“Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go.”
Anthony Bourdain was constantly on the hunt for new food, culture, and “parts unknown”. He was truly an inspiration in the culinary community and beyond. He always kept it real, raw, and unfiltered no matter who he was talking to. His respect for the art of cooking and feeding people was truly something to be admired…and so, in honor of the passing of a great man and chef, I want to talk about food.
My passion for food and cooking has really taken off in the past 6 years. As someone who was raised being taught the basics in the kitchen, I always loved helping create a meal. Whether it was thanksgiving lunch, breakfast for my dad’s work friends, or any gathering that we hosted at my family’s house – I was always involved, helping prepare southern-style comfort food. It wasn’t until I discovered my love for making new (to me) foods that I started being comfortable stepping into the unknown and figuring out what my cooking style actually looked and tasted like. I took bits and pieces from family meals growing up, and turned them into something unique to me that still felt like home. Most of what I was raised on were convenience and comfort foods. While they were delicious to me at the time, they weren’t always the most nutrient dense meals. Lots of cheese, bread, and sugar. Like I said, southern. 🙂 Once I began working for a nutrition company and saw how what we put in our bodies can affect literally EVERYTHING, my cooking began to evolve again. The focus became not only flavor and presentation, but also how it could benefit my body and those I was cooking for. It pushed me to continue to find alternative sources for similar flavors that better served me long-term. With the use of the internet, specifically social media, I began to gain support and encouragement from my community around the food I was making. I loved hosting brunch gatherings or dinner parties and feeding my friends. I loved being presented with the challenges of cooking for people with different food sensitivities or dietary restrictions as it really broadened the spectrum of ingredients I was using as well as my skill set. These days I am still cooking for close friends on the regular. I’ve been asked to cater small work events and most recently have been invited to come cook for Steph Gongora and Erin Kelly’s upcoming retreat.
It feels good knowing that I’ve found something for myself that is challenging and effortless at the same time. I feel the most creative and artistic when I’m whipping up something new in the kitchen. I’ve learned to cook with confidence, and to just go for it when trying out a recipe or even winging it. Without any real “formal” training, I’ve been able to use my accumulated knowledge and experience to make meals that everyone can feel good about eating. There’s something so special about nourishing people through food. The sensory experience of it all with the presentation, the taste, the texture, and aromatics is so delightful and profound. The attention to detail, the combination of flavor profiles and variety of colors found in the different elements that make a meal are what keeps me coming back. I love getting people to try new things or experience a particular type of food in a different way. I love the sense of community that can be found surrounding a table of food or even just in the kitchen while I’m cooking. I just love cooking and every joy that comes from doing it and sharing it.
They say the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, and I believe that without a doubt. When I put my love into what I’m creating, I hope that it translates and the people eating it can truly feel that as a gift from me.