Student Spotlight: Feride Buyuran
Above photo by: Raffael Dickreuter
Blog to table cooking: Feride Buyuran talks food A–Z.
By: Amanda Murphy
For most of her life, Feride Buyuran’s deep interest for food silently grew as she watched the women of her family artfully prepare meal after meal. It wasn’t until she married in her mid-twenties that she was finally able to start exploring her native Azerbaijan’s fare. Before she knew it, her interest had turned into a deep passion that left her wanting to learn and experiment with the rest of the vast culinary world. Nearly 10 years later, she runs a successful, high-traffic food blog, is taking an online culinary certificate program with Escoffier Online and is well on her way to self-publishing an Azerbaijan cookbook, all of that on top of being a busy wife and mom. Her deep passion for cuisine of all kinds is visible in her blog, which explores recipes for everything from traditional Middle Eastern recipes like baba ghanoush to French citrus cake. As for how good her cooking is, it only takes a quick glance at her website to show you just how many fans have happily devoured her recipes.
Luckily, we were able to catch Feride for a moment in her busy life to chat about her soon-to-be-published cookbook, successful blog and what she loves about her course with Escoffier Online.
Escoffier: How did you get into cooking?
Buyuran: I started cooking after marrying and relocating to the U.S. from my birthplace, Azerbaijan, at the age of 24. Before, I had rarely cooked, but I have always had deep interest in recipes and anything food related. So, here in the States, this interest led to my starting to experiment with recipes [that] flourished into passion.
Escoffier: What made you pick Escoffier Online?
Buyuran: I discovered Escoffier Online when I had been searching for online culinary programs, brief or long, to hone my culinary skills. I could cook but I thought there was room for improvement and wanted to learn the classic foundations of cooking. There was no online program that I liked in terms of length, depth, the curriculum and flexibility. And one day I stumbled upon the Escoffier Online website! I believe it had just been launched and perhaps I had been one of the first people to see it. I got in touch with the admissions office, learned all I needed to know about the school and liked [everything] about it. With Escoffier Online I can take classes at the comfort of my home and at a time most convenient for me. There are live webinars on a variety of topics, and there is always a chef mentor who is [ready] to help whenever I have a question.
Escoffier: You have a popular blog called AZ Cookbook. Tell me about it.
Buyuran: On my food blog I feature a range of recipes, all tested and photographed by myself. Initially, my goal was to introduce Azerbaijani cuisine to the readers and later expanded the blog to feature any recipe I find interesting and consider worth sharing with other foodies.
Escoffier: How did you go about starting your blog?
Buyuran: The idea to launch AZ Cookbook came back in 2007. I started with a very basic blog theme on Blogspot.com, then I switched to a WordPress platform. My first readers were Azerbaijanis, but over time the blog attracted food lovers from all over the world.
Escoffier: I hear that you currently are self-publishing a cookbook. What has that been like?
Buyuran: I decided to write a cookbook in 2007, too. I realized there were no cookbooks dedicated entirely to the beautiful Azerbaijani cuisine, and I wanted to fill that niche. I started to gather recipes from Azerbaijan, test them, photograph them, and select the best for the book. Publishing houses rejected my book proposal but I didn’t want to give up. So I ventured into self-publishing, which meant learning a zillion things new to me along the way. As a self-publisher you have to be on top of every single step of publishing – editing, proofreading, photographing, printing, and others. A job of a publishing house is on your shoulders! But in the end – the satisfaction is immeasurable. The book will be ready for pre-order at www.AZcookbook.com very soon.
Escoffier: What can we expect to see in your cookbook?
Buyuran: The cookbook features about 200 traditional and modern Azerbaijani recipes within 15 food categories including soups and stews, vegetarian dishes, pasta, desserts, savory breads, and others, spread over 300+ pages with full-color photography. I have included stories and tidbits of culture throughout the book so that readers get a better glimpse of the country.
Escoffier: What advice would you share with other students looking to start their own blog or cookbook?
Buyuran: I would just say if you think you are ready, go for it. There is always a learning curve, and you will learn a lot throughout your blogging or cookbook writing journey. In blogging, the most challenging part is to keep your readers engaged and to be consistent. And you have to do your best with every single post. The same goes [for] creating a book – it is a lot of work. But the good news is [that] it is all possible and doable plus rewarding in many ways.