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About Me

Micah and Steve

Kamusta! (Means “Hello” in Tagalog!)

Nice to meet you! Thanks for stopping by to learn more about me!

Thanks for stopping by! I’m Micah and next to me in the picture is my loveliest, sweetest husband, Steven!

I’ve lived fractions of my life in different countries. This international upbringing has undoubtedly led me to discover new and different type of cuisines that I would’ve otherwise never heard of or tasted before! Growing up in different countries and communities have become such a large part of who I am, and it’s what inspired me to start this food blog! A lot of people asked me why I grew up in as many countries as I did. The answer is my parents: My Dad is a Pastor involved with church planting, and my Mom works as a public servant!

I was born in Manila, Philippines and my family and I moved to Wellington, New Zealand when I was 6 years old. My childhood memories and formative years were developed mainly in Wellington, New Zealand. There, I started learning about other foods outside of Filipino cuisine. Then, at the age of 12, we moved to Melbourne, Australia! But before moving our lives to Melbourne, we took a summer vacation with my mom’s relatives in Riverside, California, so I remember a lot of memories during that summer, too.

About my Teenage and Young Adulthood

My teenage years and young adult life were then happily spent in Melbourne, Australia. I went to a public high school nearby and actually became “School Captain” in Year 12! My favorite high school years were Year 7 to 9. I liked these years because they weren’t so pressured with grades. Instead, we were encouraged to take subjects that aligned with our interests.

I ended up taking Home Economics in Year 9, Cafe Culture (another Home-Ec class) in Year 8, and we had mandatory Home Economics in Year 7. Much of what I learnt in my Home Economics classes I still use in the kitchen to this day. I also took classes in Journalism too, where I eventually interviewed our local anchorman on Channel 9, Peter Hitchener. I also landed an internship at the Herald Sun & Weekly Times when I was 16. I’m sure you can start seeing a pattern here: I love to write and cook!

Good old university years

After high school, I went to study at The University of Melbourne in my hometown in Australia, where I completed 2 degrees. I loved every moment as a college student, even when it was difficult. I completed a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and International Studies (2015 to 2017) because I wanted to get involved in some type of diplomacy or international aid and humanitarian work to help other people. (I soon learnt that on a macroeconomic level, if everyone were to just be a good neighbor and help each other out, then everyone is effectively doing humanitarian aid work on a smaller scale!) I also did a semester exchange abroad at the University of Virginia (UVA) in 2017, where I interned at UVA’s Center for Politics.

It was after my graduation in 2018 when it occurred to me that I didn’t want to be involved in politics… like, ever! Ha! I was working a part-time office job in 2018 when one day, I ended up fixing all our office’s computer problems (like printer connection, wifi, software, SaaS, etc.). This gave me an idea that maybe IT might be more my fit. So, upon my uncle’s advice, the following year I went on to complete a Master of Information Systems (with Distinction) at The University of Melbourne again and graduated in December 2020.

Contrary to what it may seem, I did use my degrees for the workforce. I’ve worked for Accenture as a consultant, and for The University of Melbourne as an IT and Web Support, for example. These jobs paid incredibly well. My favorite experience so far has been working for The University of Melbourne because my boss, Seth, was simply fantastic to work with.

Even though I loved working for my university, I took the job offer at Accenture because I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn another industry. After all, I had no idea what consultancy was like. I found out that I enjoyed crafting new skills as a consultant, but before I could break into those shoes permanently, I found myself being whisked away to California only a year since I started my job! My husband and I permanently moved to California, where he’s originally from!

Pursuing passions

And… that’s where it’s led me to this day. At the age of 26, I decided I was going to pursue my passion and find a way to become a writer. Given that I’ve always been into journalism and cooking, I decided to create this blog, not only as an immediate outlet for my hobby, but as an important and practical way to document Filipino recipes (and other cuisines). My desire is to want anyone, regardless of where they are in the world, to enjoy these dishes wherever they are in the world!

Why did I decide to start Cookin’ With Oil?

Cookin’ With Oil is a pure passion project. It’s one that many people tried to convince me wasn’t worth my time, talents, nor money. But how could I not make it? When I simply love to cook?

Ever since I first learnt Home Economics in Year 7 in Melbourne, Australia, my love for cooking has never stopped growing. I could ramble on as to why I love cooking so much, but to spare your well-earned time off, here are 3 reasons why I love to cook:

1. It brings people together, in ways that memories, conversations, and relationships can be made;

2. There is both an art form and a scientific method that need to be exercised when cooking, which is exactly the challenge, knowledge, and skill my brain craves for; and

3. Good, homemade, fresh food is key to having sustenance to life. Therefore, I see it as a mandatory skill for survival in the form of nutrition, as opposed to an optional alternative of how dinner is served.*

*Mandatory backstory: My mom survived Breast Cancer back in 2010/2011, so I never looked at food the same way ever since! It taught me that good food promotes good health, both in preventative and retrospective forms.

Where the name Cookin’ With Oil came from

The name came from a phrase I observed myself saying repeatedly over the course of many months to friends and family every time I offered to make dinner. “Don’t worry about it! I’ll be cookin’ with oil!” Meaning, it’s relatively fast, it’s super yummy, and it’s of course homemade! So that’s just it! A fun saying I caught myself saying every time I cooked!

Not all my recipes involve oil in it, by the way. It’s just a fun saying I caught myself unknowingly repeating many months after I’ve said it. I’m also concerned with making sure each recipe has nutritional value, so again, it’s just a fun saying, not a constant predictor of oily or deep fried recipes being posted.

Cookin’ With Oil started in early 2023. Let’s see where this blog can lead later down the road…

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