Digging Deeper: Meet Contributor Sophie MacKenzie

In our Digging Deeper series we introduce you to some of the contributors in our new issue TRADE. We hope you enjoy this behind the scenes look at how some of the pieces came to be, and the stories behind these inspiring makers, doers, and dreamers.

Find Sophie's piece "Sea Change: A Guide to Edible Sea Vegetables" in the HANDS section of Issue 23 :: TRADE.

You write and blog about whole foods, with delicious, plant-based recipes and beautiful photographs. What first brought you to this world of food blogging?

Blogging was something I thought about for a long time before I actually made the plunge to put my recipes out there. I’ve always been one of those people who is into baking, cooking with natural ingredients, and feeding others. Our house was always the house people would come to and not leave without being fed, so I learned from an early age how to make a one pot dish to feed at least a dozen people.

After I graduated from university, I was left working full time in an organic wood fire bakery in Victoria, B.C. and felt a little lost. School had given me a project to work on and direction in life, and I knew that I needed to create my own ‘home work’ outside of my typical day to day work. Writing and recipe development naturally fit the bill. Then by chance, Demetria Provatas interned at the bakery I worked at. She was really into blogging at that time and having another person to discuss the process and to set up fun photo shoots with, made me fall in love with it even more

Tell us a little bit about the recipes you create.  Where do you find your inspiration? 

I grew up in a rural environment surrounded by the bounty of the west coast. We had chickens for eggs, goats for milk, and a huge veggie garden. My parents are really big into celebrating the seasons, so we would always make the most of whatever wild berry, or local produce was abundant. I was lucky enough to have parents who came of age in the 70’s and still held onto their hippie roots. Every meal we ate was homemade and enjoyed around the table as a family. Fresh brown bread, tofu, and sprouts were everyday occurrence to me. To amuse myself as a child, I would spend hours looking at my mum’s old 70’s cookbooks (Diet for a small Planet being her favourite), and ended up using them to make all my first meals (like whole wheat wacky cake). They totally shaped the way I think of a meal to this day. Whether it be for the blog or our suppers at home,  I still find inspiration in the west coast hippie tradition of my childhood and the food I grew up on. I like to take the traditional ‘hippie’ foods and try to give them a more modern spin while also adding in some of the ideas and flavours I’ve picked up along my travels.




In this issue of Taproot you focus on seaweed, with its many varieties, uses and benefits. I’d love to hear more about your explorations in cooking with seaweed.

Maybe it’s in part because I eat vegan, but seaweed is something I crave - maybe it’s the iron - so I love to add it to as many dishes as I can. My brother and sister in law live in Japan, so whenever I visit them, I’m always picking up new seaweed ideas and tricks. We have such good seaweed here on the west coast too, and it’s so readily available, I feel like it’s a crime not to use it. Another reason I love it, is because all my ancestral roots are  in Scotland and the northern U.K., so I feel like eating seaweed is in part revisiting my ancestral past.

Lately, I’ve been super into adding seaweed to breads like focaccia, sourdough loaves, as well as things like savoury scones and muffins. And vegan pate! Kelp powder in vegan pate is the best, especially with some potato and mushrooms.. Sometimes a dish doesn't always turn out as planned, but most of the time the seaweed adds a nice earthy and salty flavour that I can get behind.

What projects do you have in the works? What’s next for you that you’re particularly excited about?

I really want to focus on the blog a bit more and add more natural DIY’s to it. While food is still my passion, I want to include more recipes for natural living like homemade soaps, creams, and natural hair care. I’m very much into making salves and body products at the moment, and hoping others are too.

You can find more from Sophie at wholeheartedeats.com.