I can't express how grateful I am of each one of you and your support in my journey with Rainbow Nourishments. If it wasn't for each one of my followers and subscribers, I wouldn't be able to do what I do!
Everyday, I'm bombarded with questions about my life, cake business and many other things. Many of these questions overlap and are very similar so I thought I'd compile a FAQs! We are stronger as a group rather than as an individual so I think it's important to share information :).
What's your ethnic heritage?
My parents were born in Hong Kong and migrated to Australia is the 1970s. My brothers and I were born in Australia.
What do you do for a living?
Rainbow Nourishments is my full-time job! That includes running a cake business, developing recipes for this blog and developing content for my social media accounts.
INSTAGRAM AND PHOTOGRAPHY
How did you gain 100k+ followers?
Time, persistence and authenticity! I've never bought followers or engaged in tactics such as following and unfollowing people. I have posted almost every day for the last 3 years, constantly engaged with my followers and posted quality content. I've made some amazing friendships through Instagram and am so grateful for each one of them. I'm not sure if my authenticity (and babbling mouth) helped with my following, but I think it's always important to show a true side of yourself as people will always see through fakeness.
What camera do you use?
I use a Canon 800D with an EF 50mm 1.8 lens.
Do you edit your photos and if you do, what software do you use?
I edit my photos with Photoshop but only do it to bring out the beauty of food in the way I see it! For example, I might enhance a certain colour and enhance the contrasts. Most of the food I post on my social media and blog are seen by my Canberra customers so I always try to make sure my photos paint a realistic image of what the food looks like.
You're so skinny! Do you ever purge the food you eat from your blog to maintain your weight? (This is a real question, believe it or not)
MAKING CAKES AND MY CAKE BUSINESS
Did you go to a school to learn how to make raw cakes or are you self-taught?
I watched a few YouTube videos to learn the basics of raw cakes but I learnt everything else by myself. It took a lot of experimenting, patience and taste testing. I grew up with parents who owned restaurants and always loved decorating the cakes for their restaurants. I guess I learnt basic techniques when I was pretty young!
How long have you been making raw foods?
Apart from making smoothies (haha), I've been making raw foods for about 4 years!
How did you start your raw cake business? Was it hard to begin with?
To be honest, my cake business started by accident! My friend's mother was turning 60 and I offered to make her a raw vegan cake. It was a blueberry and salted caramel and was pretty average-looking in my opinion. I took a photo of the cake, posted it on a local vegan Facebook group then I started getting cake orders from strangers around the city! The second cake I made was a Golden Gaytime cake and it went viral in my local community and on the internet. The rest is history!
It was actually pretty easy to set up the business. I knew from my hospitality upbringing that I needed to find a wholesaler for ingredients, council approval of my kitchen, good marketing etc. It was harder to maintain the business and to find a way to be efficient and make enough money!
What equipment do you use in your kitchen?
I use a Kenwood Multipro Sense food processor and a Froothie Optimum G2.1 Platinum blender for my cheesecakes. I've tried various brands and am very happy with these two! For smaller items, such as blending chocolate, I use a Braun Multiquick Hand Blender.
What ingredients do you use in your cakes?
Most of my cakes have cashews, coconut oil, cacao butter, coconut cream, rice malt syrup, Himalayan salt, dates, sunflower seeds and whatever flavourings that make the cake unique.
What are the swirls on top of your cheesecakes made of and how do you make them?
The swirls on my cheesecakes are actually just more cheesecake! I chill the liquid cheesecake in the fridge for 2-4 hours. When the mixture has firmed up to the consistency of dense buttercream, I scoop the mixture into a piping bag with a star nozzle then pipe away.
I'm allergic to cashews. Can you recommend a substitute?
Macadamias can be used as a substitute in cakes (although I find them too rich). Sunflower seeds are delicious too! I've tried blanched almonds but they aren't soft enough, resulting in a grainy consistency.
I'm allergic to nuts. Can you recommend a substitute?
Yes, try sunflower seeds with a dollop of coconut yoghurt to balance out the richness of the seeds. My friend Audrey from the Unconventional Baker has an amazing sunflower seed butter cheesecake recipe.
Will you ever come to my country or city to do workshops?
In 2018, I'm planning to deliver food workshops in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney which are all in Australia. I'm definitely thinking of other cities (in Australian and internationally) to do workshops, so stay tuned!
For those people outside of Australia, I would love to set up online workshops so more people can have access to my workshops!
Are you vegan or do you just make vegan cakes?
100% vegan, baby!
Are you a raw vegan?
No. I live in a cold city in Australia called Canberra so I find it difficult, tedious and inconvenient to sustain a raw vegan style. In winter, I often just want hot soups and curries! I love most raw vegan foods (when it's made well) but I personally find it difficult to sustain 24/7. I've definitely tried it and it's not suitable to my lifestyle and not helpful for my mind as I come from a history of restrictive eating.
What's your vegan story?
I first tried going vegan when I was 14. However, I was living at home in a meat-orientated environment and was unable to maintain a balanced vegan diet. After a few years, I went back to my pre-vegan ways (without dairy), but I knew that, one day, I would try it again.
Around 10 years later, I was living out of home and endeavoured to have a lifestyle that had a minimal impact on the environment. I recycled everything I could, took shorter showers,walked almost everywhere, bought second hand clothes, used no plastic bags and the list goes on. Then the question hit me: If I'm conscious about the environment in so many parts of my life, why am I still choosing to consume meat and animal products? Why am I choosing to kill and torture animals? Why am I choosing to do all of those things to the environment?
I realised was still consuming animal products out of 'convenience' because I didn't want to be a hassle to non-vegan family and friends. I re-evaluated my values, started to actualise my beliefs and became vegetarian, then vegan. As I lived out of home, becoming vegan was relatively easy. For once in my life, I felt great that I was doing something that I actually believed in. I felt 'at home' and 'in peace'. Becoming vegan was one of the best things I have ever done for myself and the environment.
(shortened version from my ebook, which you can get here)
Do you find veganism restrictive?
Vegan food is as restrictive as you make it! I've definitely been restricted on a vegan diet (for example, when I was 14) but, through experience and learning how to cook, I've learnt how to have an abundance of nutritious and tasty foods while being vegan.
What are the easiest dairy substitutes?
For milk, I love soy or almond milk. For cream, I blend cashews with plant-based milk and use it in whatever recipe I need. There are heaps of dairy-free ice creams (I prefer anything with soy or coconut) or you can make your own banana 'ice cream' by blending frozen bananas with whatever flavouring you want. I have an on-off relationship with cheese but when I eat it, I opt for a good quality store-bought substitute (I haven't quite nailed making my own). If I'm making pizza, I'll use hummus instead of cheese. If I want parmesan, I'll use nutritional yeast as a cheese substitute. I'm happy to have vegan cheese on a pizza, but find out the brands that you do and don't like in your own town!
Oh and for chocolate, I love Loving Earth chocolate which you can get packaged at health food stores or unpackaged at Naked Foods (if you're based in Australia). Or you can make your own, using cacao butter, cacao powder, a sweetener and coconut cream.
Have people ever made fun of you as a vegan? If so, how do you deal with it?
Yes, absolutely! I'm not a confrontational person so, unless it's really bothering me, I try to change the topic or gently walk away. If the person is making teasing me, I don't waste my energy and walk away. If the person is up for a conversation, I'll discuss their thoughts and concerns with them and back myself up with evidence. Just say that it was impossible to go vegan when I was living at home... I'm pretty used to being in a non-vegan environment. However, it goes without saying that I prefer and enjoy being around people who are accepting of my lifestyle :).
Do you get digestion problems as a vegan?
My digestion has never been better!
I hope you enjoyed this post! If you have any other questions, feel free to leave me a comment below. Or if it's a more specific question, feel free to email me at [email protected] Much love xo