Baking connections: Montreal foodie finds community and passion in the kitchen

A few years after Rachel Bishop moved from Paris to Montreal in 2002, she broke her ankle.

Faced with spending three months on the couch to heal, she said her entertainment options were limited.

"I had the choice of watching Days of Our Lives or food TV," she said. She chose the latter.

This prolonged exposure to food creations ignited Bishop's passion for cooking and baking, and she hasn't looked back.

Bishop opened an Instagram account and began sharing her creations online under the handle @greedyinmontreal.

With no formal training under her belt, for her, spending time in the kitchen is more of a hobby than a metier.

Working in a restaurant serving up dishes under pressure would take away the fun, Bishop said.

"I think of it more as therapy," she said.

By sharing photos of her dishes online, Bishop has been able to connect with like-minded baking and cooking enthusiasts.

She joined an online monthly cookbook club which she found through Instagram and started working her way through her "unhealthy collection of cookbooks."

She drew inspiration from professional chefs and amateurs alike, styling her photos and growing her social network.

"I found this huge community of people online," she said. "It's opened up a whole virtual world of people who share the same passion as I do."

Because Bishop works nights, she has free time during the day to prepare, style and photograph her food before her hungry family comes home to devour it.

"I have time to enjoy the process of cooking," she said. "I know that's a reality not most people have."

Over the years, Bishop has gotten to know some of the people in the Montreal foodie community online and has even started a tradition of hosting an annual Christmas cookie swap in person.

"I invite some local people from my Instagram who I don't know in real life," she said. "Everybody brings something they like to bake over the Christmas period."

She said for her, posting mouth-watering food online isn't about attracting the most followers or building a brand. The best part, she said, has been finding a place to share her passion and try new things.

One of her recent discoveries: making sourdough bread from scratch — a process she describes as "a three-day labour of love."

"I can't go to the store and buy bread anymore," she joked.