Riz Asad of Chocolates and Chai (Transcript)

Season One - Episode 3

September 18, 2018

Transcript - RIz Asad of Chocolates and Chai

Nicole:                                       00:00                     Welcome to BFF with the Chef. I'm your host, Nicole Schwegman.

Nicole:                                       00:11                        Aloha friends and fellow foodies, and welcome back. Today, I'm getting the chance to interview Rizwan Asad, the self-taught baker and foodie behind Chocolates & Chai, a 2017 finalist for the Saveur Blog Awards. Riz's blog revels in comfort food, desserts, and brunch. Inspired by international cuisine, the blog is all about finding the love and story behind every meal. For Riz, the kitchen is a place of warm memories as well as a place to make new stories.

Nicole:                                       00:40                     Hi, Riz. Welcome to the show.

Riz:                                              00:45                      Hey, Nicole. How are you today? Thank you for the introduction.

Nicole:                                       00:45                      I'm so excited to interview you. I'm going to ask you my three questions that I normally ask everybody. But I just want you to know, I've been looking around your blog, and we're going to have a talk about pancakes because I love pancakes.

Riz:                                              00:58                      Hey, I do too. Sounds like fun.

Nicole:                                       01:01                        Yeah, it's great. Okay. So the first question I usually ask folks is tell me about the last meal you cooked for yourself.

Riz:                                              01:11                         So this is actually a little embarrassing because my blog is a dessert blog, and brunch, and comfort food. But my day-to-day eating is actually very, very plain. So the last meal I cooked for myself was just grilled chicken and boiled vegetables.

Nicole:                                       01:28                       There's nothing wrong with that. I think people think that food bloggers and chefs just are constantly making things [inaudible 00:01:35] or they're eating a ton of cookies that they made on their blog. I think if you eat that way, it would be so great for your health, although I do believe people can feed themselves in any way they like. But I think it's good to hear that, "Yeah. No, I had some chicken and boiled vegetables." On a day-to-day, I eat a lot of beans. I love beans. So I think that's pretty awesome.

Riz:                                              02:02                      Yeah. No, I love that stuff. The basics are some of my favorites.

Nicole:                                       02:08                      No, I agree. From day-to-day, I'm not making super chef-y meals. I think that's okay to admit that. In fact, I love that. So with that, tell us about a meal that brings us back to your childhood.

Riz:                                              02:24                      Oh, wow. My childhood, which feels like a long, long time ago now, anything really cooked by my mother. So mostly like Indian and Bengali food, those are the things that really take me back because I can't really cook Indian food all that well. I'm still learning about the spices and learning how to combine those flavors together. But one meal that definitely reminds of something we have, in my house, we call it Egg Philip. And what that is, is sort of a non-alcoholic eggnog. But it was something else passed down to my mum by her mum, and her mum was taught it by their family chef back in India 60 or 70 years ago.

Nicole:                                       03:18                       Wow.

Riz:                                              03:19                       Yeah. And it's the simplest drink in the world. A lot of people aren't into it because it does have some raw eggs in there. But I grew up on it, and it always feels like home when I get that. It was the comfort food drink my mum would give me if I was ever coming down with a cold. It was like, "Okay, let me make you some Egg Philip. It has nutrients." It's super easy. It's just eggs whisked with sugar and milk and a little bit of vanilla if we're getting fancy. But that's it.

Nicole:                                       03:52                      That's really simple.

Riz:                                              03:53                      Yep, very, very simple.

Nicole:                                       03:55                      Wow. I guess to make it eggnog, you would just add alcohol.

Riz:                                              04:00                     Yeah, pretty much. And you might reduce the sugar or add some nutmeg or something like that, depending on how you like your eggnog. But the interesting thing about it is that we call it Egg Philip, so my whole life I thought Philip must have been some great chef. But it turns out that's not the case. This was, like I said, taught to my Grandma by her chef back in India. And that gentleman spoke with a very heavy accent. So what he was actually saying was egg flipped.

Nicole:                                       04:33                      Oh, my goodness.

Riz:                                              04:35                      Yeah. And since then, she's been like, "Oh, egg flipped." You're like, "Oh, Egg Philip. Okay." And that's what we've been calling it our entire lives.

Nicole:                                       04:45                      Egg Philip, that's a great story. I love that. Oh, my goodness. That's the first time I've ... I've grown up with eggnog myself, and I love it. I loved it even before I could put alcohol in it. But that's the first time I've heard someone call it Egg Philip.

Riz:                                              05:07                      Yeah, yeah.

Nicole:                                       05:08                      I was telling someone else, I was talking to Ben Meyer of Ramshackle Pantry, and we talked about how you can find traces of foods all over the world that are kind of similar even though they may have slightly different ingredients based on the things that are grown in that region. But you can find a version of a recipe in nearly every culture that you go into. And I think it's pretty neat that you've been drinking Egg Philips and I've been drinking eggnogs, and they're kind of the same thing.

Riz:                                              05:46                      Yeah, pretty much. And I love Ben's blog too. I actually do visit it just by myself once in a while. And yeah, you're right, I'll talk to someone about this as well. It's just we have so many of the same ingredients all over the world, and we often have dishes that cross over. Yeah, it's great. And each place has their own little twist as well, right?

Nicole:                                       06:12                       Yeah. And then you just add a little twist to it. I love that. It's literally the same recipe, it's just changed slightly based on what ingredients you had on hand. So yeah, I love that. So tell me about an ingredient that you can't live without.

Riz:                                              06:33                      That is tough. I think because I'm baking most of the time, I'd say flour just because it's the base for so many things. And then you add it to milk and you can make a roux. You can transform your dinner game as well. It opens a lot of avenues I think for food.

Nicole:                                       06:54                      Wow, that's cool. I always say butter because if you add butter ... You can add butter to both savory and sweet things, and it always makes things better. There's just very few things that butter can't improve. And there's some people out there going, "You're going to die." And I'm like, "It's going to be a great death."

Riz:                                              07:19                        Actually, I keep looking at blogs, and you know right at the bottom of a blog where it says powered by WordPress?" I'm waiting for one person to be like, "Powered by WordPress and butter."

Nicole:                                       07:31                        Oh, my goodness. I should put that at the bottom of my blog. I grew up eating margarine because at the time, that's what we thought was healthy. And I always knew, it was like, "This is okay." When I was a kid, "This is okay." I didn't have enough sense to say anything. I just ate what my mom put in front of me. She did the best she could. She loved me. She was a great mom. But man, once I started having the choice, and I could choose butter, I'm like, "Where has this been all my life?" It's amazing. So yeah, I get it. But flour is a very good close behind for me. I agree with you about making a roux. I use flour roux a lot. Plus, I'm always like, "Give me all the gluten. I want all the gluten." One of my best friends is gluten-free. And so I always say when we go to a bakery, "I'll take all of her gluten."

Nicole:                                       08:27                       All right. So let's get into talking about your food blog, Chocolates & Chai. I am going to start out right now ... Normally, I ask people why do they start a food blog. But I can't wait. I want to talk about this fluffy pancakes recipe that I see at the top of your blog right now. Oh, my goodness. That looks like all of my dreams came true. I want to talk about this recipe, and I want to talk about pancakes because first of all, I love pancakes. I haven't met a pancake that I said no to yet. I'll do a lot for pancakes. But you also love pancakes. So talk to me about this recipe. What inspired it?

Riz:                                              09:08                      Yeah. No honestly, so that is actually a republished recipe. It's one of my oldest recipes, and it's probably the most popular recipe on my blog.

Nicole:                                       09:20                      Wow.

Riz:                                              09:20                      Yeah, yeah. But by far, I think. And it was just like a recipe that I'd been fiddling around with at home. When I started the blog, it wasn't an official food blog. It was just a place where I was storing recipes. And this was one of the ones that took off early on and helped me decide to turn Chocolates & Chai into an actual food blog.

Nicole:                                       09:48                      Why do you think it is? Why do you think that this recipe took off?

Riz:                                              09:53                      One, I think it's pretty easy to follow. It doesn't require anything too complicated. You're not making a meringue or anything like that. And two, no buttermilk. So people are always looking for a pancake alternative without buttermilk that is still fluffy. And I think the photos, I think a lot of people are very, very visual. So they see how big some of these pancakes can get, and click, "This is the one I want to try." And the feedback has been great on it as well.

Nicole:                                       10:27                        Wow. So why no buttermilk?

Riz:                                              10:30                       So for the buttermilk, I actually grew up in the Middle East and in Europe, and over there buttermilk isn't quite the staple that it is here in North America. So I hadn't actually ever even seen or tasted buttermilk until about maybe five years ago when I moved here. You don't really see it in the supermarkets or anything like that. So not many people have access to it. And for that reason, when I was working with pancake recipes, when I'd make pancakes, my natural go-to is just regular full-fat milk.

Nicole:                                       11:03                        I didn't know that buttermilk was a North America thing. I just thought that's what you got all over the world. And I've lived in other countries, but I just didn't notice that.

Riz:                                              11:19                          Yeah, it's just not really a thing in any of the places I've lived.

Nicole:                                       11:20                        Wow. I didn't know that was a real North America thing. I guess it makes sense. But that's fascinating. I can see why people might be drawn to that pancake recipe then. I don't always have buttermilk, so I'll use yogurt, usually Greek yogurt, or I'll use some milk with a little bit of either vinegar or lemon in it to recreate that buttermilk flavor. But because look, when I buy a carton of buttermilk, don't you always ... You buy a carton of buttermilk, and you think, "Either I make just a butt ton of pancakes and freeze them all, or I may have to find seven ways to use this buttermilk before it goes bad." I always feel bad because I want buttermilk pancakes, I buy buttermilk. I maybe make pancakes one time because it's just on weekends, and then I just see that sad carton of buttermilk going bad because I failed to find other uses for it.

Riz:                                              12:26                        Well, you can freeze it. Just get an ice tray and instead of water for ice cubes, just pour in some buttermilk. And then whenever you need it, you have two tablespoons of buttermilk ready.

Nicole:                                       12:39                        Get out. People have told me to freeze milk, and I've tried that. I don't like the flavor after it's unfrozen. I just can't. But I guess I never thought about freezing buttermilk. Have you done that?

Riz:                                              12:54                        I personally haven't. Because just out of habit, I never really keep much buttermilk at home. So if I'm using it, I'll buy a very small pack. But it's something a lot of my commenters have talked about in the actual comments for the fluffy pancakes recipe.

Nicole:                                       13:10                        Oh, I'm going to try that then. So tell us about the meals that you cook over and over in your house.

Riz:                                              13:17                         I'm a big pasta fiend, so lots of different ways of just making pasta. I love mushroom fettuccine, or an Alfredo sauce just with meat and vegetables thrown in there. A lot of it, for me, I'm one of those people that's terrible at following recipes. I write them, and I'm super particular when I write them and test them. But when it comes to actually following them myself, every day I just do my own thing. It's just like, "Oh, I'm making a mushroom fettuccine. What if I replace mushroom with red peppers today? That could be fun."

Nicole:                                       13:55                        I think that's how people cook though on the most-

Riz:                                              13:58                        I think so, yeah.

Nicole:                                       14:00                       It can be difficult at times. When you're just trying to come home, and you're tired, and you're like, "Oh, what am I going to eat?" And maybe you don't have mushrooms on hand, and just having the ability to know, "You know what? Red pepper would work with this recipe as well," and being confident in yourself to go ahead and just do that. I think that's a really great skill to have. And I think for years, I didn't have that skill. For years, I'd have to follow a recipe. And if I didn't have one ingredient, I didn't know how a recipe worked, or how you read them. And if I didn't have one ingredient, I would be like, "Oh, I can't make this. Or I got to run out to the store." How did you get to that point? That's not something that just happens overnight. Were you always, I call it, a pantster? Someone who just cooked by the seat of your pants. Or were you developed? Did you develop that skill?

Riz:                                              14:51                         No, I think I was always a pantster. In most things, even when I'm writing blog posts, I'm not one of those people that frames out a very well thought out blog post. I just start writing and see where it goes. But yeah, just always just been like, "What have I got? Let's see what I can do with it. Or what am I in the mood for? Which flavor is calling to me today?"

Nicole:                                       15:16                         So I want to talk about the Saveur Blog Awards. So how did this happen? Obviously, pancakes, duh. But how did you find out? What did you think when you find out that you were up for a best blog award?

Riz:                                              15:36                        Honestly, when I first got the email, I was in a little bit of shock because initially there's a nomination period. And I knew I'd been nominated. And a few of my readers and also a couple of my friends had said, "Oh, we're just going to nominate your blog because why not." So I was like, "Okay." I nominated myself too. And then a few months later, I got an email from Saveur. My initial, I guess my assumption was that it was a, "Thank you. We received your nomination." But it didn't say that. It was very much, "Hey, we wanted to let you know that we've decided you're one of our six finalists. This year, we've had over 30,000 nominations, and you've been picked as one of the six."

Nicole:                                       16:24                        Wow.

Riz:                                              16:25                        Right? And I was like, "Wait. What? Was there an accident?"

Nicole:                                       16:29                        Oh, my God.

Riz:                                              16:29                        How?

Nicole:                                       16:30                       You beat out nearly 30,000 other blogs.

Riz:                                              16:34                        I don't even know how. Because there is so much amazing content out there. And I looked at the other five finalists in my category, which was the Best Baking and Sweets category, and they were all amazing. And I just, yeah, I didn't even know I was. I was like, "Is this a sympathy nomination? What's happening? How did I make it in here?"

Nicole:                                       17:03                        Oh, my goodness. You had to just be thrilled. Did you just walk out the door that day like, "Yes! I did it!"

Riz:                                              17:10                         Yeah. No, I did. But that was about two days later when I processed it. That's when I was just like, "Ah, yeah. Did it." At that very moment, I was like, "Mom, Saveur sent me an email. I think they made a mistake. I don't know what I should do. Should I write back to them?"

Nicole:                                       17:25                        What did your mom say?

Riz:                                              17:27                         My mum cried.

Nicole:                                       17:31                         Oh, my gosh.

Riz:                                              17:31                         Yeah, my mum is super sweet.

Nicole:                                       17:32                        How adorable.

Riz:                                              17:34                        My mum lives in the Middle East, so she was visiting me here in Canada at the time. And she was just like, "Oh, finally. I've been praying for this."

Nicole:                                       17:47                         Moms are the best.

Riz:                                              17:47                         Oh, yeah. Dads too. But moms as well, yeah.

Nicole:                                       17:49                        Yeah, I can see my mom crying and then telling everybody every time she went to the grocery store, "You know my daughter is an internationally-known blogger?" Every time I do something of accomplishment, she's immediately telling the world about it. She's such a proud mom. I love her so much.

Riz:                                              18:06                       Oh, that sounds amazing.

Nicole:                                       18:09                       Wow. So do you feel like it's put more pressure on you now like, "Oh, man. I better kick it into high gear. I'm a finalist."

Riz:                                              18:18                         Honestly, no. I think while that year's competition was going on, I was constantly worried about, "Am I supposed to be self-promoting now and trying to lobby for votes?" Because I don't know how to do that. And so I didn't, aside from a, "Hey, guys. I'm nominated. Please vote." But aside from that, no it didn't change too much in terms of how I approach the blog. I did do a bit of a redesign earlier this year. But that was something that had been planned for a while. Because like I said, it wasn't initially meant to be a blog consumed by people. It was just a place to share recipes with me and my family and a couple of friends. But yeah, no big changes since then.

Nicole:                                       19:12                         So were you surprised ... So you said that the blog was not something that you originally was going to share with people. It was just a place for you to store stuff on the internet. Were you surprised when you started getting subscribers and readers?

Riz:                                              19:28                        Oh, yeah. Yes. Like super surprised. Initially, the first few were just friends and family who I had basically opened the blog for. And then I didn't even know how to check traffic and things. So one day I looked in it, and I think maybe about a month in, and it said I had 3,000 visitors. And I was like, "Oh, okay. My mum must be clicking refresh a whole lot. That must be what it is."

Nicole:                                       20:00                     I just imagine seeing your mom sitting there and going, "I've got to help my son." No, those are actually 3,000, a bunch of people. Your blog is good. I love the recipes that you share. They just all look so yummy. I feel like if I made them all, my thighs would be three times bigger than they are now.

Riz:                                              20:30                      We should test that.

Nicole:                                       20:32                      Oh, my goodness. I would never leave the house. I would just Netflix it and Riz. Netflix and Riz, we should do that.

Riz:                                              20:39                      Netflix and Riz.

Nicole:                                       20:43                      I know, Netflix and Riz, just make something. And for me, the first thing I would make is those pancakes. I can't get over them. Someone is in their car right now going, "Enough with the pancakes." I'm sorry. So on your blog, besides the pancake recipe, give us another recipe that you think everyone should try.

Riz:                                              21:08                       I really enjoy the madeleine recipes and Choux pastry. So there are recipes for both of those things, and I feel like they're both super accessible as far as baking goes. But they produce something that's, I don't know, maybe a little less common than like a cupcake. So at least when I make them, I always feel a sense of accomplishment despite them being super easy to do.

Nicole:                                       21:34                        So like I told you, pancakes are my obsession. But I make madeleines on the reg. What are some of your madeleine secrets? Because I find that people who make madeleines, everybody has this one little secret that they do. I'll tell you mine. I'll share my secrets with you and everybody who's listening. I freeze my pans. I butter them up. I put butter in the madeleine mold and then I freeze my pans. And that is because I want ... The dough is cold when I pull it out. I freeze the pans and that is because I want them stiff so that they'll form really nicely and just pop right out of that pan as soon as it's done. So I learned that from a chef instructor that I had in DC. That's my secret. So what do you do? What are some of the things, the tips that you find to making that perfect madeleine?

Riz:                                              22:27                       Well, I do occasionally refrigerate my batter as well just to cool it down just in the same way. But I think my secret technique is I whisk at an eight rather than up and down.

Nicole:                                       22:40                      Really?

Riz:                                              22:40                      Yeah, because I had an old friend who was a pastry chef, and one of the things she taught me when she was in culinary school, or one of the things she was taught in culinary school and she passed it onto me, was when you're looking to make something a little bit airier, it helps to whisk it at eight because you're not whisking over the same part of the batter as much.

Nicole:                                       23:05                      So describe that. You said you're whisking at ... Can you describe that technique?

Riz:                                              23:11                         Yeah. So instead of ... If you imagine yourself holding a whisk in a bowl, instead of just moving the whisk towards and away from you in a straight line, you're just going to move it around the bowl in the shape of the number eight.

Nicole:                                       23:24                       Oh, okay. I was trying to imagine that.

Riz:                                              23:29                       Or an infinity sign if you want to be very philosophical about it. You whisk forever.

Nicole:                                       23:35                       Yeah. Okay, and that's supposed to add air to the batter.

Riz:                                              23:40                      Yeah. And it gives you that lighter madeleine which is a little bit less cake-like, so it has its own moisture and bite in it.

Nicole:                                       23:52                       And so are you whisking before you put it in the fridge or just before you pour it into the molds?

Riz:                                              23:58                       I usually whisk before I put it into the fridge because I don't put it in the fridge very long.

Nicole:                                       24:02                      Okay. Do you pipe it in or do you pour it in?

Riz:                                              24:06                      Both. I've actually tried both. And I found the results to be more or less comparable. So if I'm going to be really fancy, and if I'm making madeleines for the blog, and I want them to look beautiful and perfect in every single mold, I will pipe it in to be safe. But quite often, I've just grabbed a tablespoon and just flopped it on there and it's worked out just fine.

Nicole:                                       24:33                       Yeah, I've done both ways too. Piping is when I'm giving them to somebody. If I just want some madeleines to go with tea, then the spoon method works fine. Actually, I think that they look just as good with the spoon method. But when I'm making them for someone, I need to guarantee that they look good. So that's just [crosstalk 00:24:52] that I feel like you would pipe it. Some people think piping is faster, but I haven't found that it's any different.

Riz:                                              25:03                      No. Yeah, I wouldn't say it's much faster or anything like that.

Nicole:                                       25:06                      Yeah. Yeah. For sure. And then you mentioned madeleines and the other thing that you mentioned in your blog.

Riz:                                              25:13                        Choux pastry.

Nicole:                                       25:14                        Oh, yes. So when you do Choux pastry, are you making cream puffs? Are you making cheese straws? Talk to us about that.

Riz:                                              25:22                       So the first thing I made when I learned Choux pastry was chouquettes, which are similar to cream puffs minus the cream I guess. But they're doused with sugar or with chocolate chips or you can make a savory version called gougere. But they're a super easy thing to do because you literally just make a blob on your baking sheet and then decorate the blob with whatever flavor you want.

Nicole:                                       25:52                       Yes. I love those. I've made those when I was in a part-time pastry program for people who didn't have time to go to culinary school, but who wanted all the culinary techniques. And that was the first thing we learned to make was cheese gougeres. And I'm telling you, they go so good with a salad. Oh, my goodness. You want to have a semi-healthy meal, make a cheese gougere, then make yourself a salad, and sit on the couch, and you are just ... That's a good afternoon for me.

Riz:                                              26:30                      Yeah, yeah. And one of the things with Choux is that it's so easy to work with. The Choux pastry I make if I'm ever trying to impress my friends is I make little Choux swans, which are ... They're these adorable little things. And everyone is always like, "Oh, my God. You made a schwan- A schwan. That's like a swan but when you don't know how to speak.

Nicole:                                       26:57                       I love that. Schwan.

Riz:                                              27:02                       Yes, so when you're making schwans, the interesting thing about them is that they're super easy to make.

Nicole:                                       27:10                        Are you piping them? How are you making the swans?

Riz:                                              27:13                        Yeah, so you pipe the body and you pipe the neck separately. And then you just put them together and let them hold using cream and whatever filling you want. So they're gorgeous. And you have the wings and you have the body and the neck and the head.

Nicole:                                       27:31                        So you're literally, and I want to describe it for those few people who are listening out there going, "What?" So when you're piping, you pipe the body, right? And then you pipe a little head, you swan a little head?

Riz:                                              27:45                       Yeah, the head and the neck. That long S-shape just by itself.

Nicole:                                       27:53                       Oh, I see.

Riz:                                              27:54                       And if you want, you can put a beak on there as well, which is just super easy. You just flick the tip at the top, the top of the S, and you'll have a beak. You bake them separately, and then you put them together, and just let them hold with cream.

Nicole:                                       28:10                       Oh.

Riz:                                              28:12                        Yeah.

Nicole:                                       28:13                        So the cream is like the glue.

Riz:                                              28:14                        The cream is like the glue, yeah.

Nicole:                                       28:18                        Are you piping the cream inside of the body? Or are you putting the cream a little bit on the body and then letting a little come out, and then pushing the swan neck into it?

Riz:                                              28:31                        So what you do is you chop the top off of the body, and you cut that in half to make the wings. And so you have, the body is just vacant then. So you just fill that up with cream and you put wings on the side and stick the neck and the head in. It sounds a little weird when you're just describing it, but if you take a look at a photo, they're just like, "Oh, yeah. That's a swan." And that's incredibly easy to do.

Nicole:                                       29:02                      Is that on your blog?

Riz:                                              29:04                      It is on my blog, yes.

Nicole:                                       29:05                      Oh, perfect. I'm going to link to that in the show notes then so people can be like ... Right now, they're like, "What?" But I understand now what you're saying. So I'm going to definitely link to that in the blog because that just sounds like a win for a party. If you want to impress your friends, you're having a little party, make these. They're not that hard. Even the most beginner home cook can do this. And it'll be very impressive to your friends and family. So I love that you have a recipe for that. That sounds really delicious. I really want to make that today.

Nicole:                                       29:39                       Okay. So what is one tip that you can give to a home cook out there that's been invaluable to you?

Riz:                                              29:48                       I'd say mise en place, just being prepared and setting up your work station or your kitchen and having your ingredients ready and prepped before you start cooking. It just saves so much time and so much headache and it makes clean up so much easier. It changes the way you cook. And it makes cooking, honestly, a much more enjoyable experience. So yeah, I would say definitely just be prepared, get your ingredients chopped early, get everything sorted out for yourself, and then start cooking; rather than cooking and chopping as you go along, because I feel that slows you down a lot.

Nicole:                                       30:32                      That's a great tip. I used to not do that. I'd just start cooking a recipe, then reading the ingredients in the steps and be like, "Oh, no. I made a mistake." And once I started to mise en place myself, I learned that in school, you just have to get your stuff together there. They're not going to wait around for you to figure out what's going on. Once I started to mise en place, I found that I don't ... Not only do I mise en place for my kitchen, I mise en place for my life.

Riz:                                              31:13                         Mise en place for your life. That should be your second blog.

Nicole:                                       31:13                         I know. Mise en place for my life. Yeah, that's a great tip for folks. I think a lot of times, people don't enjoy cooking because things burn or it doesn't turn out right. It's because they didn't take the time to read through the recipe, see the steps, and then figure out what they needed and assemble it all so they can quickly just put it together. They don't have to worry about, "Oh, no. I didn't measure out enough flour." Or, "Oh, no. I forgot to add some salt," which is one of my invaluable tips is to salt your food. Don't be afraid, salt your food. So don't be afraid of salt. Use it. That's always what I tell people.

Nicole:                                       31:52                        So where can people find you?

Riz:                                              31:56                        Chocolatesandchai.com is always the easiest place to find me. I'm on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, all those fun things. I have a YouTube channel that's very neglected, but slowly growing. But I'd say yeah, chocolatesandchai.com is the best place to find me, and it links out to everything else.

Nicole:                                       32:14                        Fantastic. Well, I can't tell you how much fun I've had talking with you today. And I think people are really going to learn a lot from you and your blog. And I just wish you all the best. And I'm telling you, I'm going to make that fluffy pancake recipe. It has captured my attention.

Riz:                                              32:34                       Oh, I hope you like it. And thank you so much for having me. I've had a really great time.

Nicole:                                       32:38                       Fantastic. And for all of you out there, I just want you to know to stay delicious.

Nicole:                                       32:48                       Okay. So it was so fun to interview Riz. His blog, Chocolates & Chai, is so beautiful. And he is such a delight to talk to. And I think what I find most inspiring is that he's not a classically-trained baker. Yet, he's inspired so many people with his recipes, and he's done so much work to train himself, which is really impressive. I really encourage you to try his pancake recipe and I've linked to it in the show notes. It's going to be my go-to recipe when I don't have any sort of buttermilk. I still love a buttermilk pancake, but there's lots of times where I want pancakes, and I don't have buttermilk or yogurt or anything that can taste similar to buttermilk. And his pancake recipe is one of the most popular on his blog. And so I absolutely have to try it. And I encourage you to try it too and tell me about it in the Facebook page or send me a note and tell me what you thought of it. Or tell Riz. I bet you he would love to hear that too.

Nicole:                                       33:50                      So this week, there actually weren't any blaring corrections that I can recall needing to make. But that doesn't mean I didn't make any or that I didn't get something wrong. You know me by now, I love pie. And the best kind of pie is humble. So if I've made a mistake or I didn't get something quite right, tell me about it. Share your knowledge with me and with everyone else in the Facebook page. Or send me note because hey, I'm not a chef, but I just wish I could play one on TV, preferably the Food Network, and I would like to be a judge where I get to sample and eat all the food that people make. Yeah, I'm that person.

Nicole:                                       34:31                        Anyway, if you like this podcast, please consider giving me a five-star review. Those reviews really help the podcast be found by other people, and it really helps out the show. Until next week, this is BFF with the Chef wishing you a great week and hoping that you've been inspired to go and make something delicious. Goodbye.