When I think of the background of a Chef, it usually starts with the inspiration in mom’s kitchen where generations of cooking magic is passed down and the ability to cook seems to be inborn.
This is definitely NOT my story!
I was raised by a dedicated single mom with a passion for teaching and no time for elaborate meals so when I went off to college and beyond, I think I knew how to cook only one meal- teriyaki chicken.
Granted, it was not a bad meal and actually quite healthy, but it could get a tad repetitive when that is the entire repertoire.
In the meantime, I’d really learned to eat well. I mean, really well.
I’m a pro when it comes to eating.
My first job was in sales and there were many extravagant meals with customers and colleagues to help me hone my palette far beyond my cooking abilities or pocketbook. It’s not that I didn’t try to cook with more variety, but I am actually incapable of measuring.
No, really. Ask my best friend and former roommate how many cookie batches and boxed Mac ‘n cheese I’ve messed up over those years.
Seriously, who can’t make Easy Mac!?!
This all changed for me when I was laid off from a job just two months before my wedding to a wonderful man who did all the cooking in our relationship (he also still does all the laundry, but that’s another story).
With some free time on my hands I decided I should try and be a better cook. I wanted to fulfill a wifely duty that clearly wasn’t necessary but I was sure would be greatly appreciated.
I printed recipes, I watched cooking shows, and I used the flavor combinations that I liked as a guide. At first I followed recipes and when words like “dredge” showed up, it might as well have been in Chinese to me. But I kept trying, kept learning, and quickly I started improvising, substituting, not measuring and then using the recipe as a mere suggestion rather than a strict plan.
Fast forward a few years and a beautiful baby girl is born to me. Contrary to the fact that I swore I’d head straight back to work, I’m completely enchanted with mommyhood and I decide to stay home with my little angel (an angel baby turned sassy pants pre-schooler).
I still want to find a career but I feel a calling to find something that I can be as passionate about as my little girl. When my husband suggested chef school, I knew in my gut it was the right place for me.
It was not always easy- in an all male class…
See, I cannot bake- it’s that pesky step of measuring stuff again! After completing a year long program at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, we moved to San Diego and that brings me to today.