never considered myself as someone who was creative. That was always my little sister. But while I was learning to cook, I realized I found my thing. Getting into the kitchen, working with your hands, creating something that is both useful and fun, turned out to be a great and creative outlet after a full day behind a screen.
As a child I was a super picky eater, and then I suddenly liked to cook! Wanting to learn and try out new recipes are a great way to learn to eat everything. To me, it was just a matter of learning what I did like, how I liked my food to be cooked. I only still don’t like grapefruits and think salmon is overrated, but will try everything you put in front of me.
My goal was to become a totally free cook, that didn’t need recipes to create a good meal. I looked for a cooking course that would teach me about the basics, but in an in-depth way, explaining how things work in my pots and pans. But a course like that didn’t exist and I went to culinary school instead.
Then I designed and taught what I have learned to others in an unique cooking course. We did all kinds of experiments, sometimes even deliberately failing a dish, only compare it to a perfectly cooked dish and taste why it didn’t work. Combining my science background with my love for cooking turned into a new career, with food blogging, developing recipes and writing all kinds of articles about ingredients, chefs, and cooking.
After moving to California in 2014, I focused more on cooking classes, and since the pandemic virtually. I cook together with family and friends and gather with co-workers in the kitchen. I will soon start an ongoing, hop-on hop-off style, online cooking course for curious cooks who want to become more creative in the kitchen. We will focus on dishes, cooking techniques and put ingredients in the spot light, all to help you become a creative cook too.
What should our readers know about your business?
Being a former home-cook myself, I understand what my students know or don’t, compared to chefs that always cooked in restaurant kitchens. That’s a totally different way of cooking. Thanks to my curiosity and wanting to understand what I am doing with my ingredients, I am in a better position to explain it to novice cooks, and keep it light and fun. So I knew that part of the business when I started out not so long ago.
Being a former scientist, I did know nothing about doing business and I was struggling to get clients. And then COVID-19 hit. I set myself up for doing my cooking classes and events online and that took off. While I was teaching others how to cook, I myself learned a lot about being in business. I attended webinars with SCORE and SBDC to understand what it means to have a business and do marketing, and that was super helpful. I am now looking forward to use what I have learned in promoting the ongoing cooking course that I am about to start.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
That of course depends on what people like, but food definitely is involved. Since I am still relatively new to San Diego myself, I don’t mind visiting all the highlights, and I haven’t explored all the restaurants in the city as I live in North County. We will definitely visit the beach, and get a drink at one of the many coffee shops we have, like Steady State Coffee Roasting, the succulent cafe and Baba’s, all in Carlsbad. Some of my favorite restaurants are in Oceanside. Think of The Wrench & Rodent for a special sushi, Dija Mara for Indonesian inspired food and I love the Belgian French fries guy on the Sunset Market every Thursday evening. In Carlsbad, I love Campfire, Jeune et Jolie and my hidden gem for pizza is Roosevelt Pizzeria in Carlsbad.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My students! They’re the reason why I am doing this. Whether they just want to have fun with their friends during a cooking get-together, or feel frustrated and want to understand cooking, I enjoy cooking with them all.
The questions they ask remind me of my younger self at the start of my culinary journey, so I know no question is silly. I want to encourage them to experiment and learn to trust their own taste buds to determine if their food is done and to taste.
In turn, I learn from everyone I cook with. Each has their own story and experiences, and I love to hear them. We talk about ingredients and meals they grew up with, places they visited, ways to cook dishes. Every class I learn something too. I couldn’t do this without my students.