My short on-line profile reads:
Proud to call Lotusland my hometown. Cultural explorer: Love good food, good drink, good company & learning about the special places they come from.
“I” for Irene, “I” for the nickname I had on my high school track team. An “I” as in an “eye” to observe; my observations. (and the idea behind my eye chart logo)
Growing up in “Lotusland” – Vancouver, British Columbia was a wonderful experience and it opportunity to be grow up among many different cultures and try many foods from around the world.
I also consider myself very lucky that my parents believed that since we had immigrated to Canada, we had to learn about the country we had chosen, and learn to try and experience it as much as possible. What seemed like a big deal of going to Denny’s for breakfast after church, or The Old Spaghetti Factory was the start of getting out to eat. I was also lucky the my eldest sister was so interested in food. For her birthday celebrations, she picked cuisines like Japanese, Indian, Thai, or Greek, and it really reinforced a love for a variety of cuisines and flavours an the openness to try something new.
I remember my parents used to have some rip roaring parties for New Years… Perhaps this contributed to what I jokingly say my “late start in life” – not really drinking really anything until getting my first full-time job in the wine and spirits industry. I have taken some intro wine courses, but attended many tastings with wine makers, distillers, other educators and writers so have learned from some wonderful people. I’ve developed a passion for whisky along the way as well as the #whiskyfabric – the wonderful people who have welcomed me into their circles and are generous with their knowledge, stories and drams.
A twitter friend named me as a “Cultural Explorer” because I am so interested in the world around me and love learning and meeting people. One of the nicest compliments that I’ve received is, “Irene can have a conversation with anyone about anything.”