The beginning of my food centric journey started well before I was brought into this world. Experts say eating habits of a child are formed in the womb, which is an understatement in my case. I was practically born with a fork and knife as appendages. In my family, every occasion was celebrated with an abundance of food, and if there wasn’t something to celebrate, food was enough of an event on it’s own. I was predestined to hold a career that revolved around eating, and I embraced it readily from a very young age.

At 7 years old I debuted in the kitchen, mimicking my grandmother’s effortless skill. Never once was I disappointed by anything she prepared, and with good reason too. Even though my grandmother’s kitchen was adorned with modest, traditional ingredients, the one unique element she brought to every meal could not be found on a shelf. It was something within her, and it took me over 20 years and 2 careers to discover.

As soon as I legally could, I landed a position in the kitchen of a local Italian restaurant, marking the official commencement of my hospitality career. Over time, I accrued enough kitchen experience to make the necessary move into front of house operations; a decision I never regret making. Of all the lessons I learned on the line, the one that relocated me fastest was my need to socialize with other human beings.

After graduating college, my 20’s were spent fostering unhealthy relationships with the restaurants I managed. Putting everyone else’s needs ahead of mine became “the norm” because that was the expectation. Eventually I just felt irresponsible; there’s no other way to describe it. It didn’t matter how many diets I went on, miles I ran, or hours of sleep I received, I never felt healthy, happy or present. Maintaining a restaurant lifestyle compromised my relationships with my friends, my family and most importantly: me. I never felt so disconnected with myself. So, I quit. I prioritized my needs for once, and I was left feeling disconcerted, yet satisfied.

What transpired shortly after was nothing short of divine intervention. Leaving management allowed me to further immerse myself into the realm of health and wellness. I had time to explore recipes, fitness regimens, and this newfound path that I was comfortably settling into. Health coaching was a career that waltzed into my life the same way a perfect partner steals your heart at first sight. We were destined for each other, so I made every sacrifice I never thought I would make. I braved going back to school, established a new network, and broke personal boundaries.

My transformation was so empowering that I committed to helping others reach their goals. Each of us is put on this Earth with intention, yet many are left unnerved. These unsettled feelings start with the way we nourish ourselves through food, along with the relationships we uphold, and the activities we engage in. Cooking is an art our society has outsourced. When we cook with love, it does more than nourish us on a cellular level, it satiates our hunger on a mental, emotional and spiritual level as well. The skill that my grandmother left me with had little to do with cooking and everything to do with love— which is the most essential ingredient in this recipe we call life.