From a young age, I was raised in a holistic environment. My family moved from Detroit to Atlanta so my mother could go to chiropractic college. I believe my mother’s pursuit of natural healing helped me develop an intuitive sense of right and wrong in regard to food and health.
This seed of knowledge allowed me to thrive during my formative training in some of the best kitchens in the country. I worked at Seeger’s and the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton, both five-star, five-diamond restaurants. The chefs I trained under were always seeking out the freshest and purest produce, seafood and meat.
We learned to respect the ingredients and handle them with care. This included not over-processing them, which I think is a foundation of good cooking and eating.
Somewhere in between working at those two wonderful restaurants I graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. The experience I gained from my education really helped to round out my training. I was exposed to a lot of different techniques and food philosophies while in school, and all this culminated into a desire to share the knowledge I had acquired.
For the past 18 years, I have experienced all aspects of the food industry. I was a chef, a line cook, a server, a dishwasher, a caterer, a bartender, a restaurant owner… I saw it all, from a top relais chateau rated property all the way down to my fried chicken shack.
As a result I eventually understood that staring at the same four walls every day hindered my creativity. The long hours and isolation was an undeniably bad work/life balance and in order to improve myself I had to address it.
On top of that, feeding nameless faces made me feel like another cog in the wheel, and after some soul searching it dawned on me that my purpose is to empower friends and strangers to feed themselves and their families better. So I left the restaurant industry, somewhat terrified.
Since then I’ve focused my energy on teaching public and private classes at places like the Botanical Gardens here in Atlanta and at Cook’s Warehouse. I still continue to do some catering as well. I feel fulfilled, and there is nothing I find more rewarding than working with others to achieve their own balance in their diet and life.