Much of my love for being in the kitchen has come from my family. Most week nights I would stand around the kitchen island as my dad cooked. When I was in middle school my dad started having me help him more and more which I was totally game for. He would ask me to chop his mise en place or grab items from the pantry as he prepped something else a few steps away. I learned how to handle a knife, the importance of tasting your food as you cook and how to properly season your dishes, all from my dad's knowledge.
(my family before our thanksgiving dinner in 2012 / showing off our amazing turkey, right out of the oven)
At some point I started calling my dad 'head chef' and he then refereed to me as his 'sous chef', as if we were in a professional kitchen like we would see on tv. As a kid, I loved this. We had this bond in the kitchen that I truly believe strengthened our relationship on so many levels. My time in the kitchen with my dad was truly a time for conversation; we would talk about school, growing up, about food we loved, new dishes we wanted to make and goals that we had. I got to know my dad through food and cooking together. We figured out how to use new ingredients as a team and how to laugh when things didn't turn out like the recipe said.
As an adult, I feel like I have adopted the same mentality when cooking in my home… make food that is approachable, invite my guests into the kitchen to talk (or help) and finally, have a willingness to trying new ingredients and methods along the way. Food has brought me closer to the people I love and has been the vehicle to know each other on deeper levels. I put the love I have for food into the meals I make, just like my parents.