How No Recipes Came to Be

Some kids know exactly what they want to do when they’re four years old. Be it a doctor, policeman, or astronaut, most kids seem to have some notion of a dream job at an early age. Sure, many of them probably go on to become something entirely different, but they put a stake in the ground that their parents can reminisce about during adulthood visits home.

I was a bit different. Few things could hold my attention for more than a few days, so it was hard to get too fixated on any one career. If I were born 10 years later, I probably would have been diagnosed with ADD and put on a regimen of Ridlin. My interests fluctuated more than 80’s hairstyles. One day I’d be begging for an electronic keyboard for Christmas, like a salivating dog pleading for a piece of pot-roast, only to tire of it by New Year’s Day. Video game consoles were a safer bet because you could interchange the cartridges (am I dating myself?), but I’d rarely play a game from start to finish before boredom set in and I’d take the game apart to see what was inside.

When it came time for college I had no idea what I wanted to major in, so I picked the easiest school to get into, and went in undeclared. Five years, three schools, and a handful of majors later, I somehow managed to emerge with a degree in communications. This was akin to going to the French Laundry and ordering french fries because I couldn’t decide what I wanted.

It didn’t really matter though, because by this time, I was already on my second career leading a team of web designers at a tech startup. A fascination with technology is one theme that carried through my childhood. Lacking the Asian math gene as it were, web design was my ticket into Silicon Valley.

Another theme that’s been with me since childhood is a love for travel and photography. With parents living on two continents and the rest of my family on a third, I spent most of my childhood summers somewhere between Australia, California and Japan. I learned at a young age, that getting on a plane meant escaping my banal suburban existence, and it fast became an adventure I craved. I lump photography into this bucket because I got my first camera while traveling, and I loved the way it could capture those transient moments when I felt most alive.

The last theme is one that’s stuck with me like eggs on a cold pan. If you haven’t guessed by now, it’s food. I’ve been in the kitchen since before I can remember, and I was making my own birthday cakes before I’d left elementary school. One might preclude that I should have become a chef in a restaurant, but the long hours, and often thankless job, never appealed to me much. The closest thought to a career in food came to me after reading Ruth Reichl’s Tender At The Bone. I pictured myself living the life of a food writer, but that seemed like such an impossibility given my professional life at the time, in direct-response marketing (my third career).

Imagine my delight when I moved to one of the best eating cities in America, and I discovered Yelp. I didn’t know anyone here back then, so I spent my evenings exploring the gastronomic wonderland that is Manhattan, and my nights writing about it for an audience that cared. Like kindling on an ember, my interest in food writing was soon roaring out of control. One thing I love more than eating out, is cooking though, so when I finally moved into my apartment and the shininess of the endless stream of restaurants wore off, I started cooking again. I’d cook for friends, colleagues, or even strangers, and this endeavor would inevitably lead to a request for a recipe; to which my response was almost always “no recipe”.

I started this blog as a place to teach my friends technique, while giving them the confidence and inspiration to cook without recipes, but it’s grown into much more than that. It’s become a place were over a hundred thousand readers like you come to check out my adventures in the kitchen each month. It’s also become the dream job that I never knew existed as a child.

It wasn’t until much later, but it occurred to me that food blogging is the confluence of all those childhood themes I mentioned. That’s why I believe I have what it takes to be the next food blog star, and why I’m asking for your help to make it happen. Foodbuzz has set out to find the next big thing in food blogging, and they’ve set out 10 challenges, where you can vote on each challenge to decide who makes it to the next round. Check out my contestant profile, follow me on Twitter, and subscribe to my RSS feed so you know when each challenge goes live. Then, be sure to vote during the following dates:

  1. Ready, Set, Blog! – SEP 20-23
  2. The Classics – SEP 27-30
  3. Luxury Dinner Party – OCT 04-07
  4. Picture Perfect – OCT 11-14
  5. Recipe Remix – OCT 18-21
  6. Road Trip! – OCT 25-28
  7. Video 411 – NOV 08-11
  8. Piece of Cake – NOV 15-18
  9. You’re the Critic – NOV 29-27
  10. The Final Post – DEC 06-09

If you’re wondering what the deal is with all the desserts, it’s because life is sweet when you’re doing something you love. I hope you enjoy reading NoRecipes as much as I enjoy writing it!

  • Anonymous

    Great post, Marc! I’m with you- I couldn’t ever decide what I really wanted to do and ended up doing communications in college as well. It’s funny how that becomes a default major, but I’m glad I did it. I have to say that it is quite intimidating being in this contest with you. Good luck! Can’t wait to see what you have in store for the upcoming challenges!

    • Anonymous

      If it makes you feel any better, I’m going to be traveling through the first
      half of the contest, so I’ll have a bit of a handicap;-) See you in Tokyo!

  • Joan Nova

    I can definitely see you standing at the end…but I hope to give you a ‘fight’ for as long as I’m in it. :) Great post and introduction.

  • http://catesworldkitchen.com Cate

    I absolutely love your blog, and reading this back story makes me love it even more. Fabulous post, and good luck!

  • Janis

    Beautiful post!

  • http://twitter.com/sippitysup sippitysup

    You most certainly have what it takes. I have you on my short list for the top. Good Luck, it’s going to be a lot of fun. GREG

  • http://twitter.com/eatlivtravwrite eatlivetravelwrite

    Marc you are formidable competition. I am proud to be competing against you. Good luck – I am sure you will go far. You certainly have what it takes!

  • Anonymous

    Marc, your recipes are superb, your photos are gorgeous and I feel EXACTLY the same way as you do: searching for you in different jobs and culminating in the food blog experience. Well done and best of luck. I’ll be rooting for you

  • Prerna@IndianSimmer

    Nice writeup Marc! No need to tell you how I drool over your photographs and lovely recipes. You have what it takes to be the next food blog star! Good Luck to you and keep us posted about every challenge.

  • http://twitter.com/JunBelen Jun Belen

    Such a wonderful first post, Marc. I stumbled upon your blog not too long ago and was instantly impressed. It is such an inspiration to me who has just started writing about food. I can definitely relate with not knowing what I really want in life. I have switched careers twice in the past twelve years and I’m still figuring out what to do next.

    Best of luck to you,
    Jun

  • http://www.pastrychefonline.com/ onlinepastrychef

    Well said, Marc! I’ve always loved your philosophy of cooking. Best of luck in Project Food Blog–wouldn’t be at all surprised if you’re the one left standing after Challenge #10!

  • Anonymous

    Great post Marc, best of luck in the contest! :)

  • http://coconutcrumbs.blogspot.com Rachel

    Yes Marc, I do enjoy your writing style and food photography immensely! A sincere best of luck. And you’re absolutely right; life is sweet when you’re working hard at something you love.

  • TheEnchantedCook

    Okay I give up – you win :-) Your post is fantastic and from the heart. Your photos are extraordinary and so is your writing. Best wishes in the challenge! (PS, just kidding about giving up, but you are clearly a winner!)

  • Peter G

    What a wonderful, heart felt account of your life and its connection with food! Good luck in the competition!

  • Savory Sweet Living

    I love your post and the personal story. Great job and the pictures are beautiful. Good luck with the competition!

  • Nate @ House of Annie

    You got my vote! Cheers and aloha.

  • http://croquecamille.wordpress.com/ Camille

    I always love your photos and your philosophy about cooking – Recipes are fine sometimes, but it’s almost always more fun to just experiment! Good luck in Project Food Blog!

  • http://twitter.com/NancyMatsumoto Nancy Matsumoto

    Good luck, Marc! I’m voting for you.

  • We are not Martha

    you are a stunning person. i love this post. definitely my favorite! and it’s funny, because reading the first couple paragraphs, about how you probably would have been diagnosed with ADD, totally struck a chord with me. i was all over the place growing up, was interested in almost everything at one point or another. it’s crazy where life can take you, but it’s amazing when it takes you to a place you know you belong. [chels]

  • Eileen Cristobal

    I admire your passion for food and writing! I’m totally voting for you and subscribing to your blog!

  • Anonymous

    I just voted for because i want you and me to be the last two standing. Then you beat me on the last round. That would be freakin’ awesome! :) Am i getting ahead of myself? :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1538670028 Jane Ko

    I enjoyed your entry very much. I’m still in college and I’m still not sure what I want to do. Hopefully everything will work out!

    Voted for you! Good luck on PFB :)

    I would like to invite you to participate in my giveaway
    http://atasteofkoko.blogspot.com/2010/08/mini-pistachio-tea-cakes-40.html

    Here is my entry for PFB http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/1/view/668

  • http://www.jacksonesque.com Mariko

    That is a well written post. And, as always, I am salivating over your pictures.

  • http://www.thesecondlunch.com Sam @ The Second Lunch

    Eloquently said, Marc. Thank you for sharing with us. Happy competing!

  • Delishhh

    How could i not vote for you? I have always loved your blog!

    http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/1/view/559

  • whatsfordinneracrosstatelines

    Wow Marc, I’m so glad to have found your blog! You’ve got my vote!

  • http://funandfoodcafe.com Mansi

    Such lovely photos!! I am a sucker for desserts, and right now your pics are making me seriously salivate!!! I’m a fellow contestant too, no way a match for your recipe-less posts though:)

    Good Luck, and you have my vote:)

  • http://www.thedailyspud.com Daily Spud

    I don’t know whether to be intimidated or just awed by the competition in Project Food Blog but you, Marc, have, indeed, got what it takes (and you’ve got my vote, for what it’s worth :) ).

  • http://twitter.com/Joyzhang516 Joy Zhang

    Marc you are so fascinating! You were definitely one of the first food bloggers that caught my eye when I started blogging a year ago — I love the modernism in your food photography.

    I think one of my favorite parts of your website was your ingredient list, you were the only person who had something like that and I felt it was so helpful. I can’t wait to see your entires as well and of course I voted!

  • Daydreamer Desserts

    Best of luck in the challenge, just sent one vote your way! :)

  • http://www.speakeasykitchen.com Speakeasy Kitchen

    I’m so glad you suck at math. I love your blog.
    – Charmaine

  • http://www.jacobskitchen.wordpress.com jacobskitchen

    Gorgeous photos as always! Really great post. You got my vote ! =)

    good luck!

    check out my PFB post: http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/1/view/503

  • http://indochinekitchen.com Jun

    Will you be in Indonesia on your Asian trip? And I don’t think the trip will be your handicap. It would serve best as your competitive advantage, you are covering two continents :)

    • Anonymous

      Nope, not on this trip, but It’s high on my list of places I’d like to
      visit:-)

  • http://www.tastewiththeeyes.com/ Lori Lynn

    YAY Marc! I’m voting for you! I always enjoy your posts and your photography is so fresh and crisp! Delightful!
    Good luck!
    LL

  • http://eatknitgrow.com Lindsay

    Your pictures are so amazing! I just gave you a vote! You can check out my post here: http://tinyurl.com/2ec2hlq Thanks and Good luck!!

  • Anna

    Wow, you have some beautiful photos. I’m glad I found your site and I can’t wait to try out some of your “recipes”. I agree, techniques, something people normally don’t teach, are oftentimes the most important “ingredients”. You definitely get my vote :D

    If you like, stop by my site and look around too :
    http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/1/view/197

  • Amy K.

    Great post! I also loved Tender at the Bone and fantasized about become a food writer/critic.

    You have my vote! Best of luck!

    Amy K.
    http://www.amykim.com/whatsfordinner

  • http://www.vinolucistyle.com Barbara | VinoLuciStyle

    I decided to vote for ten blogs which I did and then remembered yours. Oh well, hope no one will consider me a huge liar but I’m voting for eleven. Good luck.

  • http://www.singforyoursupperblog.com Amy (Sing For Your Supper)

    This is a GREAT post!! I love getting to know you through your writing- excellent! Voted!! :)

  • http://willowbirdbaking.wordpress.com Julie @ Willow Bird Baking

    I love your blog, and I love this post! Foods blogging was a confluence of life themes for me as well — in my case, a passion for writing and expression, a love of technology, and of course, a love of food.

    Just gave a vote to you – thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.lighterandlocal.com Kimmy

    Beautifully written posts… beautiful photographs… witty = love. You’ve got a vote! (in the tone of AOL’s “you’ve got mail!”). I’m taking part too, it’s fun to find all these blogs!

  • Anonymous

    Excellent post – I love it. I also think I have ADD in some sense (funny how our first posts echo that sentiment). Maybe it’s something that’s common among food bloggers!

  • Lemons and Anchovies

    Voting for you was a no-brainer. I know you’ll be progressing to the other challenges, no problem!

  • http://sians.blogspot.com sians

    a very enjoyable read. sending a vote your way :)

    good luck with the challenges!

  • http://www.theardentepicure.com/ Magic of Spice

    Great entry post ans wonderful blog. Love everything :)

  • Dan

    beautiful photos! Great job!

  • Megan

    I always love your posts and your fantastic pics. Your style is clean and uncluttered! ♥ that about your site – You had my vote already! – Megs

  • http://www.katrina-runs.com Katrinaruns

    Your pictures caught my eye on the contestant list! And I love the philosophy of “no recipes”. Many times, my mom has asked me for the recipe of something on my blog and I try to tell her how it all came about. You have my vote!

  • @lickmyspoon

    i love your pictures! i had a similar experience after reading “tender to the bone”. ruth is such an inspiration :) i really look forward to the dishes you are going to create. you got my vote.

  • http://www.passion4food.ca jen cheung

    hey ya! you have a lovely blog here. Stumble upon your blog through foodbuzz. :) I voted for your blog. hope that helps. Good Lucky !!!! feel free to drop by!!

    have a lovely weekend
    jen @ http://www.passion4food.ca

  • http://theveggie.wordpress.com/ theveggie

    I’m salivating at your pics! This was a great read. I think it’s wonderful that you finally uncovered your passion. I wish you luck and am now following your incredible blog, which I only found today (sadly). I will be voting for you and hope you make it to the final rounds b/c I am so excited to see what you produce.

  • http://twitter.com/thedukeatyelp Jenifer

    I absolutely love your story! Your blog is amazing and I can only hope that one day my food blog will be as interesting. I need to work on the updating before that can happen though! haha…

    I can’t wait to try your tonkotsu ramen recipe. It’s a very rainy day in San Francisco, soooo perfect for a piping hot bowl of yummy ramen. Off to Marukai. See you around!

    – Jen
    duke@yelp.com
    @thedukeofyelp

Welcome!

I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

Wallpaper Wednesday: Candy Shop
Miso Mackerel with Spicy Mustard Salad
Tai Escabeche
Eggplant Parmesan
Beef Teriyaki
Twice Cooked Pork (Huí Guō Ròu)
Oden
Frittata muffins