Do you have moments where you stop in the middle of what you are doing and say to yourself "This is so cool!" or "Wait, I get to do this?." Those moments when you pause to revel in the joy and wonder of being right where you are. See that smile on my face? I'm having one of those moments.
It seems like yesterday that I was 9 years old, heading out into the garden with my grandfather. Those summer mornings spent with him among the rows of vegetables started a life-long love affair with nature and food and our connection to both. Little did I know then that I was experiencing what is now (somewhat trendily) called "farm to table food". It was only years later that I began to fully appreciate what I took for granted when I was young. I was connected to the food I ate. I knew where it came from and I helped my grandmother and grandfather turn it into delicious meals.
Fast forward to my adulthood. From my grandparents' kitchen I jumped into restaurant, hotel and catering kitchens of all sizes, learning everything I could in the epitome of "hand's on" training and education. I was a sponge. As I learned culinary techniques and the workings of professional kitchens, I began to hone my craft. Opportunities to expand and explore presented themselves, and I found myself teaching a cooking class at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. Fifteen years after that first class, I was still teaching at CCAE while continuing to broaden my culinary horizons. I discovered a deep love of connecting with people through food and communal experience. Of coming together in a kitchen to learn and cook and share stories. I realized that while I loved cooking, what I love more is creating community while inspiring people to cook for themselves. That realization ignited a spark. I sought out occasions to teach in all kinds of settings from public and private schools, non-profit educational programs, and after-school recreational programs. Pretty soon the opportunities started to present themselves and I was teaching adults and kids in all kinds of settings. I was having a blast.
When I hooked up with a local farmers market manager things started to come full circle. I was coming back to my roots - literally and figuratively. We talked about our dedication to supporting local farms and farmers, our desire to connect our community to them and the food they produced and to grow our market into a place where friends and family gathered on Saturday mornings to meet up, shop, and maybe learn something new. Cooking demonstrations, utilizing the bounty of products from the market, became an instant hit. Folks felt like they were a part of the whole experience; watching the ingredients come together into a tasty dish, asking questions, and sampling the finished product. We introduced the farmers and the patrons to each other and it was a joy to watch the relationships blossom. People learned where their food came from and began to feel a connection to it. They learned that creating healthy meals at home is easy and can even be fun! Kids were even asking their parents to buy arugula and parsnips. I found my nirvana.
And, as often happens, my nirvana said "wait, there's more!" A lifelong student with an intense interest in how we experience our circumstances (mentally, emotionally and spiritually), it seemed natural to reach into new realms and further my education. I embarked on a new journey studying food and nutrition from many cultural perspectives. I delved into psychology and human behavior; what motivates us to do the things we do. And I rounded it all out immersing myself in spiritual practices from around the world, connecting mind, body and spirit into a beautiful, breathing whole. I received my certification as a Holistic Wellness Practitioner in 2015 and in early 2020 I earned my Reiki Master certification. Both of these courses of study opened new avenues for me personally and professionally, integrating my experience, knowledge, passion, beliefs and vision into a unique package. My approach to food, teaching, learning, coaching, and healing is now deeply rooted.
Thank you for taking the time to visit. I hope our paths cross one day soon.
Take good care and remember to Eat Well and Nourish Your Soul.