Liew is a veritable whiz: a musician and mixed-media artist who is also an expert at creating easy Asian veggie meals -- something that she has started teaching to others.

She comes by her cooking honestly – she learned it.

dim sum

Liew, who also hails from Malaysia (like me), turned to vegetarianism more than a decade ago.

I was volunteering at my Buddhist temple and I learned how to cook vegetarian. I come from a family of meat-eaters, so I needed to cook for myself.

Through her Girl + the Kitchen (GTK) company, Liew holds cooking demos, caters and provides for private events, too.

Liew’s enthusiasm for vegetarian cuisine goes beyond trying to convert people. She wants people to “cherish every grain” as an ancient Chinese saying goes.

Her philosophy is to spread her knowledge about creating tasty Asian fusion veggie plates: “peaceful food.

I find in today’s world there’s a lack of sense of gratitude towards food. Food is for the body, for well-being. Soul food,” says the effervescent Liew.

vegetarian buns

It’s not a mystery, green eating affects the environment, your health, world hunger. The facts are out there, our diet choice really affects all these areas.

While she does express these concerns to me, Liew does not come across as preachy. She prefers to show people how to cook good vegetarian dishes so they’ll expand their culinary repertoire and through that, become “peaceful eaters.”

By the way, if you are interested in broadening your knowledge of greens, click on my Asian Vegetables article and while you're at it, find out more about Korea's Kimchi. And, you can always try out my recipe for Spicy Indian Cauliflower.

WEEKLY FOOD CLASS 

Liew, who calls herself a culinary artist, holds a weekly Tuesday night event in Toronto. For a price, people can learn and eat some terrific Asian vegetarian dishes.

Her Cooking Rendezvous is a type of social dinner starting at 6:30 at the Art Square Gallery Café, across from the Art Gallery of Ontario. Those interested in participating should book ahead of time.
Liew will cook and provide for a dinner while describing how she plans and prepares her Asian fusion dishes. Moreover, she talks about ingredients and where people can buy them to make those meals.

Most of the people who come are non-vegetarian. They’ll often tell me that if they only knew how easy it was, they would have switched a long time ago.

Liew teaches people how to make things such as seaweed salad, sweet potatoes with miso, stuffed peppers with soy-ham and mixed beans and dumplings. She likens it to an empowerment class in which people learn about the great food they can make and are provided the information and tools to do it themselves.

seaweed salad

In Chinese culture, you use a lot of seasonings and spices to make things taste good. I just teach people how they could do that with vegetarian dishes.”

The Cooking Rendezvous is an intimate event. Liew likes the idea that she’s showing people how to make “every day food” and the cooking demo is meant to feel as if she’s invited you to her home.

She’s passionate about her food and just wants to share that energy.

You know that question – ‘What do you want for dinner?’ – there’s so much in the answer!
Her campaign to transform her meat-loving family has had some effect. Liew says her mother recently bought a vegetarian cook book and she sees less meat in the dishes her family eats these days.

It took a several years but I don’t feel so lonely anymore.

Liew is expanding her talents these days, working on a cookbook and a TV show. Catch her while you can!