Wow, it’s hard to write an About Me. Is it just me or does this feel awkward?
I’ll just jump right in then. Welcome to Chocswirl, my name’s Robyn.
Yep, that’s me.
I live in Cape Town, South Africa where I work as an assistant pastry chef in a patisserie. I spend my free time baking, reading, photographing and spending time with my family and boyfriend, taste-tester, encourager and constructive critic, Gareth.
After years of strange, niggling symptoms I found out, much to my horror at the time, that I was gluten intolerant. Bummer? Well no, not really. It has taught me an enormous amount about food, forced me out of my baking comfort zone and lead me to an amazing community of regular and gluten free bloggers who genuinely want to help others.
The goal of Chocswirl:
While I am passionate about food in general, it is my goal to create a place where regular and gluten-free people can come to find recipes that work and learn the ins and outs of baking in a clear and simple way. Just because something looks impossible to make doesn’t mean that it is.
My journey to a love for food:
I’m not going to lie, I didn’t have the kind of sentimental foodie childhood that some have had the privilege of having. My first word wasn’t butter, I wasn’t sent out to fetch herbs from the garden for my dad as he worked his magic in the kitchen and I didn’t spend my young years perched on a stool beside the kitchen counter watching my mother transform butter, sugar and flour into baked goods with a sparkle in my eye.
Memories of food in my childhood instead go along the lines of my many phases of food dislikes (bananas, fish, egg yolks, then egg whites and don’t forget the pumpkin), my cousin, K, eating snails straight from the garden, midnight feasts with my childhood friend C, my dad nicknaming me the bottomless pit, and giggling until my stomach hurt while watching my younger sister, N, fall asleep at the kitchen counter, straight onto her half-eaten hotdog.
Don’t get me wrong, we love food in our family, we were just never that serious about it. It was a wonderful, often hilarious part of our daily lives that was there when it was there, but over when it was over. I didn’t dwell on it. It just was.
Things changed over the years. I watched my Dad fall in love with food. He began to cook more and more, often taking the reins from my Mom as soon as he got home from a long and stressful day at work, pausing only to change his shirt. Although my mom has always cooked great food, she has never been overly passionate about it and so was only too happy to hand the kitchen over to my dad on occasions such as these.
Food went from being a normal everyday occurrence to being absolutely essential. It was no longer just there for nourishment and a few laughs, but for the coming together of family. I didn’t know it at the time but it silently took root in my heart. I had just finished a BSc at Stellenbosch University when the question of finding a job came up. What was I going to do with the rest of my life? Work behind a desk or in a laboratory all day? The idea made me crazy. I had no passion for it.
I realised then that my only real passion, even if unexplored, was food. I asked God if it was the right thing, and everything just fell into place.
The past 2 years have been an amazing journey. I have studied something I am passionate about, learnt (and still am learning) the ropes from an amazing pastry chef who I can now call a friend as well as my boss, discovered my passion for photography and writing, and loved every second of it.
There have been struggles, like discovering my gluten intolerance, but even the struggles have shaped my life into something better. Going through these struggles and in turn being able to help others is a huge privilege. Whether or not you are gluten intolerant, you want to enjoy food.
I hope you enjoy this space as much as I love having you here.
Xx Robyn xX
P.S Who are you? I’d love to know more about you so leave a comment if you feel like sharing!