Style Fix Spotlight Corinna Horton

Corinna Horton
The Food Gypsy


I read the ‘about us’ section on the Food Gypsy website. Corinna Horton has a fantastic life story. I think Hollywood needs to make a movie about her life and I think Julianne Moore or Jessica Chastain should play her in the movie.

Here is our interview with the delightful Corinna Horton.

I love the Food Gypsy website. It has so much information – I could literally sit and read the posts for hours. The pictures are beautiful!
I believe you eat with your eyes first. Food and fashion have a lot in common – color, texture, shape – it’s all important. Do you feel the same way?

Awe shucks, thanks Natasha, Food Gypsy truly is a labour of love. I love to connect with others though the medium of food, I am grateful for every reader, fan and friend I make through it. It is such an honor.

Sometimes I shake my head when I look back on parts of my personal history (i.e. my partner leaving the Inn for the wife of our first guests) and think… ‘seriously, this reads like fiction’. The Universe has a twisted sense of humor. Been joking about writing a screenplay for years but as the new year dawned, I actually sat down to draft an outline. A good story longs to be told.

As a ‘real food’ advocate, I feel that what we eat should feed us on every level. First it should stimulate the senses; sight, scent, taste and texture being foremost, but let’s not forget the purr of your morning cappuccino and the sizzle of a great steak. You will hear, see and smell a great meal before it hits the plate.

I rely heavily on my nose, when in search of sustenance. If I walk into a food establishment and it smells of anything other than good food, I turn on my heel and walk right back out. Nothing good can come of sour, acrid or stench.

Plating and presenting food is a great art. My style is casual and loose, somewhat rustic. Like any art, it’s something that is constantly changing and evolving, as I change and grow in the kitchen. I long to plate with elegant refinement, like the Chef in my life, Benoit Gelinotte. Ben has had years to refine his style and technique, while I am still stretching and learning. So I work with what I have and keep pushing. So long as it makes you want to reach out and lick your screen, I’m good.

Wish I had more time to blog, been very busy with new projects since the new year.

I watched the video ‘Food Gypsy is Heading to the World Food Championships’ on your YouTube page. ( I love the name of your lamb burger – very clever. We share the same sense of humor.) Tell me about that experience. I’ve never been to Vegas and I’m dying to go!

The Lamburghini was my winning burger entry for the Taste of Home Canada Burger Off Contest that earned me an invitation to the World Food Championships, which I thought was spam at first. Nope, turns out it’s a real thing…lol.

Competing at the World Food Championships (WFC) was my first Vegas trip, it’s been on my list for years, but I’m not a fan. Las Vegas has a nervous energy that sets people on edge, I call it ‘harnessed chaos’. It’s a city built on a mirage of wealth, that is essentially loss, but I can see the appeal. It’s very glittery. Given my choice of American desert based cities I’d choose Phoenix over Vegas any day.

That said, the experience at the WFC was amazing on many levels. I was joined in Vegas by my good friend Diane Meagher, who came along as my assistant cook, and my Dad and stepmom Leann, who drove two days from their home in the Okanagan to cheer me on. This made my first taste of Vegas supportive and embracing.

I don’t get the chance to see my parents very often, so it was wonderful to have Dad & Leann there, being our outside timers and watching the official clock. I handed my camera over to my Dad and he became our official photographer. They both kept telling me to smile. LOL. Cook and smile. The pressure!

That support gave me a feeling of confidence. The WFC was my first food sport competition, so I was ‘butterflies in my stomach’ kind of nervous without the Chef in my life by my side. (Ben really is my rock in the kitchen.)

We’ve been through some financial setbacks, that made sponsorship necessary just to compete but when that sponsorship fell through, friends refused to let me give up. (Thank God for pushy friends!) They talked me into being open to a crowd funding effort to support my entry and the next thing you know money started to arrive… cheques in the mail, electronic money transfers and Paypal donations. (There is grace in learning to receive.)

Style Fix Spotlight Corinna Horton 2

Benoit & his boss, Patrick MacQuaid at Culinary Conspiracy helped me host a mini pop-up featuring my signature burger “The Amazin’ Asian” to help bridge the cost of ingredients and transportation. People I’d never met, and some very good friends, came out for a night of food and fun. But we still had only enough to get me there, alone, to cook on the clock for a chance on winning $10,000.

Diane surprised me at the last minute (paying her own way) as my helper, which was hilarious as she rarely cooks… she claims her dream home has no kitchen. I walked her through each recipe and the timing of each element and we tag-teamed it to the finish. Could not have asked for better support. I was thrilled to make it to the stage as top ten in the World Burger Championships, the competition was fierce. Even more thrilled (and weepy grateful) to finish 5th overall. It felt good to place well, and make those people who were so generous with their support, proud.

Interested to see the WFC reality show, shot live on site, airing this spring on A&E’s new FYI Channel (launching in the next few months). As the top finishing Canadian competitor, I’m a delighted to represent with a few great burgers. Though I’d like to apologize in advance for crying on camera; I was overwhelmed and overtired. Sure it won’t be pretty, but it was sincere.

I believe you are what you eat. Do you believe that?

If we are what we eat then I’m about 10% butter…which explains a few things…

Food is fuel, so the saying “you are what you eat” is very true. I like to think of the body as a furnace, if you have an efficient furnace it burns better. Be cautious of dirty fuel, heavy in toxins or improperly treated substances, and tend your fire well. Know what works for YOUR body and when in doubt — if you can’t pronounce it, chances are it’s not good fuel. Natural is best. Organic is better. Choose your fuel well.

The best rule of thumb of living is: everything in moderation, including moderation. Wine and dark chocolate, for instance, contain healthy antioxidants and cancer fighting agents. (Hey, I’m fighting cancer over here!) Live it up. It’s your life, savour every morsel.


What cities are on your travel culinary bucket list?

I never get tired of New York, I’ve yet to explore Paris and long on my list is Singapore. Singapore represents such a merging of cultures – I can really get my Asian on there.

When we were messaging each other – you told me that you were turning 50 this year. Which I still cannot believe. I would have given you late 30’s early 40’s tops.
I’m starting to believe that, when people reach milestones in life, it would be a disservice not to pay some type of homage to it. I think it’s important to acknowledge accomplishments in life – especially those that are achieved through hard work and dedication. How are you planning to celebrate turning 50?

We’re talking about an extra-long weekend in Quebec City, meeting my Mom for a bit more family fun. (Mom lives in Nova Scotia, so Quebec city is our version of ‘halfway’.) As for the menu, I demand wine.

Now the style side of fifty, I’ve taken a fashion risk this year in isolating a streak of silver to grow out to mark my ‘Golden Year’ as I’m calling it. “It’s not grey, it’s natural highlights!” Or so I keep telling myself. Hey, if it can work for Stacy London, it can work for me.

I love quotes – how one sentence can have so much meaning.

Love a good quote myself. Wisdom in a sound bite. Here are a few I keep close to the heart:

On beauty and age:

“Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty.” ~ Coco Chanel

Best advice for a harmonious home:

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” ~ William Morris

My inspiration every time I pick up a pen on the topic of food:

“There is no more sincere love than the love of food.” ~ George Bernard Shaw.

But my best life advice came to me from a well raised Southern woman, whom I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful friendship with before she passed away in 1995, Bobby Huff. Whenever I quote her, I do so with a Georgian drawl, in her honor:

“There are two things in life paying full retail for; a good pair of shoes and a good mattress.
Because if you are not in one, you are in the other.” ~ Bobby Huff

This has justified many a shoe purchase.

Everyone has the power to reinvent themselves. I think, as I get older, I’m more confident in doing this – I think that’s what makes women sexy – confidence – fashion, hair and beauty are just very important accessories. What fashion and beauty lessons did you learn in your 20s, 30s and 40s?

Seems kind of wild to be guest posting on the topic of beauty, I’m far from a glamazon. The kitchen is not exactly a fashion parade. I favor a life of simplicity and am usually found in jeans and sneakers. I believe good health is the best basis of beauty and that confidence is the best fashion statement.

In my 20’s I learned to make fashion choices based on what looks good on me instead of being lead around by trends.

That meant clothing that accentuates my figure and makeup that compliments my features and learning to be at home in those choices, which are largely classic and structured. I also learned how to care for my freckly, combination skin, which was plagued by acne as a teen. Nothing says healthy like great skin; at any age. This change was largely diet related, but one appointment with a good dermatologist changed my life. She told me that I was stripping my skin of it’s natural resilience, that’s when I switched to a gentle cleanser that fed and repaired my skin. It was a miracle.

In my 30’s I learned to attend to my inner beauty, as it greatly affects outer beauty.

While a healthy exterior and solid wardrobe are the tools of a well tuned out woman, all beauty is lost if what comes out of your mouth is ugliness. Pain, be it emotional, mental or physical will poison your life. If it’s broken, fix it. In my 30’s I healed hurts that caused me pain. In that journey, I learned to move to my greatest strength – kindness and best utilize my greatest gift – compassion. I also learned to apply compassion to my inner dialogue and find a voice of kindness for myself.

This shift in perspective moved many, if not all, of my relationships. Some fell away. Some were greatly enriched. This lead to a deeper, more balanced emotional and spiritual life, and a feeling of deep contentment and inner peace. That inner quiet makes me smile more. A smile is a woman’s best fashion accessory. In fact, sometimes, it’s all you need.

In my 40’s I discovered the fountain of youth…movement. (Move it or loose it Sista’!)

I shifted from high impact sports to a foundation of movement that’s easier on the body. I gave up running for walking and hiking, Ashtanga Yoga for Hatha Yoga and Pilates and high-impact dance for ballroom. I still bike and swim when I can, but my days of punishing my joints and in particular my feet, are over. I am a HUGE fan of Pilates and what it can do for the body, building core strength and tone. A healthy core means a strong back.

Just 30 minutes of exercise a day will dramatically improve your health, lowering cholesterol, reducing the chance of heart disease and stroke and keeping joints moving.

Moving into fifty…

At the moment I’m a heavier than I like to be, so this year is all about getting back to what works. We’ve been moving from crisis to crisis for about 3 years, time to put that behind us and find new balance.

I am also fortunate to have a feisty French woman in my corner. My BFF, Astrid DesLandes, reminds me regularly to embrace my own style. To let go of the conservative box I often find myself in and LET LOOSE. I love pattern and colour, it’s the Gypsy in me. She encourages my wild side with pieces of vintage silk and funky earrings. We don’t see each other as much as I would like (because she lives in Calgary), but she’s still my fashion guru and has given me some of the best style advice of my life. “Hmmmm,” she said looking over my collection of runners on her last visit “time for new shoes!”

*Sigh* I love her.

I’m a strong believer that everything in life happens for a reason. So I don’t think I would change anything in my life, if I could do it over. What about you?

“Nothing lasts forever. So live it up, drink it down, avoid the drama, take chances and never have regrets, because at one point everything you did was exactly what you wanted.” ~ Marilyn Monroe.

I could not have said it better than Norma Jean. Live large.

Since we are a fashion and beauty blog, would you mind answering some personal questions?

Do you have a daily beauty routine?

AM: Meditate. Moisturize – e v e r y w h e r e. Put on a bit of make-up; tinted moisturizer, pencil liner, mascara, blush, brows and tinted lip balm. Voila.
PM: Cleanse, tone and moisturize.

Once a month I do a full body facial, using fine sugar as an exfoliating agent and then pour hydration into my skin. The results are soft, smooth skin that glows. I find winter particularly hard on my skin. I miss the humility of coastal living, takes ten years off! Recently I invested in a good foundation primer for television appearances, to even out tone. Other than that, I’m pretty minimal in my approach to beauty.

Smile. Laugh. Love. Let your light shine.

Let’s hear some of your favorites…

piece of clothing you own: A beautiful, sequined black on black scarf. It’s instant glamour.
pair of shoes: Due to years of foot punishment, I am generally found in orthopedic shoes. But when I endure pain for the sake of fashion I don a pair of Bebe black patent, kitten heels.
place to shop: Winners – I loves me a good bargain.
hair product: Fast Fix by TIGI – makes my fine hair manageable.
makeup must have: GOOD Mascara – Always buy the best mascara you can afford. It’s my favorite duty-free purchase. Some buy booze, I buy mascara.

What is your favorite way to pamper yourself?

Pedicure. Please. Rub my feet.

Finally pick three words that describe you best.

Witty. Soulful. Kind.