Julie Van Rosendaal: Expert of Everyday Eats

One of Julie’s earliest memories is shopping for cheese at Kensington Market in Toronto. As a small child, she just loved being surrounded by what felt like “towers of cheese.” Today, Julie is one of Canada’s top food bloggers. She’s also a cookbook author, food stylist, radio and TV personality, mom… the list goes on. What’s her superpower? Authenticity.

The dishes that Julie creates for dinnerwithjulie.com aren’t epic recipes with super-trendy, super-expensive ingredients. They’re straightforward, tasty, nutritious and fun meals you can make with what you’re likely to have on hand right now. It’s all served up with generous slices of life in a sunny kitchen, and reading her entries feels like talking to an old friend on the phone.

“In most households, the dinnertime decision-making process is based on whatever you might have on hand. Or reheating something, or relying on an old standby. That’s what’s so great about having Canadian cheese in the fridge. It can turn almost any leftover into a completely new dish.”

Like many of us, she grew up eating grilled cheese sandwiches, tuna melts, cheese dogs and cheeseburgers. “I’ll still eat just about anything with melted cheese on it. It’s just heartwarming. Back then it was mostly Canadian Mild Cheddar, which I still love, but it’s fun to update those childhood favourites with grown-up flavours. I love to do a grilled cheese with a Canadian Aged Cheddar inside, and a mix of butter and grated Canadian Gouda on the outside. We’ve got one here from Red Deer in Alberta called Grizzly Gouda, which I just love.”

As a mom, she relies on Canadian cheese as a form of “guaranteed” nutrition for her son. “Lunchtime at school is shorter than it used to be, and kids often rush through lunch so they have more time to play. If he eats nothing else, I know my son will eat the bag of Canadian cheese cubes I put in his lunch box. It’s portable protein. It’s not messy. It keeps all day, so you can save some for later.”

Her blog is full of practical tips like this, along with mouth-watering photos of her original recipes. When we dig for the secret food-styling tricks she uses when photographing cheese, she tells us straight, in a way that sums up both her genuine approach to cooking and her authentic Canadian grit – “Listen. With cheese, you can’t fake it. It’s not going to look all warm and bubbly if it’s not truly warm and bubbly. Sure, I have a blowtorch. But I like how when it comes to cheese, it’s got to be real.” For a regular dose of Julie’s deliciously down-to-earth kitchen wisdom, follow her at dinnerwithjulie.com.

Want to know Julie’s secret to making the perfect cheeseburger? Take a look and find out:

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