[Photograph: Ashley Tam]

Name: Ashley Tam
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Occupation: Freelance writer
Website/Twitter: @aysherly

Guilty pleasures? Absolute guiltiest pleasure is Lunchables pepperoni pizza. I was so jealous of my elementary school friends whose mothers didn't pack homemade, healthy lunches. I should know better now, but no one wanted to swap grapes and baby carrots for their tiny delicious pizzas and I think it still haunts me.

Describe your perfect meal. Tomato bisque and a grilled cheese with caramelized onions and gruyere along with a fresh-squeezed lemonade. To be enjoyed either with friends or Netflix. And something ridiculously decadent for dessert.

What food won't you eat? I'm actually allergic to seafood, which is kind of fortunate, because I also hate it. A no-feed-feedback-loop.

Favorite food person? Julia Child, no question. Lots of folks inspire me, but watching her on PBS growing up ignited my passion for food. She made "gourmet" accessible to everyone, including 5-year-olds waiting for Barney to come on. And she's adorable.

When did you first realize you were a serious eater? When I asked a Denny's waitress for soy sauce for my eggs at age 8. They were bland, and I knew an umami kick would help even before I knew what "umami" was. Unfortunately, Denny's did not have soy sauce.

What do your family and your friends think of your food obsessions? I'd say they're into it because any time spent with me means good food, whether it's 30 different batches of cupcakes I made on one frenzied week's quest to find the perfect recipe or dragging them to explore an authentic, ethnic hole-in-the-wall through the snow uphill both ways with no shoes. Wait, maybe they're not so into it. Guys? ...Guys?

Favorite food sites or blogs? Gourmet and Saveur for when I'm feeling fancy. Tastespotting for the gorgeous photos. Smitten Kitchen for no-fail recipes.

Everyone has a go-to person they call for restaurant recommendations. Who's yours? I like to crowdsource my restaurant recommendations either by consulting Yelp or by aggressively accosting terrified locals on the street to demand where their favorite bite is.

What is your favorite meal of the day and where do you get it? Dinner, and ideally, from my mom's kitchen. She's an incredible cook with a very discerning palate who's inspired me from day one, and there may be nothing better for the soul than a warm, delicious meal shared with your warm, loving family.

Do you ever cook? What's the best dish you make? I love to cook! I'd say my best dish is roast chicken with kale and quinoa, but my friends and family would probably say one of my desserts, like mini caramel pumpkin cheesecakes or dark chocolate babka.


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