Ivana is a self-taught chef with 8 years of experience in the food industry which includes owning her own bakery for 4 years in Canada. Ivana specialises in allergen-friendly meals and her cooking style is health-focused, fun and delicious, using seasonal and local ingredients. All ingredients used in her dishes are from the farmer's market where possible.
Cooking and baking is rooted in my childhood. It's been a driving force in my life, ever since I was first able to reach the kitchen counter. I loved watching my mom and my grandmother put together delicious dishes for my family. I remember waiting with anticipation for the dishes, filled with food to make it to the table. Chatter would be replaced with the kind of silence that happens when food is too good to speak.
In 2013, my younger sister became incredibly ill with an autoimmune disorder. Most food made her sick and she was increasingly unable to eat what’s considered to be ‘normal food.’ I started to educate myself, focusing on how certain foods can contribute to illness while other foods can help us to heal. I began to realise that I could create really wonderful food and baked goods that are healthy and delicious. I saw how much joy my sister had when she could eat food again. Now I know that many other people go through what my sister went through and I’m confident I can help them through the meals I create.
My greatest joy comes from being able to feed people -- especially those who have dietary restrictions or allergies. There is food at almost every occasion and it brings so much joy to people. I show my love for people through my cooking. I love creating specific menus, meals and desserts for my clients. There is also the adrenaline rush of working in a kitchen, getting orders done on time, the long, odd hours. It’s magic.
I went to the University of Waterloo in Canada for a social work degree. If I wasn’t so in love with food I would probably have gotten a job helping unhoused people or working in the foster care system. It’s really important for me to help people. Right now, I’m trying to do that through food but if I had to choose something else it would definitely be to help people find housing, jobs and resources to have a healthy, stable life – things we all deserve.
I get asked this question a lot and I never know how to answer it without involving something to do with food. When I am usually not working, I am testing new recipes in the kitchen or spending countless hours on the computer watching cooking videos or looking at pictures of plated meals. When a family member or friend finally drags me out of the kitchen, you can find me taking long walks in nature, working out, doing yoga, secretly stalking corgis in the park and attempting to read a (non-cook) book every month.
In the next five years, my goal is to own a farm-to-table restaurant that creates an inclusive food culture. I want people to be comfortable coming to eat at my restaurant no matter what restrictions they might have with food and know that they are being taken care of. I would love to support local regenerative farms and only use the best ingredients in regard to nutrients and for the environment.
I have only lived in London for a week, so TBD.