#Japanspiration: Instagrammer of the Month

With spring just around the corner, the sky beginning to brighten and flowers blooming, we bring you this month's cute and colourful #Japanspiration feature. Instagrammer and food artist Bento de Valerie (@bentodevalerie) blew us away with her creative flair for putting together bento with a kawaii edge.  So without further ado, let's get to know the artist!

Hi Valerie!  What inspired you to start creating cute bento? 

I started cooking bento for my family two and a half years ago. I wanted to make healthy and well balanced lunches for them. As a manga and anime fan, I decided to give creative bento a shot.  I’ve been making charaben (character bento) ever since. I have lots of fun making these colourful lunches and really love how I can push my creativity to its limits with food art.  I probably enjoy creating it as much as people enjoy eating it I think!
Which is your favourite personal bento creation?

I made a colourful Yoshi (the dinosaur from Super Mario brothers) one that I really love, and my followers and children seemed to love it too.  The two pumpkins one is also one of my favourite since it’s made with pumpkins seeds! The result is just way too tasty - cute and yummy, the perfect lunch!

How long does it take to make each bento? Do you have to make lots of practice versions? 

Each bento takes 1-2 hours to make.  Small one or just onigiri (rice balls) take around 30 minutes but the most elaborate ones take a long time.  I love to add small details.  As a former dental hygienist, I love precision tasks!  I do make practice versions as well.  There are some days or week that I don’t post anything because I’m making test bento.  I want to deliver quality inspiration to my followers.  I make mistakes and I’m always willing to share the skills I learnt whilst making those test bento.

Apart from bento, what are your favourite Japanese foods?  

I really love sushi with raw fish, but I’m not a big fan of fusion sushi, I just really enjoy it when it’s made with high quality fish. I love soba noodles too.  I’m a foodie and love to try new food!  I hope one day I'll be able to visit Japan with my family.

Is there a character you’d like to make a bento of in the future? 

I want to make more animals, and more characters from anime, manga and video games. But I also want to share how to create daily bento quickly and with lots of creativity with my followers.
What are your other plans for the future? 

I'd like to write a book about bento. My native language is french (I live in Quebec, Canada) and we don’t have a lot of information about bento in french.  Most of the people here don’t know how to pack a bento at all, so I could help them with this lunch philosophy.  I was a TV host in a TV show about bento (Les Bento de Valerie - the same name as my blog) and I'd like to make more TV appearances this year!  I also want to inspire people through my Instagram feed.

Thanks Valerie for a wonderful interview!  

Please make sure you check out the Les Bento de Valerie blog here, or follow Valerie's colourful Instagram feed.