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Culinary Hill, founded by Meggan Hill, is a food blog offering delicious, easy-to-follow recipes and cooking tips for home cooks of all skill levels.
The blog focuses on perfecting each recipe with an emphasis on Midwest-inspired dishes and seasonal ingredients. It serves as a trusted resource for home cooks aiming to enhance their culinary skills and share enjoyable meals with loved ones.
In an Interview with CookingDetective.com, she shares her passion for cooking and food memories through easy-to-follow recipes.
Her advice for beginners includes careful recipe reading, thorough preparation, and practice. Meggan emphasizes the importance of quality ingredients and highlights some budget-friendly options. To improve cooking skills, she suggests immersing oneself in cookbooks, websites, and videos.
Ultimately, Meggan hopes to inspire readers in the kitchen through her dedication to quality recipes and support for their culinary journey.
Read our exclusive interview with Meggan Hill now!
What follows is an interesting interview with the Cooking influencer.
1. Please tell us a little about yourself and how you got into cooking.
I was interested in cooking as a child and then cooked a lot throughout my life as a young adult.
When I was working full-time at other jobs, I found myself gravitating towards food both as therapy and as a way to connect with others. I eventually went to culinary school to get professional training and I learned so much.
2. What are your favorite types of recipes to create and share, and why?
I love to create recipes that are tied to food memories: mine and the food memories of others.
There are certain recipes that are popular for birthdays, holidays, and parties, and I like to share these with people who have lost the recipe or forgotten about it. My readers appreciate these recipes so much.
3. What is your favorite kitchen tool or gadget and why?
There are so many great kitchen tools, but my favorite is a good, sharp chef’s knife. A great knife makes so many tasks, like prepping fruits, vegetables, and meats, so much easier!
4. What’s your favorite comfort food recipe to make during the colder months?
My favorite cold-weather cozy recipe is creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup. It’s thick and hearty and full of chunks of chicken, tender vegetables, chewy wild rice, and a rich creamy sauce. It’s so good!
5. Please share any cooking tips or techniques you think are important for beginners.
If you are a beginning cook, my best advice is to first read the recipe carefully and then do all of your preparation and organizing in advance. Get everything ready to go so that as you follow the recipe, you don’t have to look for ingredients or get side-tracked.
Have everything laid out and ready to go, and then read carefully. Also, practice makes perfect. So if you don’t nail the recipe the first time, you can try again. It gets easier!
6. Can you walk us through your cooking process, from selecting ingredients to plating the finished dish?
I always do all my shopping myself because I want to choose the best ingredients. I am selective about which fruits, vegetables, meats, pasta, rice, and bread I buy (and everything else). Before I start to cook, I lay out all the ingredients I need on a baking sheet.
I go through my recipe (or the plan in my head) and pull out everything I might need including tools. Then, I wash and prep fruits or vegetables, mix any spices, or otherwise follow the instructions of the recipe before beginning.
I preheat the oven or grill as needed. By the time I get to the actual cooking, the execution of a dish, I want to feel comfortable and relaxed. I use timers when I cook and try to minimize distractions.
I love having classical music on while cooking. When things are winding down in the kitchen, I’ll make sure the table is set and select wine or other beverages to go with the meal.
Finally, I prefer to plate everyone’s food myself and serve them rather than putting out several dishes on a table family-style.
I add food to the plate from one particular angle, sort of like styling for a camera in food photography, and then set it down for a guest to enjoy. It’s a delight to serve people!
7. Can you recommend some budget-friendly ingredients that can be used in a variety of dishes?
You can get an excellent, cold-pressed, single-source bottle of pure extra-virgin olive oil for around $10 and use it regularly. It might be the most important ingredient in my kitchen.
I also love spices and the cheap ones often taste as good as the expensive ones, and they keep for a long time.
I think Dijon mustard is an excellent ingredient to keep on hand. I use it for salad dressings, marinades, and dipping sauces all the time. It adds a lot of flavor with just a small amount.
8. What advice would you give to someone who wants to improve their cooking skills?
Practice! Cook anything and everything that you possibly can. Everything related to cooking is a skill that you can improve. Even chopping vegetables or learning about spices is helpful.
Read cookbooks and cooking magazines, follow cooking websites, and watch social media videos about cooking. Immerse yourself in the ideas, both old and new, and then get in the kitchen and try it out yourself.
9. What equipment do you use for your food photography, and do you have any tips for taking great food photos?
I have a Canon DSLR camera and lens. Like cooking, food photography takes a lot of practice. I suggest using natural light until you have the resources and/or desire to play with artificial lights. Your iPhone probably takes great pictures too!
Food styling is an important part of food photography, so you’ll have to practice both that and the actual photography. When I was starting out, I would find a photo I liked of something simple (like a sandwich) and work to recreate that image.
There are also online courses and lots of free material on YouTube on the subject.
10. Can you recommend some healthy ingredient swaps that can make classic dishes more nutritious?
In many cakes and cupcakes, applesauce can be substituted for the oil. In salad dressings and sauces, Greek yogurt can often be substituted for sour cream and/or mayonnaise.
And, raw cashews can be soaked and blended with water for a delicious, nutritious creamy sauce that can stand in for heavy cream.
11. In your opinion as a food blogger expert, what hosting provider and theme would you suggest for a food or recipe site that needs to be visually appealing, user-friendly, and optimized for search engines?
I would suggest a WordPress blog more than a hosted website such as Wix or Squarespace. WordPress allows a lot of customization through plugins which are essential for food blogs for items like recipe cards, social sharing buttons, and other features.
When you are first starting out, finding the ideal host and theme is not essential, and you can learn more about these later as your site grows and you have the capacity to learn more.
The most important thing is to get started and take imperfect action rather than getting caught up on the details of which theme.
12. What do you hope people take away from your blog, and how do you want to inspire them in the kitchen?
To anyone who visits my blog, I hope it is abundantly clear how much I care about my recipes and the readers who make them! I am passionate about helping you find success in the kitchen, and I try to anticipate all of your questions in advance.
I have a dry sense of humor, and I take food safety very seriously. I hope you feel inspired to cook something, literally anything, and keep on cooking!
In conclusion, Culinary Hill stands out as a valuable resource for home cooks looking to elevate their skills and create memorable meals.
Meggan Hill’s dedication to recipe perfection and her commitment to sharing her knowledge make the blog an exceptional platform for culinary inspiration.
By following Meggan’s advice on recipe reading, preparation, and practice, as well as her guidance on selecting quality ingredients, aspiring cooks can confidently embark on their own culinary journeys.
Where you can find me…