Caroline Caron-Phelps

I have lived in Tokyo, Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Taipei, and Malaysia, where I worked as a professional model for brands such as Marks and Spencer, Wacoal, Lancome and Kanebo, and appeared in publications such as Elle, Cosmopolitan, and Marie-Claire. 

Fun fact: I’m only 5’6″!

I had originally gone to Japan for the summer to teach English and save some money before going back home to finish college. One of my friends, who was also 5’6″, told me I could make extra money as a kimono model, so I joined a modeling agency in Tokyo – and that’s when my life completely changed. It was a real surprise when I started to book modeling jobs, regularly, for well known fashion publications and brands.

Not only was I learning about a brand new industry and traveling across Asia almost every month, I was also getting a crash course on Asian food. Everywhere I went for work, I met people who took me to street markets and restaurants to try famous local dishes. They would get so excited for me to try their specialties that they planned entire evenings around food! And the biggest thing I noticed about my travels across Asia was how much people loved eating. Food wasn’t just fuel for them – it was a conversation, a family affair, and it was always at the center of their lives. I fell in love with that concept and that’s when I truly became enamored with cooking.

But I still had to maintain a certain weight because of my career as a model. That’s how I slowly developed my own way of cooking food that gave me the freedom to still enjoy all the dishes and flavors I craved, while trimming down on fat and extra calories. 

I ended up spending almost 10 years in Asia and when I returned to Canada, I spent a few months as a sous-chef for a catering company. I loved every minute of it! The chef I worked with was a lovely woman who sometimes allowed me to create dishes. If she liked one of them it would be included it as part of the menu for that week. I made very little money but enjoyed the work so much that it didn’t matter. I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

I eventually left because I moved to New York to be with Ben, after 2 years of dating long distance. Otherwise I might have stayed forever! But New York ended up being a good move since it was the place where Pickled Plum was born. And here I am, 13 years and a thousand recipes later!

After all these years I still eat the same way and follow the same four rules whenever I cook food:

  • Must be delicious.
  • Must be easy to make.
  • Must be healthy-ish. I love eating healthy meals but I also love to treat myself to sugary desserts or a slice of pizza once in a while.
  • Must be mostly pescatarian or plant based. I stopped eating red meat 6 years ago for ethical reasons, but also because my mother rarely cooked with red meat when I was growing up (she also naturally prefers following the Mediterranean diet).

I love cooking and I also love to style and shoot food. I like to make my food look pretty since I am such a visual person and also because my mother always served elegant and colorful dishes. As you can see, I had a good teacher at home! Many of the dishes on the blog are actually inspired by her recipes, like this onion miso soup and delectable tuna sandwich. My mother’s palate is so on point that her food never needs seasoning. She also rarely uses recipe books – everything is made from memory!

Aside from cooking I love reading books, adore taking care of animals, doing sports like dancing, figure skating, yoga, and playing tennis, and going to concerts. I also like to lounge in front of the television in my pyjamas, drinking wine, and snacking on a cheese board. My favorite naughty food is poutine since I was born in Quebec, Canada.

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Asian Recipes

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