On her colorful food blog, the Rogue Brussel Sprout, Lee Corbett ’07 puts a modern, vegetarian twist on classic comfort foods. The Vermont native shares original recipes—or what she might modestly call “suggestions”—with intriguing names like Rainbow Winter Tacos and Funfetti Tahini Chickpea Blondies. (Yes, that image at the top of this page that is currently making your mouth water is a closeup of these blondies.) The blog covers all categories, from mixed drinks and appetizers right through to dessert; “technique guides” that detail, for example, how to make a lighter, oil-free pesto; vegan options; and even a series boldly titled “Cauliflower Is Bar Food,” with recipes such as Cauliflower Poutine to back up her claim.
To look at the blog, you might assume that Corbett has professional experience as a photographer, food stylist, or chef. In fact, she is a research scientist who, after graduating from Middlebury, earned her master’s and PhD at UVM. She now runs a geology research lab, funded by the National Science Foundation, on the UVM campus. With COVID-19 putting a temporary halt to her lab work, she is currently at home writing scientific papers—and coming up with new recipes for the blog.
The blog seems like an odd side gig for a scientist, but Corbett says it’s a refreshing creative outlet. “In my day job,” she says with a laugh, “I count individual atoms.”
Still, she says, her work and her hobby do have something in common. “There is a connection between what I do as a geologist and what I do on my food blog, and that is a sense of place.” As a geologist, she studies how high-latitude landscapes evolve over space and time, and how glaciers and ice sheets move sediments across the earth’s surface. And as a food blogger, she takes inspiration from exotic flavors found in places she has traveled to—such as Hawaii, southern Spain, Italy, and Mexico City—and marries them with seasonal, local ingredients to create original recipes that are healthy, colorful, and delicious.
The blog allows Corbett not only to share her passion for cooking but also to encourage those who might be less confident in the kitchen to let go of their fear of failure and embrace the pleasure of making good food.
For Corbett, it’s quite simple: “I think cooking is an opportunity to create, explore, experiment, and express yourself.”
The Rogue Brussel Sprout is online at www.theroguebrusselsprout.com and on Instagram at @theroguebrusselsprout.