Hi there! I’m Cynthia, a lifelong passionate cook who has turned my love of food into a career. I have worked in James Beard nominated bakeries and alongside James Beard finalist chefs and butchers in both restaurants and private chef environments.
Growing up in a mixed Southern and Korean household, I am excited to share the traditional techniques and delicious flavors I have loved throughout the years, as well as those I have picked up through a lifetime of working and traveling.
I am a wife of over 30 years and a mother of three adult daughters, and I’ve had the joy of more than a few careers in my life. Recently, I have been working as a professional cook and baker and a published food writer, as well as developing and testing recipes to share with my readers.
Although my blog now primarily features breakfast and brunch recipes, I rarely cooked breakfast before the pandemic. My husband, who transferred to the Emergency Department during the pandemic, leaves the house before 10 in the morning and returns well after midnight. Breakfast has become our one meal together, and possibly his only meal of the day, so I want to make it filling and memorable, and to share it with all of you.
I have been privileged to work with many talented chefs and bakers in award-winning restaurants and bakeries, gaining a wealth of knowledge in both sweet and savory cooking along the way. My exposure to so many brilliant cooks has allowed me to hone my skills and opened my life to new experiences that have allowed me to continue to grow in my love of food. Here are some of those experiences:
- Baker in a James Beard Nominated Bakery on the Jersey Shore
- Trained and worked with James Beard Best New Chef Finalist, David Viana, in his restaurant Heirloom Kitchen in Old Bridge, New Jersey
- Teaching brunch classes at Heirloom Kitchen
- Food writer and recipe developer for Simply Recipes, part of the DotDash Meredith Company
- Food photographer for Simply Recipes and EatingWell, both part of the DotDash Meredith Company
- Work with world-renowned butcher Pat Lafrieda at the New York City Wine and Food Festival (NYCWFF) and cooking and photographing his products for his website
- Part of the winning culinary team that won the People's Choice Award at the 2023 NYCWFF Burger Bash
- Featured in cooking segments on television, such as the NY Living TV show on PIX11 in New York City
My Food Philosophy
My recipes are never overcomplicated, and always approachable. I try to give you the why and how for all of the steps without overwhelming you with information. I want everyone to feel comfortable and set up for success while you are trying new flavors and new techniques.
To me, food is not just fuel, and it is not healthy or unhealthy. Food is the joy of a life well lived. It is new experiences, new colors, and new challenges. I love watching someone's face when they taste and enjoy something that I have created and I want that for you too. Through my blog, I hope to help you feel confident that you can create delicious things!
In my household, we rise with the sun and don't stop working until late in the night, so breakfast or brunch is usually when we sit down and share a meal together. Join me at the kitchen counter, where I cook for my busy household, and for you, starting first thing in the morning! Let's get cooking!
While I have not attended culinary school, I do have a lot of practical experience in both sweet and savory cooking. I started out training in pastry shops as a baker, interning and working with highly acclaimed chefs in their restaurants, and working as a private chef. I currently teach cooking and baking classes in New Jersey and participate yearly in the New York City Wine and Food Festival as a chef.
I would love for you to share my recipes. That's how you spread the word that I'm out here doing what I do! However, ask that you not post the entire recipe. This blog is a labor of love, but it is also how I make a living.
While providing you with free recipes, I earn a living through the placement of ads on my account. If you make one of my recipes, post a picture on your Instagram, maybe add a link to my recipe, and please tag me @butfirst_webrunch or use the hashtag #butfirstwebrunch so I can brag about you!
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Don't we all? But, if you have a recipe specific question you can leave it in the comment section at the bottom of the recipe. If you have the question, chances are someone else does too! If you prefer to contact me directly, you can use my contact form and I'll get back to you as soon as possible!