When George L. (‘19) graduated from high school, cooking was a hobby that connected him with his close friends and family. Fast forward to two years later, he is now an influential Instagram chef that inspires 17.2K people around the world. His love for his craft, along with hard work, one could say, was what brought George to where he is today.
As a high school student, George pursued his passion for the culinary arts by writing restaurant reviews for the Taipei Times and baking for his friends.
“George used to make banana cake and other pastries for our friends”, said Maggie L. (‘19) who is a close friend of George.
An opportunity for him to explore his interest came in the summer of 2019, and George took it without hesitation. The owner of a cupcake shop in Taipei has recommended George to attend a course at Le Cordon Bleu, a culinary school in Paris for the summer.
From the one month intensive course George learned the skills needed to work efficiently in the kitchen, but more importantly, it gave him a new perspective on food.
“I got tired of working with meat all day, and I wanted people to realize how flavorful plant based foods can be,” said George.
With this new vision in mind, George began to look more into plant based cooking. Soon, he realized that vegan Asian dishes are extremely underrepresented. This realization prompted George to start his Instagram account, which features his vegan take on traditional Asian dishes.
Of course, George did not find success overnight. It was only after he tried various recipes, learned to take better photographs and created connections with other influencers that George began seeing his platform grow. “The best day of my life was when I hit 1000 followers,” said George. Yet he did not stop there, he continued to test his limits, creating astonishingly creative dishes like Korean Baked Cauliflower and Vegan Pepperoni Pizza.
According to George, however, the most rewarding part of his job is seeing people getting amazed the same way he was when he first experimented with vegan food. “I am deeply humbled,” he said, “to know that I have hard core fans that love and try all my dishes. It keeps me going knowing that I am actively impacting other people’s lives.”
Moving forward, George hopes to explore with a new medium on his platform:videos. “It is concise and more personal,” he said. He is also working on writing a new cookbook titled “Vegan Taiwan” to feature his vegan take on Taiwanese traditional dishes.