This is probably going to go back and forth a lot, as I am just speaking (well.. typing) from my heart, and rambling about my life – kind of like a diary haha.
I recently auditioned for MasterChef. I make it through to the second round, and I am awaiting a call back. During my audition, I got to meet some really amazing people, and had a chef judge my food. I got a “yum”, and made it to the next round. Yay me! Anyways, during the interview and audition they asked me all sorts of questions like “what would you do if you won MasterChef?” and “what is your strongest kitchen skill? And your weakest?” There were nine of us in the room and they asked us all many different questions, and one of the questions that they asked someone else was “why do you cook?” This made me think about why I cook.
I heard a lot of sob stories, some that seemed legit (like the girl who was down at the bottom, and fought her way to the amazing point she is at in her life today and does it all for her kids) and some that seemed way too far stretched – like people were just looking to get on tv. Well without making this sound like a sob story of my own, it made me think about what it really was that led me to cooking.
I didn’t grow up with a family that loved cooking – it was just a way to get a meal on the table. My Dad’s idea of a good meal is a BigMac and fries, so my Mom never really got to experiment and make different meals. She did buy amazing grass-fed beef and chicken, but was never able to take it to another level, and truly love it because my Dad would have rather had a burger and fries. Everynight.
My first memory of cooking was a failure. My Mom made meatloaf in the morning, and I just had to put it in the oven when I got home. I forgot until it was about 4:45, and Mom got home at 5:15 –so I put it in the oven at 500 degrees to make up the time… Oops! We had pizza for dinner. But, that lead me to want to do more, and I did it at my Grandparents house, where I wasn’t judged or made fun of for cooking – or failing. I still don’t live this down. I made meatloaf about a month ago and when my Mom called me to ask what was for dinner, I told her meatloaf, and she brought up that one time when I was 13… It’s like they never forget the negatives, but never remember the positives.
Anyhow… as I grew up, my parents moved away to the US, and I stayed in Canada. I was in a relationship that at the time I thought was everything I wanted and more, but it lead to lies and deceit. Which now I know was a blessing in disguise and lead me to meet the most incredible man in the world, and have my beautiful son with him. I moved in with my ex after about 6 months on my own in an apartment, and we shared a house. I had to do what he said, when he said it, or he’d hit me. Those days, which now seem like a blur, that I had to stay in because I couldn’t be seen in public, I watched Food Network, and learned about cooking. He reminded me of my parents in a way that nothing was ever good enough for him. Except my cooking – but looking back now that was really just something else he required of me. But I guess, at least to him, it was something I did right, and it was something that saved me from getting hurt. I learned to cook in this tiny kitchen where I would just go to escape from everything. Sometimes I’d cook until 3-4 a.m. because I couldn’t face going to bed. It made me happy to cook.
My skills grew and grew and I cooked more and more. One day I finally got the “balls” to leave him when I found out that him and my best friend had been having a relationship for over a year. Now I think of it as thank god, but at that time it brought me to a dark, dark place. But, again cooking brought me out of that place, and I’d prepare meals for my friends, and have family over for dinner – do whatever it was I could do to stop thinking about the hurt.
I finally moved to the US after about six months after the “breakup”, and found myself again. I wasn’t able to cook because I lived with my parents, which was extremely weird because I had been on my own since I was 17. But, I tried to cook here and there – but they hated it. Mom told me that my risotto was disgusting (and it wasn’t), and my Dad wouldn’t even touch the meals that I cooked. It was okay though, I’d cook for myself when I could. I worked taking care of seniors too, and I got to cook for them, and they appreciated my meals, which felt good.
I met D.J. a year and a half after moving to the US, and from the minute I cooked for him (actually he cooked for me first), he appreciated me, and he appreciated my cooking. It was amazing. To do something that I loved, helped me escape from negative feelings and made me happy – yes happy… wow, what a feeling, and be appreciated for it – it was like a new world. I knew that all the dark places that I had been in my life, and all the negativity was somehow a way to lead me to where I am today – lead to me D.J. Cooking saved me.
Now, I cook everyday – sometimes 3 times a day (lunch is a lot of heating up leftovers… I have this thing about cooking too much lol). D.J. is my biggest fan, and my biggest supporter for my cooking, and shoot… for me. If it wasn’t for him, I’m really not too sure where I’d be in life. He helps me through the negativity I hear from my family, and from the scars that I have in life.
This was probably a lot of mumble jumble, and probably doesn’t make sense, but man it felt good to get it all off of my chest, and realize that I now cook for me, and that cooking (and D.J.) is what saved me. Thank you D.J. for being my best friend, and my biggest fan. I couldn’t have auditioned and knew that I was good enough to make it as far as I did without your support and guidance. I love you with all of my heart. And of course, I love my parents. No question there.
I hope that I get a call back from MasterChef, it would be amazing to experience it, and share my love and passion for cooking with America. And if I don’t get a call back, I am okay with it because it was an amazing experience and I made it as far as I did based on my food – the judge loved my meal and let me through to the next round. It justified that I was a good cook, and that I am doing something right in my life and that my journey in life all has meant something to lead me to where I am today.