At 7 years old I debuted in the kitchen, mimicking my grandmother’s effortless skill. Even though her kitchen was adorned with modest, traditional ingredients, the one unique element she brought to every meal could not be found on a shelf. It was something within her, and it took me over 20 years and 2 careers to discover.
I started an informal education through the culinary program offered at my middle and high school, in lieu of standard art classes. (I can source, clean, roast and filet my own fish, but don’t ask me to draw a stick figure.) At 15, I landed a position in the kitchen of a local Italian restaurant, marking the official commencement of my hospitality career. By 20 years old I was supporting the executive chef at the Italian Culinary Institute in NYC, as his culinary assistant. I was responsible for copywriting recipes and food styling for the publications “La Cucina Italiana” and “Italian Cooking and Living”. In that role, I was also primed for hosting, as I was required to convey the Chef’s expressions through his broken English during cooking demonstrations and educational classes. At that time, it became quite clear (to both the chef, and I) that my unique skillset was better suited for front of house operations, guiding me into a career in management for all of my 20’s.
Once I started to notice a significant decline in my mental, emotional and physical health, I was forced to reassess my path in the hospitality industry. I abruptly left a life of serving others, in order to prioritize my own well being for the first time in my life. Leaving management allowed me to immerse myself into the realm of health and wellness. I had time to explore nourishing, yet, uniquely flavorful recipes that would enhance my quality of life. The transformation I personally made inspired me to educate others on how to eat and cook for themselves in a mindful manner. Four years ago, I started a wellness practice that afforded me with the opportunity to creatively and meaningfully cook, while helping others do the very same.
When we cook with love, it does more than nourish us on a cellular level, it satiates our hunger on a mental, emotional and spiritual level as well. The skill that my grandmother left me with had little to do with cooking and everything to do with love— which is the most essential ingredient in this recipe we call life.