Natalie MacMaster is a world famous fiddler and step dancer. She first picked up the fiddle at age nine and is the niece of famed Cape Breton fiddler Buddy MacMaster. Among her numerous awards, she is especially proud of being named a member of the Order of Canada in 2006. Her latest album Yours Truly was co-produced by Natalie and her husband, fellow fiddle virtuoso Donnell Leahy of the Canadian band Leahy.

Natalie has a Bachelor of Education degree from the Nova Scotia Teacher’s College. As part of a national tour, Natalie will perform at Casino Rama on May 23 and 24. She will then take the stage at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre on June 5 and Edmonton’s Hawrelak Park Amphitheatre on Aug. 8.

Q What is your fondest memory from your family kitchen?
When I think of my parents’ kitchen I immediately think of great food and music. I always enjoyed playing the fiddle while sitting in the rocking chair in the kitchen.

Q What kitchen aromas bring back fond memories?
The smell of my mom’s homemade cinnamon rolls. I also love the smell of fresh baked bread and deep fried chicken.

Q Who is your favourite cook?
I really enjoy fine dining at restaurants where I get to try foods prepared by a variety of chefs.

Q What is your favourite food to cook?
I love to prepare pasta. I experiment with different sauces from recipes in cookbooks.

Q How did the first meal you prepared turn out?
I never truly discovered the joy of cooking until I got married. One of the most memorable meals was the first time I had my in-laws over for dinner. I decided to bake a cake and inadvertently put three cups of baking powder in the mixing bowl instead of three cups of flour. Needless to say, the results were interesting. I kept checking the oven and the cake just kept growing and growing. I took pictures of the finished product.

Q What kitchen gadget can’t you live without?
I love my cheese grater. Many of my dishes call for cheese and having a good cheese grater is really indispensable to me.

Q Is there a cultural dish that you prepare that ties into a holiday?
I learned to make Shepherd’s Pie just the way my mom does. Whenever the family gets together either my mom or I make it. It is a great recipe!

Marcy Cornblum is a freelance journalist. After 25 years of celebrity-filled adventures, she is using her experiences to enlighten others in understanding the media. Reach her at

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