by Kiki Athanas
October 16, 2016
Ever since transitioning over to a more plant-based diet, I've been becoming more and more adventurous with trying new foods, and the one that sticks out the most has got to be kimchi.
This probiotic, gut-friendly food - originating from Korea, where they have it as a side-dish to literally everything - has not only opened my eyes to the endless benefits of fermented foods, but also deepened friendships, inspired photoshoots in Korean markets, and taught me the trials and tribulations of running a food business.
Let me explain...
It all started when I had the kimchi poutine from Live Organic Food Bar, hands down my favourite restaurant in the city...and of all time. Soon after tasting the delicious topping they featured on those unique taro root fries, I was sold. No really, I bought Gaby's kimchi right there and then - they sell it in their restaurant, and now, luckily for me, it's available at basically every health-focused grocery store in my neighbourhood. I live in downtown Toronto, so needless to say I'm spoiled with options.
Ever since, I have been gobbling down the glory that is Gaby's Kimchi.
Until one day, I met Ashley*, who has since become a dear friend of mine. *Side note: volunteering at your local yoga studio introduces you to the finest of souls - I highly recommend it!
Ashley had lived in Korea for 5 years, and during her time there, she learned the art form of making true, authentic Korean-style, big-batch Kimchi. Upon discovering my love for this superfood, she invited me to a "workshop" at hers, to pass along this gift (or, rather, her sacred "teachings").
A whole lotta chopping later, I was a fully-capable kimchi maker and connoisseur - complete with disgustingly garlicky fingers (embarrassing but true).
It was the start of something truly great, and we since went on to make and sell it at local farmers and flea markets. Furthermore, it inspired me to blog about it and get featured in a variety of online health and lifestyle sites, and has even given me the the confidence to make my own kombucha too!
Ferment one thing. Ferment EVERYTHING. It's a slippery slope my friends...
Anywho, in all honesty, while keeping up a kimchi side hustle has proven to be more difficult, bureaucratic, and time-consuming than we initially thought or would have liked...it's been an adventure I wouldn't give up for the world.
I can only hope one day that I'll be able to show my face at PAT MART on Bloor St., after shamelessly posing with cabbages for a photoshoot I took for Deux Magazine...