Star Vancouver food reporter Erin Ireland makes the best banana bread in the world. There, I’ve said it.
I’ve been wanting to say it since I saw her recipe and photographs on her website at ItsToDie4.com. Look at the photo showing the addition of macadamia nuts and chocolate if you have any doubts at all. I’m a real fan of nice, moist banana bread and that’s what initially caught my eye when visiting Erin’s blog but I stayed around to get to know her.
Erin has loved playing with her food since she was about 5 years when her parents encouraged her to learn to cook. She started out with simple things like scrambled eggs and she continues to love simple, fresh ingredients. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Erin and I was as curious as could be about how she ended up a celebrity food reporter.
It seems her life has been preparing her for a career in food and broadcasting. While she’s always been a Vancouver woman, she went to university in South Carolina and learned to love trying new local foods such as southern fried chicken and pulled pork. Later she spent a summer in Tuscany (be still my heart) living with a family and helping out with their vegetable garden. She admits to eating figs off the tree for breakfast and sneaking sweet cherry tomatoes rather than doing much gardening. Who wouldn’t stop to eat those little red treasures if they could?
She returned to Vancouver intent on working in broadcasting and got a job hosting an entertainment news magazine about fashion, music and art. Occasionally she’d get an opportunity to interview a celebrity chef about food and enjoyed it so much that she decided to create a blog called It’s To Die 4. Her blog celebrates the good food in Vancouver, who the best chefs are, what the newest or best restaurants are serving and fantastic recipes like her world famous banana bread. She has used her blog as the stepping stone into broadcasting and reporting but continues to update it frequently to continue sharing her love of food.
Erin works as a food reporter writing a weekly column for Vancouver’s Metro Newspaper called Lunch Rush as well as a bi-monthly column in Vancouver View called The To Die for Face. Her article in the current issue is about a new cooking school in Vancouver called The Dirty Apron co-owned by ultimate gourmets Karri Schuermans and David Robertson. It must be inspiring to interview accomplished chefs and restaurant owners and find out what put them on their food path.
I asked Erin if she’s always perfect in the kitchen and my friends, the truth is out, she’s been known to put so much salt in a dish that nobody could eat it. That reminds me of the video of Julia Child back in the 70s when during a live television show she not only knocked over the jar of kitchen tools but also missed the plate when turning out the hot tarte tatin. As Erin and Julia both prove, it’s not about the cooking mistakes, it’s how you learn from them and happily move along.
When she’s not being a television host or posting on her blog or chatting with more than 4,000 of her loyal followers on twitter.com, she’s cooking for her partner. He is a food reporter’s dream man. He loves to eat and he loves doing the cleaning up – wrapping up any leftovers they have and delivering them to Erin’s Grandma.
When asked what ingredient she couldn’t live without she chose garlic, saying, “It’s hard to add too much. I love it roasted, spread on a fresh baguette, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sale.” Who can argue with that?
For most of us a chocolate muffin is great but Erin turns that muffin on its head by adding a bit of heat with her most recent recipe: Chocolate Muffins with Chili Spice with a chopped chili chocolate center. I’m not a huge fan of a lot of chili but it’s intriguing enough to try it.
What’s coming up for Erin? “On Monday I’ll be on Vancouver’s entertainment talk show, Urban Rush, talking ‘Best Lunch Spots in Vancouver’. In May I’m heading to France and Italy where I’ll shoot a few ‘food discovery videos’…which include me searching for the most interesting foods in the region.”
She’s definitely a woman who’s going places.