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Featured on Jun 21, 2011

Serena Tong

"Devouring the Big Apple, One Bite at a Time"


Food blogger, writer, and wannabe TV show host. Expert baker and novice cook. New Yorker by choice and New Jerseyan by birth (don't hold it against her). Can be found toiling away in her tiny apartment kitchen or around NYC consuming obscene amounts of dessert.

  • Title: Founder of
  • Age: 29
  • Location: Flatiron District
  • Contact: @bigapplenosh, facebook

You claim to be more well-versed in baking than cooking.  Is there any particular reason why? Do you prefer baking over cooking? What are the different challenges between the two?

I consider baking is a science, cooking an art – and let’s face it, I was never that artistic.  I’m intrigued by the reaction that occurs when yeast is introduced to warm water, and the fact that baking soda and baking powder are not interchangeable.  I have a healthy respect for the inevitability of  meringue falling on a humid day, and the temperamental nature of sugar, which burns intensely yet pulls into skeins as delicate as silk.  Baking requires precise measurements, procedure and circumstance, whereas cooking often allows for a little more improvisation and customization.  I haven’t yet reached the level of prowess to create food out of ingredients on the fly, so for now, I rely on the exacting nature of baking. (Or maybe that’s just my failed baked eggplant talking)

How do you find and choose what new restaurant or recipe to try next?  Before blogging, how did you keep track of your food finds?

The restaurant selection process is pretty organic (read: haphazard) – it’s usually dictated by what cuisine I’m in the mood for, what neighborhood I happen to be in, or suggestions by friends.  I love discovering hole-in-the-wall joints – especially when they turn out to be good.  Before blogging, I kept track of my food finds in my handy-dandy Excel spreadsheet, with notes about cuisine, service, price and general vibe.

As for recipes, I bring in breakfast for my coworkers every few weeks – so I use that as a great excuse to experiment with baked goods recipes.  I also try recipes to address a personal interest – for example, I’m extremely veggie averse, so I made a resolution to try 20 vegetable recipes this year.  I’ve thus far stalled on number six, so suggestions are welcome!

If you were stuck on an island and could only have one meal, what would it be?

Barring any consideration for health and nutrition (I’m assuming that went out the window when I got marooned), I’d love a never-ending cheese course.  I’ve never met a cheese I didn’t like!  My favorite is Epoisses, which is odiferous and heavenly.

Your bio on Big Apple Nosh makes mention of 6 year old Serena returning home with a lunchbox full of Jello.  Can you tell us the story behind this?

It was a balmy Wednesday, and as we all knew in Elementary School #3, Wednesdays were red Jello days.  I always looked upon the school lunchers with envy, as I brought my lunch to school every day, lovingly hand-packed by my mom.  For some reason, none of my classmates were feeling the Jello that day.  Not one to waste food (and especially not Jello, come on!), I packed all of the rejected Styrofoam containers into my Miss Piggy lunchbox.  I thought nothing of it until later, when my mom eyed my lunchbox aghast as red liquid dripped from the lunchbox, a reminder of the gelatin that once was.

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