Blog author, Tenele resides in rural NSW Australia with her husband and two festively plump cats Harry and Henry
Hungry Planet is the baby of professional writer, home-cook and career travel agent Tenele Conway.

My career in travel seems inevitable. Travel runs deep with my mother having traipsed around the world twice, the first time all alone and only seventeen years old. Her stories of dancing on the tables high on Sangria in Spain and her now faded photos of long ago locales ignited in me a passion for travel that has gripped my entire twenties and continues strong into my thirties.

But the trouble with having a great passion for travel is pesky thing called reality. The reality that to survive, feed and shelter ourselves we need to work. I have been lucky that my career and my passion intersect and that in being a travel agent I have had opportunities for travel beyond what could ever be expected in one lifetime. Despite these great opportunities there is still a vast majority of time where a nine to five lifestyle becomes a terrible bore. That was until I discovered that there is a way to travel everyday. A way to immerse myself in foreign cultures, savor new experiences and have great adventures all without leaving my own kitchen. This is what I want to share with my readers. I want everyone to discover the fulfillment of travelling the world from their own kitchen. 

For me taking up world cooking has been like taking a daily adventure. I have discovered places I am yet to travel to, new tastes, new ingredients and a new passion for those everyday moments in life. It is also a way to reconnect with those memories of past travels and bring them to life again. For years I dreamed of recreating my experience with the steaming hot hell broth that is szechuan Hot Pot just as I had experienced it in China and the day I stumbled upon a truly authentic recipe for this and I cooked it up I was instantly transported back to that moment in time. As my tongue tingled with the szechuan peppercorns and sweat beaded from my brow I knew that cooking could be a portal, a portal to your past or to distant lands, a connection with family or a connection with strangers soon to be friends.

No longer are weekends filled with housework and television. I now spend my days sharing in the experience with my husband, hunting for exotic ingredients and spending many hours converting those foreign ingredients into some of the most incredible world cuisines. In doing so we have forged a bond in the shared connection of cooking, exploring and discovering new cultures.

When I recount my cooking adventures to friends and colleagues they hold me up as a talented cook, far beyond their means but it isn’t true. I am not a talented cook just an adventurous cook and I want all to know they can be a kitchen adventurer too.

My preferred method of exploration is the humble cookbook. I can step into the kitchen and put myself and my taste buds into the hands of the world's best cooks and chefs. I let them guide me with their words and pictures into their world. Flicking through my latest cookbook purchase with the zeal of a lonely housewife and her copy of Fifty Shades of Grey I know I have discovered the key. The key to all the cultural cooking adventures I could ever wish for. The key to knowledge and new horizons and you too can grasp that key and enter a new world.

I urge everyone to try a new experience in the kitchen and see where it may take you. There are endless resources at your fingertips to take you anywhere you want to go. You could start with my blog and see where I have been journeying to from the kitchen lately, you can buy a cookbook there are thousands of exotic titles to take you all over the world, you can surf the web for inspiration or spend an evening cooking with a friend and learning recipes close to their heritage. Remember you are no longer limited by money and long airplane trips over vast oceans. 

Wherever you can cook you can go...join me.

I would love to hear from you, my readers and cook recipes unique to your culture. Make sure you read my “Join the Conversation” page so you can find out how to get in touch with me to share your recipes and stories. It can be a struggle to get people to engage with a blog but I know there are people out there who have an innate connection with the cuisines of their own culture and want to share it with the world so be sure to drop me a line.

Chongqing Hot Pot

A word of warning:

I am not a chef. My cooking skills are self taught and I am always learning. My kitchen successes probably outweigh my failures but I am partial to both.

Travel agents know how to have fun but I don't have wild and seedy Anthony Bourdain style stories to share with you, no I haven't spent decades working in kitchens with a crack pipe and a heroin addiction.

I am not a TV personality, although I did once make a cake on the "Prime Possum" show.

Limitations of income prevent me from being a true Foodie. You won't see too many Michelin stars in this mouth and I will take a Kentucky Bourbon over a fine wine any day.

I don't even have a desire to work in a professional kitchen, don't turn a passion into a job unless you are prepared to see it from a whole other perspective, one you may not like. You can read more about my former cake decorating career right here.

What I am though to the core is a traveller who loves to eat and this is what you will find in my blog. World food, stories from the road and an appetite for exploration.

Martin and Tenele in Ubud, Bali 

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