The thing which has always stimulated my imagination was food, which with its flavor and scent, has invariably brought various corners of the world to my mind, the places which given dishes had their origins in. Exotic seafood or filling souvlaki have always reminded me of holidays which I used to spend in Greece, whereas spicy Currywurst or even more delicious Bratwurst have brought back the memories from the streets of Munich, which I used to stroll along. The earlier mentioned flavors and scents of dishes typical of a given country or region depicted its temperament and traditions, which their residents, since time immemorial, have been governed by. For me, personally, one of the most amazing aspects of traveling and getting to know new cultures has always been sampling the things which co-created a given tradition.
Unfortunately, it’s not always possible for us to experience everything on our own, it’s not always possible to visit the places, whose traditional dishes interest us the most. Luckily, the world is full of passionate people, who share their own experiences related to both traveling and the culinary scene of the places which they have just visited. Today, I’d like to invite you to the land of flavors and scents which will not only move you hundreds of kilometers away from your home, but will also allow you to experience flavors, which will change your life forever, and all these will be possible thanks to the wonderful Patrice Rutledge, the author of Cardamom Magazine, a website devoted not only to traveling, but also to cooking.
Passion Piece: Could you tell my readers a few words about yourself?
Patrice: I’m the founder and managing editor of Cardamom Magazine, a global food and travel website. We publish global recipes, culinary travel articles, chef profiles, food and travel tips, and more. We’re in the startup phase right now and have big plans for growth over the next year.
Prior to this, I managed global communications and training for a leading Silicon Valley technology company and consulted for a technology publisher. I worked on projects in numerous countries and always spent time exploring the local culinary scene, participating in food tours, and taking local cooking classes. So even when I was working in my original career, the idea to do something with my passion for food and travel was always there.
Passion Piece: You’re the founder of Cardamom Magazine, a unique place where readers can not only find delicious recipes, but also travel around the globe to experience various culinary sensations. What’s the personal story behind Cardamom Magazine?
Patrice: The inspiration behind Cardamom Magazine is my Swedish grandmother, Violet. She taught me how to bake when I was a young child and always said cardamom was the secret ingredient that made her recipes so delicious. The time I spent with her and my mom in the kitchen was always a special family bonding time. When I grew up, I experienced cardamom as a wonderful ingredient in so many other cuisines. This blend of the cozy comforts of home and the excitement of exotic new flavors around the globe sums up perfectly what Cardamom Magazine is all about.
Passion Piece: You left the corporate career to follow your passion. What made you willing to take up new culinary adventures?
Patrice: The company I was working for cancelled my projects and laid off thousands of people. At first, I planned on looking for work in the same field but ultimately decided to use my skills in a slightly different way. My background in web design, social media, and journalism all directly relate to Cardamom Magazine. I’m just combining these skills with my personal passion for food and travel.
Passion Piece: Was it a difficult decision to make? Did you have a backup plan?
Patrice: Initially, it wasn’t a difficult decision as starting a food and travel site was something I’ve wanted to do for a long while. And I had some unexpected free time! But it took me much longer than it should have to actually launch because of second-guessing and listening to the feedback of others. I did have a backup plan, consulting and teaching in my primary field of expertise. I am still consulting and teaching part-time during the startup phase of Cardamom Magazine.
Passion Piece: What was the reaction of your family and friends to your new venture?
Patrice: Most of my family members and close friends were supportive and excited for this next chapter in my life. But there were also others who felt traditional employment was less risky or tried to discourage my new venture.
Passion Piece: What should one remember about while changing the career path? What are the challenges they’ll need to face?
Patrice: I think it’s important to keep a balance between having the courage to pursue your dream job or business and the practicalities of daily living (bills to pay, etc.). Particularly if you’re planning to start your own business, you need to have a backup plan and a means of support during the startup phase. A business can often take longer than expected to become profitable and you don’t want to have to give up your dream for financial reasons when you were so close to success. That said, it’s also important to know when to just follow your heart and not second-guess your decisions and be led astray by the opinions of others.
Passion Piece: You cooperate with different contributors who provide texts for your website. How did you come across these passionate people? What do you value in them?
Patrice: When I first created the editorial plan for Cardamom Magazine, I knew I didn’t want to be the only person contributing content. My own expertise is in Scandinavian and Mediterranean recipes as well as culinary travel in Europe, where I’ve lived and traveled extensively. But I wanted to cover other areas of the world, and with first-hand experience. So far I’ve added five contributors and hope to add more by the end of the year. Some contributors I already knew, but others I found online.
Passion Piece: Which three tastes would describe your personality best?
Patrice: I would say the three terms that best describe me are tenacious, organized, and creative. At least that’s what people tell me!
Passion Piece: Is there a recipe you’d like to pass to future generations? Why is it so meaningful to you?
Patrice: It’s hard to name just one! But I would have to say it would be my grandmother’s recipe for Swedish cardamom cake (kardemummakaka). It’s a family favorite from childhood and of course, features cardamom!
Passion Piece: Do you have any other passions besides cooking?
Patrice: I also love travel, photography, yoga, and live theater and concerts. Learning languages is another passion of mine. I speak French, Italian, and Spanish and can order food in several other languages! I’ve found that knowing at least something of the language everywhere I go really helps me connect with the local people and enriches my travel experience.
Passion Piece: Where do you see yourself in the nearest future?
Patrice: The rest of the year will be a busy one! I have lots of plans for expanding the content on Cardamom Magazine, traveling to do more first-hand research, and finding some new contributors. Next year, I hope to launch a digital magazine in addition to the website.
Passion Piece: Which motto would you like to share with my readers?
Patrice: Be tenacious! Have a plan and stick to it. Be both a dreamer and a doer.
Passion Piece: Thank you very much for this truly inspiring conversation and I hope that you will take us soon to some new interesting places which will be put on the map of your culinary travels.
Cardamom Magazine is one of the websites, which presents amazing flavors of the world to us, however, the thing which makes this magazine different is the fact that the authors put their hearts and passion into each article published on their site. And you? Which recipes would you like to share with Patrice?
See you around!
Photos by: Patrice Rutledge