Born in Vancouver, Carmen Cheng moved to Calgary over 15 years ago. Carmen is an HR professional who comes from a long line of food lovers. She believes in learning about different cultures through understanding and honouring their culinary stories. She will try pretty much any food because there’s no room for pretension. Carmen started @foodkarmablog on Instagram and Twitter to get to know more about the food scene in Alberta. Since then she has shared her food adventures on various forms of media and publications including print, online, and television. 

What do you tell your friends and family from other cities about life in Calgary?

A lot of my friends and family in Vancouver still have this misperception of Calgary being a small, western town, that snows most of the year, with an abundance of steakhouses. I want them to know that Calgary in many ways is a progressive city represented by different cultures. 

What has kept you in the city? 

I’ve seen this city grow over fifteen years. When I first moved here it seemed like most people hadn’t tried sushi or dim sum. Over the years I’ve seen an openness to embracing newness. This is evident in businesses wanting to collaborate with others in order to learn from one another and to innovate, especially in the food community. We have chefs in this city creating some phenomenal dishes and flavours. 

What do you do in your spare time? 

I love catching up with friends over a meal, whether one that we cooked at home or out at a restaurant. To compensate for all the food, I workout through barre classes. I really struggled with finding a workout that I would want to go to, until I went to Barre Body Studio. Every class is a bit different which keeps things interesting. My dog is also the centre of my world and we love spending time with her on walks or at home. 

What do you think is the biggest surprise about Calgary for anyone who isn’t familiar with the city?

That we have some amazing Vietnamese food. From hole in the walls that have become institutions in this city like Song Huong to modernized Vietnamese cuisine like Pure Contemporary Vietnamese Kitchen. In fact, some of the best Vietnamese food I’ve eaten has been in Alberta.

How has the city influenced who you are or your organization?

There’s a real grit and entrepreneurial spirit in the culture of Calgary. In a sense I grew up in this city because I moved here for my first real job. This culture has taught me to embrace change and try new things, both in my personal and professional lives.


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Calgary’s community is made up different types of people and I love the idea of having those different viewpoints showcase this city. 

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