An Exploration of Food: Belinda Teh

What drives a person to pursue his or her dreams? Check out our newest inspirational feature on food lover and blogger, Belinda Teh, as she explains her love for food and how it connects us to one another:

I am mad about food. There are two elements to this thing that we shovel into our mouths three times a day (if we’re lucky). The first element is the physical aspect: how it tastes, what it looks like, its texture, is it salty, is it sweet, et cetera. You take exactly what is in front of you on your plate at face value, judge it by its physical characteristics and make an assessment. This is what many foodies do, from food bloggers to Instagrammers to fine dining critics. I enjoy this part of food blogging because I get to eat lots of yummy stuff, sometimes even for free, and share that enjoyment and satisfaction with the people I’m eating with and with my readers online. 

However, it’s the second element of food that really gets me: The human element. No matter what it is you’re eating, whether it’s a work of art at a Michelin star restaurant or a loaf of bread from the local bakery, somebody made that food happen. Somebody sat down, thought of an idea, got some ingredients together and took the time and energy to make something delicious for somebody else to eat. These people could have been doing anything else, but they decided to produce food. For you. But why? 

I have become obsessed with the answer to this “why”. Because every time that I put some time aside to go and ask the “why” to a chef or baker or ramen maker, the answer is always different, fascinating and wonderful. I have met Italian brothers who closed down successful trattorias to start a sandwich shop in Florence, because they love to see the looks on peoples faces the first time they have a porchetta and mozzarella panini. I have met a Californian flyfisher who left everything in the States to open a Cali-Mex restaurant in the South of France, because he was too comfortable and wanted to live life to the fullest.

The restaurant industry has become a place where the customers no longer know the faces of the people who cook for them, and it’s sad, because the physical aspect of food has taken over from the aspect that really matters: the people. 

And that’s just restaurants. What about the Kenyan farmer who planted the coffee tree that produced the beans in your Starbucks caramelatte? What about your mum who cooked you that secret family recipe dish last week when you had a bad day? What about the guy in the Paella food truck who shows up at every music festival, beach spot and weekend market? 

There are so many stories waiting to be discovered in the food that we eat, so much to learn about the world, and so much to be inspired by. I see food as a direct result of people, places and cultures. A tangible, edible reflection of people and their stories. This is the thing that gets me excited about food. It’s a way to explore the world.

About the Author: 

Belinda has been a food blogger for 5 years and is based in Perth, Australia. Her articles and reviews have been published in print and online media in Australia and abroad. She worked for 6 months in Kuala Lumpur at a marketing agency that discovered her food blog by chance, where she honed her digital marketing skills and blogging know-how. She is currently completing her law degree at the University of Western Australia and is planning a trip to Vietnam in March to make her first food documentary. You can check out her blog at www.whyyesidoeatconstantly.com.