Caroline Ishii

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Born in Toronto, I am excited to return to the city after a long absence. I am finalizing a book, with taste memories and my experience in transforming my career from a marketing-communications consultant to award-winning chef, restauranteur, local food advocate and writer. The book is part cookbook, part biography, part industry tell-all, and each vignette in the memoir is framed as a food memory and accompanied by a recipe for simple, delicious, mostly plant-based fare. The book, "The Accidental Chef, Lessons Learned in and out of the Kitchen" will be launched in May 2016. The web site and blog is being
developed to complement the book.

Here is my profile from Linked In, which provides a good overview of my background:

Caroline has had a love and curiosity for food and flavours since she was a child in Toronto helping her mother prepare traditional Japanese dishes. This interest grew into a passion for the fundamentals and creativity of cooking while visiting Japan with her mother, and has informed her emergence in Canada as a gifted, award-winning chef, TV personality, and writer on healthy food and living.

Caroline was the creative force behind ZenKitchen and its executive chef – a gourmet vegan whole foods restaurant in Ottawa that enabled her to channel her trailblazing and fearless approach to cuisine. With Zen, she transformed old ideas about vegan cooking into food that was delicious, sexy and sophisticated. This bold new take on traditional ideas quickly gained a devoted following and critical acclaim for her innovative recipes, including the silver medal at the prestigious Gold Medal Plates competition two years running. Caroline has the distinction of being the first woman chef in Ottawa and the first-ever vegan chef invited to compete.

The creation of ZenKitchen was captured in a 13-part documentary-reality show called “The Restaurant Adventures of Caroline and Dave”, which aired on the W Network and on Air Canada in-flight entertainment, Asia Food Channel, and Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) Canada.

Caroline holds an Executive MBA from the University of Ottawa, which she earned during her successful consulting career in marketing and communications. In 2006, she enrolled in the professional chef program offered by the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in New York City, the leading chef school in the world focused on whole foods cuisine. Following her graduation, she studied with some of the best natural food chefs in the world in New York City, San Francisco and Tokyo.