THE CULTURE BEHIND THE CULINARY
Annie Chu is the founder of Chu on This, a blog-turned-website and brand that has documented her journey to explore “the culture behind the culinary” for over a decade. She was honoured to be named a Taste Canada Awards Shortlisted Author in 2017, the highest recognition for food writing in Canada. She has partnered with numerous brands and organizations including Le Creuset Canada, the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Canada, the Culinary Tourism Alliance, Food Network Canada, and UP Norway, and has eaten her way through over 24 countries.
Annie is also a Bilingual (French and English) Professional Development Lawyer with The Advocates’ Society, a not-for-profit association of judges, lawyers and advocates from all practice areas, and Canada’s premier advocacy skills training provider. Her portfolio has a particular focus on Equity, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) training and regional programs for the Québec Bar.
Annie obtained her Honours Bachelor of Social Sciences in International Studies and Modern Languages (French Immersion) from the University of Ottawa and her Juris Doctor in 2014 from Osgoode Hall Law School. She was called to the Ontario Bar in 2015. During her legal studies, she interned at one of the largest full-service law firms in Beijing, China, and also conducted a major legal research project on Indigenous peoples in Taipei, Taiwan. Prior to joining The Advocates’ Society, Annie was a civil litigator with a specialization in family law. She was also involved in the Canadian Food Law community.
Annie is also the founder and owner of the stationery brand, Chu on This Studio.
Connect with Annie on Instagram for the most up-to-date content.
First time here? If you’re interested in my “food philosophy”, you may want to check out A Cultural Explanation for Why You Can’t Cook, my take on finding “authentic” food, and my thoughts on the food portrayed in Crazy Rich Asians. Or, if you’re looking for some practical content, check out my travel guides and Toronto Restaurant Guide. If you want to learn more or contact me, check out my FAQ, Press and Contact pages, respectively.
Chu on This has a few origin stories. You could say the first version of the “food blog” began when I was an exchange student in France in 2008, at a time when Instagram didn’t exist, and blogs were “pretty cool”. The next (and official) stage of that food blog started two years later when I thought it would be fun to document my week-long work trip to Québec City, where I was left alone with a generous per diem in the land of tourtière and sugar pies. I started having more fun (and getting more serious with) writing about events and restaurants in Ottawa for the benefit of my friends and colleagues, and a growing number of Ottawa locals.
Eventually, I moved to Toronto for law school and I found refuge in continuing to build Chu on This to document any remotely exciting food experience I had, even if it was just making gloopy gnocchi with ingredients I bought from the cafeteria in my tiny law school dorm room. I was able to get through the gruelling memos, essays, competitions and exams knowing that I had a place where I could do some creative writing, practise my photography, and keep myself accountable to all those trips and things I wanted to do (hence the Life List!).
When I started practicing law, I realized I needed Chu on This as an outlet even more, and I started becoming more accountable to an audience as well. Eventually, I started to build this website and Instagram account targeted towards other lawyers and young professionals who needed to find the perfect restaurant for their client lunches, come up with travel itineraries that included authentic food and experiences, discover local speciality ingredients and supper clubs, and decide on whether they might want to buy Le Creuset Canada’s latest minimalist bowls. I started doing more events, and collaborating with more brands and exploring exciting destinations.
Along the way, I also started connecting food to paintbrush and paper, and started making illustrated cards for my close friends and coworkers during the holiday season (and because I never seemed to be able to find the perfect cards in conventional stores). Over time, at the encouragement of my friends and followers, I took another leap and launched an adjacent creative venture in the form of Chu on This Studio, an online shop for hand-illustrated cards and gifts.
Today, Chu on This has really ceased to be a blog in the conventional sense of the word, and is now a personal brand that (I hope) is synonymous with the exploration and appreciation of authentic, well-crafted, culinary culture. I have restaurant guides that will remain on the website and will be updated every few months, I will publish some short essays from time-to-time, I will organize some events, and the most exciting thing on the horizon: some culinary journeys (next up Peru!).
I hope to continue to learn and grow as I explore more of the world and its culinary culture, and share all of the wonderful authentic food and travel experiences I find with you.
Thanks for stopping by.
Chu on This was honoured to be shortlisted for the Taste Canada Awards 2017.