INTERVIEW with JULIE MICHELE TUTTLE, author of NOSH WITH CHEF JULIE, VEGAN JOURNAL
It's not every day that we get to celebrate food and writing at the Book Pound, and that's why we're so excited to learn more about Julie Michele Tuttle, a writer and chef who focuses on vegan cuisine.
Many thanks to Julie for sharing her insights about writing, food, and publishing.
I first started writing after I graduated from Johnson and Wales University with my culinary arts degree. I had learned so much and wanted to share what I knew and make my own way in the world of cooking. So I started a blog to create recipes and to organize them to become my inspiration for writing my cookbooks. I have been writing my blog for over three years now and I still love writing it.
Tell us about the process of publishing your guided journal.
My journey with writing the guided journal is a personal one. I have always had a passion for learning. I was always reading about nutrition, and how food works with our bodies. Almost 10 years ago now I quit smoking and started to exercise for the first time in my life. It was the best decision I ever made, and lead me into going back to school and where I am today. Food started to taste better, I started to cook more, and I wanted to learn more about the food system and how it all worked. So I watched some documentaries like Food, Inc, Earthlings, and Forks Over Knives. They're eye-opening and some are hard to watch but it made me realize how awful the food system and factory farming really are. I went vegan practically overnight. I wanted to help the animals and the planet by not buying into that system and fill my body with healthier foods. In the beginning, I was so lost on how to start, how to shop, and knowing how to eat in a whole new way. So I started my own journal to document my feelings, what I ate, how I felt. It was a long process and the social aspects of being vegan are also something to work through. It was hard for me, in the beginning, to go out to eat, knowing what to order, and holiday dinners always left me eating salads and sides. I started reading more vegan blogs and checking out hundreds of vegan cookbooks at my library to try new foods and recipes and to discover how other people did it. In the Vegan Journal book, I also included a chapter on self-care. It's so important and I never realized it for myself until I went through the process, and going through that made me a better person. I gained more confidence in myself and my journey. It made me want to help out other new vegans or others that were curious about it. So I decided to write the book and put it out there.
Do you think cooking and writing have any similarities? Do the two activities complement each other?
For me personally cooking and writing goes hand in hand. I love to do both and each time I work on one, it inspires me to work on the other. I always have a notebook next to me when I'm cooking and taking notes. I'm always trying out recipes for my blog or a future cookbook. When I'm writing I like to reflect on what I know, how I can help others in their journey in cooking, and in themselves too.
What are you working on now?
Right now I'm working on my third cookbook. It will showcase vegan recipes but also vegetarian and more flexitarian recipes with a focus on healthier ingredients with lots of vegetables and whole grains. I wanted to include recipes for the people that still eat meat, but want a healthier choice where it's the accent of the meal instead of half the plate. For the people that are plant-based curious and are perhaps transitioning into veganism or just trying to consume less meat or dairy products. The recipes will also have vegan notes in them that show what you can substitute in each recipe to make it vegan, so It works for everyone.
I've always been a little obsessed with cookbooks. I have checked out hundreds from the library and I'm always looking through my personal collection for ideas and inspiration for my work. I learned to write them from reading cookbooks from all the best chefs out there. I looked at formats, how they styled the fonts and photographs, and tried to implement them in my own way. I'm a very organized person and like simple things so I like my writing to reflect that. The recipes I write are clean with simple instructions in a clear layout that make it enjoyable for anyone to cook. I also learned from school how to read and follow recipes well and that always stuck with me. I learned the clearer you are at writing your recipes the easier it is for the readers. In the beginning, when I started writing my blog I had a plan to turn them all into a cookbook. I found Amazon's Create Space platform for self-published authors and it turned out to be a great fit. I organized all my best recipes and divided them into chapters based on meals and then it slowly started to take shape. I took inspiration from others but found my own path and now I love creating cookbooks, and I have ideas for probably twenty more!
Is there anything else you'd like to tell BookPound readers?
I wanted to thank you for this opportunity and to your readers also!
To get the Vegan Journal book, and to see my other works- here's my author page on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B078PNHZB7
For my food blog and all my latest recipes go to https://noshwithchefjulie.com/