Hi I'm Jem and I'm from San Francisco. My parents operated a Vietnamese restaurant throughout my childhood, so I love the sights, sounds, and smells of the kitchen. I work full-time and have an active social life, so truthfully I only cook about once a week, but these forays are often magnificent productions. I love to make up Italian recipes because I understand the ingredients, the balances, and harmonies intuitively. It's hard to mess up! For recipes, I turn to recipezaar (of course) and Martha Stewart's "Everyday Food"--my bible. It's great for the beginning cook because the pictures are beautifully photographed and the recipes are simple, yet visually appealing and delicious. I didn't learn much from my mom because she often shooed me out of the kitchen, which makes me quite feeble at preparing Vietnamese food. The one inherent cooking trait that she passed down is my love for garnishing. There's nothing like a radish flower or a carrot wheel to add a little pizzazz!