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World Nomad Passport and Plate Scholarship: AP to Sri Lanka in 2015!

March 5, 2015


Wish me luck! Today I applied for a World Nomads scholarship to travel to Sri Lanka as a food blogger!

Ever wonder why Indian food is so delicious? This recent Washington Post article explains that in contrast to Western recipes, “Indian cuisine tended to mix ingredients whose flavors don’t overlap at all.

Well here’s to me getting to find out more about Indian AND Sri Lanka cuisine first hand! Here’s my page–not looking like much yet…after all it is only a baby of a few hours old at this point!

According to their website, “Every year, World Nomads send talented storytellers on money-can’t-buy learning experiences around the world.” They have scholarships that focus on travel writing, film, photography, food and more.

I applied for World Nomads Passport and Plate: Three travellers will win an opportunity to spend one week in Sri Lanka on an all-expenses-paid, custom food tour, courtesy of Intrepid Travel because


…Culinary exploration provides not only the opportunity to fill your belly, but is also one of the best ways to learn about a culture and connect to the local community.

Sri Lanka mentors will guide the winners to local farmers and artisan producers, where they will learn how to make curries in local kitchens, cook snacks with street vendors, catch dinner with fishermen, and cook the local cuisine–and feast!

Each food explorer will keep a daily blog on World Nomads documenting their culinary experiences in Sri Lanka featuring stories, photos and recipes from the road. Learn more about each of these regions.

Winners will visit the food security project funded through Footprints micro-donations and “learn how Oxfam is promoting environmentally sustainable agricultural practices and supporting small scale group enterprises – by visiting” these communities.

Last but not least, the winner has to be comfortable being on camera as the whole trip is documented. I’ve already been a finalist for a contest to go to Chile as a wine blogger –and that required a one minute video (and we had only about 48 hours to make it!) I’ve done radio and TV journalism and my own poetry videos too–and after our trip to Portugal, Jo Diaz made this video using still photos of me really investigating the scene:

To apply, I had 2000 characters including spaces to tell a story about a recipe. We had limits on the number of characters for the recipe and then we had 1500 characters for a bio. I struggled to decide and actually wrote two entries, one on pecan pie and the other on ahi tuna.

You can read them both and more on my World Nomads page.

Read the pecan recipe here on my blog. Or the tuna recipe below. A draft of the bio I submitted is also below.





SEARED AHI TUNA SALAD with blueberries

It starts with fish, fresh ahi tuna to be precise. And it starts with a whisper:

“Did you hear the tuna boat is in town this weekend?”

This tuna comes from the ocean that I see each day when I walk along the beach—the Pacific Ocean embraced between Channel Islands National Park and the Ventura and Santa Barbara county coastline.

The tuna boat goes out each month during the season from December to April and returns with its catch. Not just ahi but other fish as well, although the ahi is our favorite. When they have their limit, they pull in to the Ventura Harbor, less than five miles from my house. They join the Saturday fisherman’s market where each week we can pick up lobster, Santa Barbara spot prawns, shrimp, fish, crabs, whelk, and other delights when they are in season.

People hear about it come from all over southern California, and they line up to buy whole fish or fish that’s already butchered.

We usually buy a whole fish right off the boat—sometimes 20 pounds, sometimes 60, depending on how many friends we will be sharing it with. We let them clean it, and cut it into 2-3 pound chunks, and we take the belly. One day I will take the carcass and make soup but I have not been that adventurous a cook yet. I am, however, a very adventurous eater.

Often we have a huge tuna feast with friends. Someone will carve the toro for sashimi while we gather and tell stories. Some drink wine, others drink beer.

When the pan is smoking hot with coconut oil, we sear the thick ahi steaks for 30 seconds or so on each side. We slice the steaks to reveal the hidden succulent ruby red flesh, and lay them on the greens from our gardens using special “fish” plates. On the head of the plate, we mound brown rice with a blueberry for an eye. We scatter local blueberries, and walnuts, and some white stilton with dried apricots. We drizzle sesame oil on the fish, and use an orange champagne vinegrette and walnut or olive oil.

And then we gather around the table and let the wine and the stories wine flow.

To serve 3-4

Slice into 4 1” thick steaks:
1 pound fresh sushi grade ahi

Melt 1 T coconut oil then
Sear ahi steaks in smoking hot iron skillet
30 seconds each side
To Plate:

1” field greens
1” slices tuna drizzled with sesame oil
1T white stilton with dried apricot
1 T walnuts
2 T fresh bluberries

Champagne Citrus vinegar
Walnut or olive oil


This is a draft–I edited it a bit and don’t see the final just now:

A scholarship to travel to Sri Lanka with World Nomads? Where I will be guided to experience the exquisite and complex cuisine of this Island state from farm to table? Prep and clean too? And then blog?

Take me, Gwendolyn Alley aka Art Predator! Have Macbook Air, will travel! And blog, tweet, Facebook like mad!

As an established blogger, social media influencer, and college writing professor, I have been a featured speaker at the International Food Bloggers Conference and at the Wine Bloggers Conference, I’ve attended seven Wine Bloggers Conferences in three countries (winning three scholarships), and I’ve led a writing workshop on a Nile Cruise. I’ve also attended WordCamp in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

As Art Predator, I prowl for the aesthetic—that which engages the whole soul, according to Coleridge. Wine, food, travel: I’m always looking for exciting experiences to share with my readers and subscribers.

Plus I’ve never been to Asia! However, I have backpacked from Mexico to Canada. They don’t call me a “wash’n’wear” kind of gal for nothing!

I am thrilled by the opportunity to share with readers the joys of the journey and what I learn about the exciting cuisine of this region. With my background in creative writing, environmental studies, and ecopsychology, I will write with flair about the land and the people, because as lovely as the cuisine may be, it’s the stories that surround them that create a full aesthetic experience which “engages our souls.”


4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2015 2:29 am

    Good luck! :) Sounds so exciting!

  2. nydia permalink
    March 6, 2015 10:33 am

    Yes – you go! Wishing you the best of luck. What a great opportunity.

  3. March 6, 2015 1:53 pm

    Best wishes to you for a big win and a fabulous journey…Bravo on all you have accomplished!! Its amazing to read about.. and BRAVISSIMO on the AHI approach to the tuna..That story made me weep with the memory of how wonderful the seafood is on the westcoast… miss it so much!! enjoy and GOOD LUCK!!

  4. March 6, 2015 1:59 pm

    Thank you, everyone! Yes, I am very grateful that we have access to such wonderful fresh seafood and vegetables here in Southern California! Sri Lanka is known also for its fresh seafood so I’m really excited about trying it one day! Discovering the delicious seafood based cuisine of Portugal was one of the best and most surprising aspects of that trip! I just wish on my trip to Egypt we’d been able to taste a greater variety of food and learned more about it–and the people who produce it.

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