Although my heart and soul belongs to writing, I have another love. I love and appreciate good food (my co-workers would undeniably agree with this statement!). One of my not-so guiltiest pleasures is donuts.
My love for them goes soooo deep that I used to binge watch episodes of Donut Showdown – a program on the Food network where contestants compete to create the ultimate donut and win a monetary prize.
I honestly believe that I have seen every episode at least a million times!
When I attended the How She Hustles Pop Up shop last November, my jaw practically dropped when I saw Amanda Hamer walk in (psst…she’s a Donut Showdown contestant). I completely fangirled and lost my damn mind when I spoke to her and told her that I loved her on the show and that I needed to try the donuts she made on the show. #shameless
By the way, Amanda is not the super intense girl we saw on the show. She’s a tiny, sista who is quite delightful, sweet and has the most soothing voice I’ve ever heard! When I spoke with her for the interview, her voice was very gentle but gradually got more intense as she spoke about her love of food.
For the interview, I didn’t want to mainly focus on her Donut Showdown episode; I wanted to share how her love of cooking began and included info on her new gig at FUSE restaurant.
To find out more about Amanda’s love of cooking, keep reading!
Hometown: Regent Park, Toronto, Canada
Astrological Sign: Cancer
Years cooking: “All my life!”
Fun Fact: Amanda doesn’t eat junk food, but does love a decadent chocolate caramel cheesecake
Who taught you how to cook?
My mother was an amazing, phenomenal cook…there was always food in the house. She always made things from scratch. She would only make West Indian food. It’s not that she taught me how to cook; it’s more that I picked up stuff from her.
How old were you when you started to cook?
My mother has recollections of me banging on pots and pans when I was really young, but I first started cooking by the age of 10. Easy stuff like cakes.
I also started cooking at camp (St. Bartholomew’s Children Centre). There was a rotation of days where we’d do crafts, another day we’d do sports, and days where we’d bake. I think between my mom and the camp I was able to express myself with food.
The Donut Showdown Experience!
What was the experience like competing on Donut Showdown?
For me, I don’t like competitions. I believe that cooking should be relaxing, enjoyable and it should be a spiritual encounter.
It was an enjoyable experience, but it was very stressful. I never did anything like that before.
Have you made any of the donuts you made on the show?
Oh yeah, all the time! I’m still doing the same recipes. After the show aired, nobody wanted anything else but the donuts!
For a while my kids were the most popular kids in school because everybody had seen the show. I had made donuts for their school and it was donut galore after that!
Tell me a bit about your position at FUSE restaurant.
I am the Sous Chef there. I work on the main menu, but I’m in charge of desserts too.
Chef Jerome and I have created a menu where it infuses everything global. We have West Indian and Asian influences, but we’re going to be revising the menu. I want to include different cultures.
What is it like being a woman in a male dominated industry?
You have to have a tough skin. To be a chef, you have to be headstrong. I am the only woman in the kitchen at Fuse, but the guys treat me with the outmost respect.
What is Edible Bliss?
Edible Bliss is my side hustle. It’s a collection of foods I’ve created over the past couple of years that people like and want. I make cakes, cookies and I cater small parties. I make main dishes, salads.
How do you stay so petite when you are surrounded by food?
About 6 years ago I woke up and I felt sick. I went to 5 different doctors, did head scans, MRIs, did blood work and they said nothing was wrong with me. And I’m like, “no, something IS wrong and I’m going to find out!” It led me to a more spiritual path and I looked into holistic medicine.
I gravitated to The Big Carrot (natural food store in Toronto) and started speaking to some of the staff. I was introduced to the book 21 Century of Stress.
I read that book and tried to pinpoint what was wrong with me. Then I came across something that said that it could be what you’re eating. I went to a natural allergist and found out that I was gluten intolerant.
I eliminated those foods out of my diet and I lost 50lbs. I wanted to eat healthy and feel better. I made that change. I can still cook decadent foods – I taste the food I cook at the restaurant, but I don’t eat it.
What do you suggest I order when I dine at FUSE?
As a starter, I would recommend the chicken and donuts. It’s pretty popular. Also, we have a gourmet mac and cheese. The jerk chicken supreme is also great!
Girl, you had me at chicken and donuts! I can’t wait to try it!
It was incredibly awesome speaking to Amanda about her love of food. Even though she cannot eat everything she makes, she still makes sure to put tons of love in every bite! Thanks so much for indulging me and having food talk. Thanks, Amanda!
For more information on Amanda, please visit the following links
Facebook: click here
*Bonus: Listen to Amanda’s answer on what inspires her to create dishes.
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