We love when you share how you Prepare Daringly with Junbi, so when we saw Stephanie (@chefanietea on Instagram) share how to make a delicious mango matcha latte, we knew we had to learn more about what inspired her to cook creative dishes outdoors! It’s amazing to learn more about creators and their process, and we wanted to share that with you– our Junbi fam! Keep reading to learn more about Chefanie Tea ⟶
Hi Stephanie, We are so excited to learn more about you! Thank you for joining us here on the Junbi Blog.
Can you tell us about how you started cooking?
Growing up, I would watch my parents cook in the kitchen. Occasionally, my parents would let me help by kneading dough or cleaning and chopping vegetables. Where I found my real love for cooking was the outcome of creating something and sharing it with family, then seeing their expressions of love, comfort and happiness with just one bite. From there my love of cooking continued to grow. Since my parents were the ones who always cooked Chinese and South East Asian foods at home, my oldest sister would always test out American or non-Asian foods instead and I credit my sister for helping pave that path for me. We love to cook all types of cuisines in my house! My family also owned restaurants all throughout Southern California so food and cooking has always been in my blood.
What was the first thing you cooked that you were super proud of while camping?
The first thing I can remember cooking while camping was a classic Asian-style breakfast which includes, Chinese sausage, fried eggs, and toasted baguette, topped with seasoning sauce, green onions, and lots of chili oil. It’s honestly the best breakfast ever!
In general, while on camping trips, I love cooking nostalgic foods that I grew up eating. I’m so proud to showcase that cooking anything is possible—camp food isn’t just limited to cooking burgers, chili, and instant noodles (although there are definitely many ways to elevate each dish respectively).
It’s not easy to make such delicious food while outside of your own kitchen. What is your motivation and do you have any tips?
My motivation for cooking outside of my own kitchen is that I LOVE food and I love making my friends and family happy with food! I usually go on camping trips with friends and family so I always volunteer to take care of the meals for our trips. With my camp kitchen setup, it feels like I’m right at home in my own kitchen, except it’s a little more therapeutic than cooking already is for me. I love to see the smiles on my family and friend’s faces when their taste buds are happy and their bellies are full.
To make cooking outside of your own kitchen easier on yourself, I’d say plan out your meals and prep ingredients accordingly so that you can whip up a quick and delicious meal quickly. And always prepare a little more than enough because there’s always room for some extra hungry people! Have fun with it and get creative—you can truly make anything.
When did you begin creating content online? / What was your experience like?
I’ve always wanted to start creating content when Youtube first really took off, but fear of the unknown and my own insecurities really held me back so I would create and never post anything at all. Just videos and photos taking up space in my phone haha. It was a constant battle with myself because I let myself believe that no one would be interested in me and my life or what I had to share. The pandemic really put life into perspective, and I took a leap of faith and decided to really put effort into making content at the beginning of 2022. I no longer let my self-doubt get the best of me.
It’s been a solid 10 months of creating content online, and I can honestly say, I love it so much! I’ve grown exponentially compared to what I thought I was ever capable of thus far, and I have so much gratitude and love for anyone that has supported me and continues to support me. Don’t get me wrong—there are days I still can’t believe I get to do what I love, and I do get lazy sometimes, but I try to give myself lots of grace.
We love that you incorporate food and travel! What is your favorite place you have visited?
Thanks so much! I believe that food and travel go hand in hand. If anyone truly knows me, you would know that I travel for food. Whether I’m in the middle of the forest, excited about cooking camp food on my griddle, or embracing culture throughout the world and trying new things within each respective cuisine.
My favorite places I’ve visited are Japan for food, culture, and food and Zion national park for the views and adventures.
What are some of your favorite dishes you have eaten while traveling?
Some of my favorite dishes while traveling are brunch in Melbourne, Australia and fire roasted sticky rice in bamboo from the oceanside of Cambodia.
Melbourne is known for their brunch— everything down to the plating, palate, and ingredients are just amazing!
My family embraces Cambodian culture and food as my parents were both born and raised there but we are ethnically Chinese. I love all Cambodian food, but whenever I think of Cambodia, I think of the fire roasted sticky rice in bamboo while hanging out at the beach with my family. Doesn’t sound like a lot but it’s a sweet dessert that is very aromatic from coconut milk, smokey, and there’s a nice bite from the red beans. It’s so good and what sucks is I can’t find it anywhere that makes a killer one stateside.
What are some of your favorite dishes to prepare?
I love making everything! I definitely specialize in Asian food, but I pride myself in being able to cook any type of cuisine. One of my favorite things I love to do is recreate dishes that I love from restaurants. It’s a challenge that keeps my creative juices flowing and keeps me excited about cooking!
The recipe I’m currently trying to perfect is Thai boat noodles. There’s so much trial and error in this recipe so far, but once I figure it out, I think that will be my favorite dish to cook.
Who (or what) is your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration is, first and foremost, my family. Majority of my family are amazing cooks and chefs so I’ve been spoiled with the best my entire life. The heart of the family was my grandmother, who passed away a long time ago, but she’s the one that taught my family everything and we’ve all taken what she’s taught us and ran with it to create our own styles of cooking and perfecting our own specialty recipes. We’re always in the kitchen, and my favorite memories are of being in the kitchen, cooking, laughing, and eating together as a family.
Do you have any tips or advice for anyone looking to get more into cooking?
Just go for it. Have fun with cooking. The more you practice, the better you’ll get. Cooking is like a science experiment. Yes, there are lots of components, but once you get down the basics of cooking and flavoring, you can figure it all out after that. Know that for the most part, you can always fix what you're cooking. If something is too salty, add a pinch of sugar, or if something is too spicy add a little acidity. You’ll gain intuitions about how to go about balancing flavors with more practice.
How did you learn about Junbi?
Here’s a bit of a fangirl moment for me, haha. I’ve been a fan of June and Dan + Ana and Jeremy for a long time, and I learned about Junbi from them!
I love matcha so I’ve obviously been to Junbi’s brick and mortar in Rowland Heights!
How do you Prepare Daringly?
How I Prepare Daringly is to take lots of chances. You miss all of the shots you don’t take, so I try my best to go for it. As reckless as that may sound, to me, it makes sense. If I know I want to accomplish a goal or make something happen, I know that no one else will do it for me. No one will ever work as hard for you as yourself.
If you don’t break out of your comfort zone your goals will be waiting for you forever, and the worst thing you can do is to always be left wondering “what if?” Or “I should’ve, could’ve, would’ve”. Don’t live life with regrets because life is short.
Thank you so much for your inspiring words Stephanie! Whether you’re passionate about cooking, traveling, matcha, or anything else, these are incredible words to live by. For more delicious recipes, mouth-watering eats, and words of wisdom, follow Chefanie Tea on Instagram!
You can get 10% off of our Daily Ceremonial Matcha Tins if you subscribe. Just set up how often you would like us to send it to you, and our matcha will be delivered to your doorstep on the regular!
Are you a creator who is passionate about Junbi? Whether you’re a chef, food blogger, artist etc., we want to hear from you! Shoot us a DM @junbimatcha on Instagram for a chance to be featured in our next blog interview!