Happy New Year!
We’re a week into the new year and I’ll start out by saying that I don’t ever really set resolutions in January. I’d like to think that this journey is just a way of growing, changing, and learning from myself. With that in mind, I like to spend my time reflecting on the year, the lessons I’ve learned, and what I want to do going forward. I’m pretty hard on myself when it comes to worrying too much and handling anxiety about the “what ifs” and “why didn’t I ever do this?” but hindsight can be a bit of a bitch, right? Of course you have a clear picture of what you would’ve done now that you know the outcome. To fight that feeling, I decided to focus on my progression over the course of the year and school semesters.
Reflecting is my way of unpacking what I’ve done and a positive way for me to continue on my path. When I started blogging for real, for real, I had just quit my technical support job and decided to pursue my passion for cooking by going to culinary school. It was late 2017, I had some money squirreled away from my old job but I still needed a part-time gig to make ends meet while I was Ubering until my first semester, so I got a job at my local Le Creuset store.
Even though it was a relatively short stint due to class schedule conflicts, I can honestly say that it definitely fueled my drive to dive into the culinary world head first. I loved every minute of work. I didn’t dread having to get in my car and head downtown. I talked about cooking and food all day. I was able to share my excitement about new cookware, tools, and gadgets with other people who shared my same passion. I was able to attend chef events at the headquarters here in Charleston and meet famous chefs and try their food. My favorite event? Featured Chef Sheldon Simeon of Tin Roof and his amazing menu that reflected his cuisine and culture.
Going to these events gave me a better eye on how to better photograph food based on how I wanted to share it with others in the moment; they made me appreciate styling and plating in a way I hadn’t before by simply being exposed to it. Looking back, the experience pushed me. I was able to envision what I wanted to pursue in this industry and how I wanted to do it. Hearing Chef Simeon share his outlook on cooking with us in an approachable way and to see the excitement about his food culture was inspiring. In that single moment while eating his menu, I realized that there actually was a way for me to share my cuisine and culture with others while being true to myself; even in this saturated industry, I still have a voice and a plate at the table.
And for that, I’m so grateful. I mean, come on. It’s crazy to wrap my head around it but just a year and a half ago, I started my first semester of culinary school, and now, I have one (quarter) semester left until I graduate. Time has certainly flown by! My friends and family have pushed me to keep going and cooking when I didn’t feel like it and to keep knocking out new content. I’ve been working my butt off to finish school and appreciate all of the help and work that my little tribe has been doing to keep me focused on finishing strong and accomplishing my goals. My blog is growing and my cooking skills are improving as I work on my craft. I feel more creative in my approach to creating content and am being more open-minded to trying new cooking methods that I was once scared to try (hello, baking!). I’m constantly pushing myself out of my comfort zone.
And the constant encouragement and support from my Instagram community and blog readers? It hasn’t gone unnoticed. Y’all are amazing. Knowing that my food is being shared with others is truly touching and seeing you make my dishes and enjoy them is just the best. I absolutely love sharing my food, my culture, and knowledge with those willing to follow along on this culinary journey of mine.
So, my takeaway from this reflection is simple: growth is beautiful, change is welcomed, and progress is rewarding. 2018, thank you for all of your lessons. 2019, cheers! You’re up next.