“What do you want to be when you grow up?” A Marine Biologist, Chiropractor, Dancer, NBA referee. These were some of my answers from age 5-16, so cute, so ambitious! When I graduated high school I honestly had no idea, but chose to study fashion because I liked clothes and had a good eye for trends. After graduating with a fashion degree, I had zero drive to pursue a career in that field, so I tried to get into a work study program at a culinary school. I knew I wanted to work in the food biz, but I was rejected, and the next 10 years were..well..fun..? Eventually, I couldn’t deny the need to be a Chef, so I started a journey that I am still walking through today.
My life as a Chef is a happy one. I have worked at fabulous places with amazing and inspiring people, yet all the while I have felt that something was missing. That maybe I made a left turn when I should have gone right. The more I get to know who I am, the more clarity I gain on where I want to be, and how I can get there. Maybe it was time I take some action to try and get closer to my truth. I thought about things in my life that gave me happiness, and I thought of my yoga community. I decided to approach my teacher after a class at Namaste, when I saw she was hosting a retreat. Dana Kraft is an incredibly talented teacher whom I respect. The bonus was that her retreat was at the legendary Joshua Tree Retreat Center that I had wanted to visit since moving to CA. I contacted the studio and they put us in touch (thank you Namaste) and we met for a soda after class and she agreed to have me cook for her retreat! I couldn’t believe it was as easy as that, ask and you shall receive! A few months passed and it was time to go. I made all my preparations, arrived to Joshua Tree and was prepared to work by booty off. Needless to say, it was the best cooking experience I have ever had. What made it different? Here lies the conundrum. It’s not that I am unhappy being a restaurant Chef, it’s more that I am happier when I am not cooking in a restaurant. When I am working for myself, by myself, with my own ideas, I feel my most authentic! This need is not a selfish one, it’s actually more of a service position; like a mother, who just wants to take care of her children. I enjoy that maternal act providing for others and getting paid to do it. When you’re in a restaurant, there is a disconnect, and that feeling is lost. I was able to engage with each guest, and feel their gratitude. I saw their faces as they ate my food. I heard the feedback as I sat at the table and ate with them. What joy, and food for my soul.
Part of the retreat was about visualizing what you want to manifest in your life and believing it. This experience will bring me closer to that goal because I have created a reference that it can actually happen. It is tangible, but never occurred to me because I live in fear of not being enough. Thinking this way limits my ability to grow, and is a painful part of my truth. The good news is, that I can take actions daily to change my perception, and to know my worth.
Now it is up to me to continue taking actions to reach my goals. It’s a painful process that involves letting go of expectations of others, and my own ego. Sometimes you have to go backward in order to move forward. And other times, you take a leap of faith and end up right where you want to be. One thing is for certain, you won’t get anywhere by being idle, so I’ll make sure to keep on movin’ by being true to myself, and cooking food from my soul.