A Little About Me and the Eating FRESH Philosophy

Being All-American born and bred, my knowledge of food growing up was limited to processed ingredients. Not that there’s anything wrong with tuna noodle casserole or taco night; there's a reason why they're staples in the busy American home kitchen. But to me, taco night consisted of ground beef and a boxed taco kit. I mean, have you ever looked at the nutritional information on one of those boxes?!? It’s truly appalling.
So naturally, when I left the nest and actually had to cook for myself, I automatically went to the same processed meals that I already knew how to make. It’s not very hard to follow instructions on the back of a box, but my boyfriend was always asking for “home cooked meals.” Wasn’t that what I was making?
So, he showed me some basics and soon we were having beef stew and breakfast quiches. I followed online recipes, and then started adding more seasoning and experimenting a little. I wasn’t very familiar with spices in general and was therefore relying only on my nose to guide me. To be perfectly honest, the food wasn’t that great, and we were still eating takeout a few times a week. Now I know that I was over-seasoning, and what little fresh ingredients I was using were completely masked. My food had indeed become more flavorful, but it certainly didn’t make me want to spend the time cooking after a long day at work.
And then, life changing events were set in motion – I began to watch the Food Network. I can’t say that I was hooked immediately, but I hadn’t even gotten the full experience yet and something inside me had already started to change. I was watching a few cooking shows here and there, and even tried some really good recipes from it. However, I was really busy at work and cooking was more of a chore during the week than I would have liked. We were still eating a lot of takeout, but at least I was cooking some healthier meals that actually tasted good.
That was, until I discovered Iron Chef America. I watched, amazed, at how these God-like chefs transformed extremely high quality fresh ingredients into the most delicious looking and sounding dishes, so much different than anything I had ever encountered! I mean, I had never even seen a decorated plate before, so for me this was the ultimate wake-up call to the culinary world. Now I wanted to go to fancy restaurants in the city to get tiny portions of artful plates!

One day's harvest

I was hooked. Over the next few years I received my “culinary training” – reality cooking TV shows. Not only did I learn how to cook, but how to use fresh ingredients. The more I ate, the more I recognized the flavors and balance of a well composed dish. The more I experimented with my own dishes, the more I realized how to best utilize those flavors. I wanted to use only the best high quality ingredients, so my boyfriend was kind enough to dig a garden for us, and I started cooking all the time using the produce directly from our backyard.
At this point I had reached a decent home cook status. I preferred my food to anything I could get at a restaurant in the area. But it was only a hobby, and only when I wasn’t exhausted from work. If I worked late, which was frequently, it was just a super simple meal for dinner while watching better food being made via my DVR. Then sleep and repeat.
But life was bound to change, and now I have the time to really focus on my passion. I have a unique fusion style of cooking, and I can accredit it to having absorbed so many different styles and techniques all at once. I try to use as many fresh ingredients as possible, and I find that in doing so, my recipes are naturally more nutritious and healthy overall. My mission is to eat and cook my way to discovering fresh ingredients in a whole new light. And maybe follow a few detours along the way. J