Food was always important in my family. My parents were both excellent cooks. Their parents were respectively also excellent cooks. I can still remember the first time I cooked anything. When I was about four years old I was obsessed with eggs. I loved them scrambled, fried, baked, and especially poached. My mother, having grown tired of my usual breakfast requests, decided to teach me how to cook them myself. She taught me how to break the shells open and whisk the eggs into a creamy froth of bright yellow goodness. She taught me that I needed a very hot pan and that I had to keep my eggs moving around so they wouldn’t stick or over cook. I didn’t understand then but I had learned a valuable lesson. I had learned to create something, and that made me feel good about myself.
In the years since that day I have often turned to kitchen as a way to relieve my frustrations with life and rebuild my self-esteem when needed. I was always a very hardheaded young man and it was once very difficult for me to accept that I could not control the world around me. I could however control everything that was happening in my kitchen. I could control how hot my pans were, I could control the amount of salt I put in a pot, and I count on being rewarded for carefully preparing my ingredients. Once you feel you are in control of something small the rest of your problems seem at least slightly more manageable. When I am cooking I can tune out the rest of the world and concentrate only on what my hands are doing, it is very much like peacefully meditating. The best part is that cooking doesn’t have to extravagant. You do not have to be a Chef to learn to enjoy cooking. The same care and skill required for perfectly glazing a truffled duck, that will sell for $150 a portion, can be applied to a simple boiled egg. Anything that is prepared with care is special and worthy of pride.