Contributor Spotlight: Christine Van Bloem
What Makes You a Gorilla?
I love this town, I love this county, and I want to let folks know the fun foodie things going on beyond the downtown restaurant scene, but not in a business-speak kind of way. I love to seek out and learn the underground stuff that few residents know.
What’s the best part about living in (or working in) Frederick County?
I live in downtown Frederick and absolutely adore being able to walk to so many really great restaurants. I am all about the food, all the time. Living downtown was a close as we could get to replicating time in NYC without the big city, plus, it’s a much nicer place to raise a family.
What or who inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve just always loved to write, from the time I got my Scooby Doo tablet in 3rd grade through college when I minored in journalism. Tragically, I used to journal in college. Sometime I go back and read that crap and feel sorry for those folks who suffered through the melodramatics.
What’s your favorite story you’ve written about for Frederick Gorilla and why?
I love this month’s story on Divine Dining above all others. Not only did I get to hang with and write about an ever so slightly motley crew of amateur chefs putting out excellent non-ham loaf church dinners every month, but I had the opportunity to eat mostly terrific food and meet some truly sweet and talented folks. Just don’t ask me about the key lime sauce.
What one aspect of your craft do you like the most?
Meeting new people is 100% the coolest part of my job. I love to try to find the words to accurately communicate who they are, but in my own voice without pandering or being too flowery.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about writers/photographers?
Biggest misconception? That our job is easy and always fun, and that anyone can do it. I totally suck at photography, so I know for sure that’s not nearly as easy as buying a dslr and getting some business cards. Writing is fun a good chunk of the time, but there are also times when you have to manipulate your schedule and miss other things to accommodate your subject. The food isn’t always awesome and the words don’t always come so easily.
Share your thoughts about the state of journalistic publications like Frederick Gorilla. What value do they add to the community of readers that they serve?
I like the fluff, but I really love the harder hitting investigative pieces that a publication with long lead times can generate. I thought this issue’s Jeanne Bussard piece was really fascinating and looked at the issue from a deeper position than the daily or weekly pubs can give. Gorrila-esque publications give the community well researched, hard hitting pieces, but you can still learn where a semi-secret dinner is held, where to get great Korean BBQ, or learn a bit on fly fishing.
If there was one aspect of business, life or politics in Frederick County you could change, what would it be and why?
It feels like things are really combative here in Frederick County, and I hate that. It’s a “my way or the highway” scenario just about everywhere, and I don’t see how Frederick County will improve with this attitude. We have excellent public schools, but everyone wants to ignore the teachers (fyi-my husband is a 16 year veteran of FCPS, so I may be biased). We say we want to grow business, but it seems like that means throwing up more strip malls instead of using what we’ve got. There is no atmosphere of collaboration, and that’s just sad.
Favorite hidden treasure in Frederick County? Why? (This can be any restaurant, shop, location, etc.)
Is it wrong to say The Kitchen Studio Cooking School, just because I’m the owner? For real though, I’m a huge fan of the Gogo Gogi Korean BBQ truck that hits all the local farmer’s markets in season. The bulgogi with awesome sauce is unconditionally one of my favorite treats and I’m counting the days until the first market of the season opens.
Where can we find you online?
Facebook: The Kitchen Studio Cooking School
LinkedIn: Christine Van Bloem
Blog/Website: www.KitchenStudioFrederick.com / www.FrederickFoodie.com