Ever wonder who pre-measures the ingredients and pre-cooks the dishes you see on tv cooking shows? Well now you get to meet one of them – Darlene Tanaka. Not only is she great at making a stage kitchen look like a real one, full of food that has been magically prepared, she also styles food for commercials, and works with cookbook authors on their press rounds.

Are there certain foods that remind you of home?
I grew up in Steveston and my family had a huge vegetable garden. My mom always had lots of fresh vegetable from the garden and froze lots for the winter. My father was a fisherman so we always had fresh seafood especially salmon. I love fresh seafood.

How did the food you grew up eating at home inform your cooking/food choices today?
I try to buy local produce when in season and encourage eating lots of fruits and vegetable to my family. I have never planted a vegetable garden at my own house but am planning one for next year. My mother still has a large vegetable garden, she grows vegetables for all of us.

Is there one thing you can’t live without in your kitchen?
Not really one thing I can’t live without can always find an alternative. However, having sharp knives does make cooking and preparing food alot easier.

What are you having for dinner tonight?
A friend is coming over for dinner with her 2 kids and we are having BBQ hamburgers. My most recent memorable meal was when we were in Bamfield visiting our friends Chris, Jan and Ben. We had seafood feast, fresh salmon, halibut, prawns and crab. The best part was that all the seafood was caught when we were out fishing.