Ilona originally pursued a career as a lawyer. Later, she followed her heart, attended culinary school at the Niagara Food and Wine Institute and apprenticed in Tuscany. After stints as a private chef in Quebec and various restaurants in Niagara, a move to PEI on a culinary scholarship 10 years ago transformed her life. Ilona now teaches, writes and caters, and loves working in rhythm with the seasons in this agricultural paradise.
Where do you live in PEI?
Historical downtown Charlottetown.
What is your favourite thing about life in PEI?
The pace of life here has a gentle rhythm to it, and to get away from it all, a beautiful landscape is never far.
What is something people wouldn't know if they're not from the island?
There is wild food everywhere. I enjoy foraging for strawberries, blueberries, sea asparagus, and apples. When it comes to stopping to smell the roses, here on PEI, we mean that literally.
What are you passionate about personally? What do you really enjoy? What can’t you stop talking about?
Locally produced food and drink. You can buy some of the best oysters or lobsters just a hop, skip, and jump from where they're pulled out of the water. There are bakeries nestled in back alleys with croissants that will make you worship butter in ways you never imagined.
If you had to choose one spot on the island to take someone who has never been here, where would it be?
The North Shore, with its sand dunes, lighthouse, deep sea fishing, and amazing fish and chips. And for a magical experience, the wild spirit of the most westerly point of the Island, with the sounds of crashing waves and the most breathtaking sunsets you'll ever see.
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