Irina grew up in Moscow, Russia. As a child, she learned to cook from her mother and grandmother, helping out in the kitchen by cranking their old-fashioned cast-iron meat grinder or stuffing piroshki. In 2016, Irina left Seattle for a more rural lifestyle in North Central Washington's Methow Valley. A nonprofit worker by day at Neighborhood House, she enjoys teaching Russian cooking classes in her free time through her business, Moscow Gourmet Kitchen. Irina's cooking blends influences from traditional Russian cuisine, the simple but hearty Soviet food of her childhood, her Ashkenazi Jewish background, her family's roots in Ukraine, and her husband's Siberian heritage.