Today I am so happy to share an interview with one of my favorite people.  Olga is a blogging friend who I have had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know in person.  Last May at Eat, Write, Retreat we got to know each other and have been chatting ever since.  I love her website because it’s a great mix of unique recipes and local info on Washington DC.  It’s kind of like a little trip down memory lane.  Oh and it’s loaded with really gorgeous pictures – she is such a talented photographer!  Meet Olga!



Tell me a little bit about your blog and what you write about.

My blog documents my passion for food. It covers my original recipes, eating out adventures and culinary travels. I love sharing my creations with readers and be able to advise them where they would have an excellent meal out. It’s basically my food diary (but not the one where I write how many calories I’ve eaten!).

Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging to share anything and everything food related in my life with my family and friends. And then the readers came!

What is your earliest memory in the kitchen?

That’s a hard one. Not necessarily a true memory, but the story my parents have told me is that when I was really little, I would tell everyone who would listen how to make candy. Supposedly, I would say that all you need was water: stir it till you’ll have candy. I must have been 2 or 3 years old. A woman who overheard me on a bus asked my mom if this was true! Can you believe that?

Who or what influences you in the kitchen today?

Both my parents and grandparents cook. They hardly ever use recipes: instead, they use their imagination and what’s available. That’s exactly how I cook.

What is your favorite ingredient?

You can’t possibly make me choose just one. The things I always have around are garlic, onions, olive oil, and spices.

Everyone has a favorite recipe that we just can’t re-create the same way as our mom, grandma etc. Which recipe is
this for you?

My mom makes amazing split pea soup. I tried recreating it a few times by memory and with her advise, but it just did not work. Luckily, Aviva shared her recipe for split soup and, amazingly, it was spot on!

Who is your favorite “famous/celebrity” chef and why?

I would love to have a meal with Ina Garten. I love that she makes accessible food in a very calm manner. You can tell she really loves what she does.

Which of your recipes is your favorite?

I typically don’t make the same thing more than once, but there are a few exceptions. One is the recipe I made while I was in Daring Bakers: flourless chocolate cake. Another is Shakshuka: it’s an egg and tomato dish. The best thing about the dish is that not only is it quick and filling, but you can vary it by adding different spices and extra vegetables.

What was your least successful recipe attempt?

I just made beef stroganoff for the first time ever with a few friends: it was so good. How can you go wrong with beef, mushrooms, shallots and sour cream served over egg noodles?

Which kitchen tool couldn’t you live without?

My chef’s knife is the one kitchen tool I use all the time. But I also love my microplane.

Last meal. What would yours be?

Let’s see: there would be a TON of food: Russian potato salad , sushi, steak, watermelon, dark chocolate, tomatoes, mangoes, pickled vegetables, smoked salmon…obviously I have a hard time narrowing down my choices.

Anything else you’d like to add/share

Thank you so much for choosing to interview me! If your readers would like more information, they can find me on my website Mango & Tomato, on Twitter (@mangotomato), Pinterest (mangotomato) or Facebook.