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Archive for September, 2009

You Gotta Have a Vision

When I’m cooking for someone I visualize how I want them to feel after eating my meal.  For a friend who’s feeling under the weather, I picture them feeling warmed and comforted; for a party I envision festive conversation pieces that evoke lightheartedness and laughter; for a birthday I see someone with their eyes closed and making a wish that is deep within their heart.

Having a vision is important for achieving what you want in cooking and in life.  If you can’t see what you want, it will be difficult to make it happen.  This is especially true  if you are one of those multifaceted, talented individuals who can wear many different hats.  You go around doing what you’re told you’re good at, getting a pat on the back for it, but it still isn’t enough for you.

I created a “vision board” that hangs in front of my desk to remind me of things I want in my life.  It’s a great tool to help you on your journey to living from your true source.

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Mission Possible

When I worked as a Marketing Director for a restaurant group I challenged the leaders of the organization to develop a mission statement that would incorporate its values and goals so that customers and employees could have an understanding of what we as a company were about.  It was a daunting task trying to get people to agree on what our mission was.  I did not realize how frustrating it would be to get people to reach a consensus.  Some people thought it was a complete waste of time.  After all, there was construction to oversee, employees to be trained, money to be raised and recipes to be tested.  In the end, that mission statement never saw the light of day, and eventually that restaurant group, for a number of reasons, folded.

The fact that writing that mission statement is so difficult for some people is evidence of its power.  It means that you’d have to stand for something and live up to it and alot of people are not ready to do that.  However, if you are seeking a better life in line with your authentic self, then you must be ready to write your own mission statement.  Let me tell you how I accidentally came up with mine.

This summer I auditioned to be a contestant on a television show called America’s Next Food Network Star.  The winner of this competition show wins their own cooking show on the Food Network.  I thought it was time for the Food Network to have a dynamic, female, Asian chef and that their audience would embrace someone with my unique culinary point of view.

I did not get a callback, but what I got from the experience was something so much greater.  In the process of filling out the lengthy 11-page application, I was forced to dig deep inside myself to understand who I am and why I would want to be on such a show.  I realized that I have a deep desire to help others through sharing my knowledge of food and that having my own cooking show would be completely in line with that.  This is the reason why I’ve taught cooking classes, published books and articles, blogged and twittered about food. This is the reason why I accost strangers in the grocery store to talk about recipes and ingredients: to help people by sharing what I know.  This is why I am constantly pursuing more food knowledge- to have more to share.

I am telling you, once you have a mission statement it will make your life so much easier!  You will have a reference point to help you make decisions with clarity.  For example, I have felt confused about the next steps that take in my career.  Often times I found myself reacting to opportunities instead of proactively working towards a goal.  When you are living a life that is reactionary it makes you feel restricted and powerless because you are always waiting for something to happen to you instead of creating what you want from your life.  Now that I have a mission statement it is so much easier to see what things fit into my life and what doesn’t.  I am feeling gratitude for the amazing life I have, and I’m getting rid of things that don’t serve me in order to make room for more of this abundant joy.

It’s time to step into your power and live out your mission.

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You Are Here

You Are Here

This painting lived in my kitchen in Cambridge, MA, for 10 years, watching over me as I cooked many meals.  It was packed away in my parents’ basement, along with many other meaningful possessions, when I moved to California.

It was given to me by a very talented artist as a gift for letting him stay with me while he was homeless.  I don’t know whatever became of him, but his gift has served as a signpost reminding me of an essential truth—

Wherever we are is where we are in that moment and right now if you’re reading this page that means You Are Here and I thank you for your presence.

I started this blog because I believe food and cooking are powerful beyond measure.  We are connected to it biologically, emotionally, historically, economically, and spiritually.  It is specific, yet expansive; and in a constant state of flux.

My whole life I have had a keen awareness of food and unconsciously I have used it as a tool to cope with stresses, as a creative outlet, an emblem of love, a comfort for my grief, a career path, a cultural exploration, a connection to nature, and much more.

Cooking Up Your Life is dedicated to celebrating food and the art of cooking to inspire personal growth and to enhance the well being of all mankind.

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