Do you remember the person or moment that sparked the light in you for what you wanted to do in your life careerwise? Do you remember how it felt and what you imagine at that exact moment? The appreciation and sense of gratitude towards that person or that moment. A feeling you held so strongly for a second or two, that it was impossible to forget. I remember it as it was yesterday. For me, it was my grandma. My lovely, trusting and kind grandma that sparked a passion so strong in me that it was impossible to destroy. It was like the world’s greatest and biggest lightbulb lit inside of me. A passion so strong it was never going to go away. That same passion is still as strong in me if not even stronger now 24 years later than it was at that exact moment when I was 5 years old.
I still remember it so clearly. That day in the kitchen making a traditional soup at our family farm with my grandmother. She peeled potatoes like a pro and tiny little me with my long blond hair in my super cute apron on was sitting at the table in the middle of the room with my small cutting board and a small knife in my hand. I was supposed to cut potatoes into chunks for a huge casserole standing in the middle of the table in front of me. That pot must have been bigger than me that’s for sure. I didn’t really know how to cut the potato though. So after staring at it for a while, turning it upside down in my head, really tearing that potato into pieces. I remember asking: “Grandma, how do I cut it”?. She turned around and looked at me. Put her peeler and potato down before walking over to me with a smile at her face. She borrowed my knife and said: “let me show you”. Simultaneously while cutting she said: “you cut it first lengthwise into two like this, then in the same way in two and then in 3-4 pieces. Just like that”.
With huge enthusiasm and clarity on my assignment, I proceeded to do as my grandma learned me. It’s as I still see myself so focused on cutting the potato in two, then into chunks. It was like a light hit me so strongly it still makes me smile today thinking about it. A feeling of clarity hit me and in huge excitement, I expressed: “Grandma! This is what I want to do in my life. This is what I want to do when I get big”! And so my life was decided.
I still remember all of those moments in the kitchen with my grandmother growing up. Baking Christmas cookies became a tradition with my brother or/and cousin. I still see and feel all of those moments when she would learn me something new. Oh man I loved them so much! From that day on, the kitchen was my home!
I’ve always kept that moment when I was 5 years old really close to my heart, refusing to let it go. Refusing to let my dream vanish. Refusing to let anyone or anything keep me away from my dream of becoming a chef. In my heart, I know that from that moment on my life was set for me and that I already was a chef deep inside that needed to come out and grow. Curiosity and stubbornness would keep me going even though it seemed like the world was against me. Frustration would keep me on and off track for a tiny or sometimes rare long moment. New adversities would come and go when I started to feel comfortable. Just when I started to feel secure and really sure about myself as a chef, they would come to shake things up, to teach me something or for a moment lead me off track. But even though I just wanted to quit or couldn’t understand why it was so hard to just be a chef, the kind of chef I wanted to be. I just couldn’t give up. Whenever I tried to let go, it started to ache inside of me like I was crushing my heart into pieces. As if I was becoming somebody I’m not. It’s always been really clear to me that nothing comes by itself. You gotta work for it!
I strongly believe some people have clear purposes in their life and some strive to find it. But that’s okey it will come when you’re ready for it. Even though it sometimes feels like everything is against you living it out. It’s so important to stick to it and never give up on your dreams. Even if you have hardship come over you, striking you, again and again, the determination will lead you to your goal. It’s normal to lose track of yourself and to sometimes give up for a short or long moment. Believe me, I’ve been there and I’m sure I’m not alone in that. But if you give up it’s just going to eventually tear you apart. Trust me that feeling of frustration is not a good feeling to have. It’s sometimes scary to live it out or to be different but it’s so important to be true to yourself! Nobody gets to decide what you want to do in your life or what’s right for you. That’s your job and your purpose only. A lot of people have told me I was lucky to understand it so early on in life but I won’t lie it’s been a rough ride that’s just started and it’s not at all over.
Later on, that determination and curiosity led me to make several other goals early in life. All of them just suddenly hit me like that time with my grandma when I was 5. I would get moments like this from an early age of 10 (if not earlier). I knew what I wanted, I just didn’t really know how to get there. My main goal was having my own restaurant and in that becoming a head chef. But before reaching that goal I wanted to travel to France for my training period. Why France? Well, they have the best cuisine and an amazing culinary history. A cuisine so ancient and highly known in the world amongst chefs and foodies it was impossible for me not to take part of it. Their food is just amazing and so culinary dense. Mostly if not all of the awesome chefs known in the culinary world have been there or got inspired from the French cuisine sometime in their career. That I knew. So, of course, I thought, that’s where I should go to become a great chef. That’s where I need to go to feed my culinary hunger.
In my chef stories, I will let you know the pats I chose to take, how I shaped them, how they shaped me, the turns I took and the smashed in the face I got. Believe me, I got some massive untraditional roadblocks in my career (as most people do). Not to forget how they went, along with a lot of good times and other dear stories from the kitchen life. All in hope to spark a light in you too. So stay tuned for more to come.