RICHMOND, California– In the kitchen of her home in Richmond, California, cookbook author Kristina Cho prepares to bake a delicious treat.
“That’s all that’s needed for the perfect milk bread.”
As she combines the ingredients and puts them in the food processor, she reflects on her love of cooking.
“What I love most about cooking is eating and watching someone else eat the food. I love watching someone who’s never eaten a meal from me before take a bite and you see that split second in their eyes where they’re like, ‘this is really good.’ That’s my favorite moment.”
Kristina Cho is the author of Mooncakes and Milk Bread, an award-winning Chinese baking cookbook. Her love of cooking began with watching her family in the kitchen.
“I feel like I was born into it. My grandparents owned Chinese restaurants when I was growing up, so I was always surrounded by really good cooks. I probably started out as a really avid eater. It wasn’t until I was 13 that I started baking myself. Baking gave me a lot of solitude and independence in the kitchen.”
Kristina pursued a career in architecture but always retained her love of baking. She used it as a hobby to relieve stress from her career.
This led to her starting her own food blog called Eat Cho Food.
“I got it because I’ve always loved reading food blogs.”
After a while, her blog gained popularity and her audience grew.
“More people seemed interested in the food I was sharing. I look at Instagram and the blog as a medium to reach people who are interested in what I write. But it still blows my mind that there are people out there.”
When Kristina began to feel dissatisfied with her job in architecture, she focused more on her blog.
“I remember the day I decided to quit my job. At the same time, my current literary agent emailed me and said, ‘I think you have a really good voice and you should write a cookbook.’ I just took it as a sign of the universe saying, ‘Hey, you should try it.'”
Kristina saw the need for a cookbook that covered more than just the superficial Chinese baking. She wanted to be sure to add context and culture to the recipes.
“When I got my book deal, I took it on as a really big responsibility. Being able to share the stories and history of Chinese baking.”
Her cookbook Mooncakes and Milk Bread has since been included in a number of Best of cookbook lists and has even won two prestigious James Beard Awards.
One of Kristina’s trademarks is “The Almighty Pineapple Bun”.
“When I wrote the top note for pineapple buns, my first instinct was to talk about them being my dad’s favorite. And how my dad would save money to go to Hong Kong bakeries to spend on a pineapple bun because it was a treat.”
Kristina believes her background as a second-generation Chinese American has shaped her in many ways.
“I think writing this book helped me to acknowledge that I have all these different facets of myself.”
Her parents are both from Hong Kong and Kristina herself grew up in Ohio.
“I’m a Midwestern kid. And now I’ve lived in the Bay Area for almost nine years, so I have all these different facets of my life that I’m trying to express through my food.”
Visit Kristina’s blog and learn more about her, her recipes and her book here.
https://6abc.com/kristina-cho-eat-food-blog-mooncakes-and-milkbread/12427202/ ‘Eat Cho Food:’ How Kristina Cho turned her food blog into an award-winning cookbook