I remember it all very well. The first thing I ever learned to cook was rice. I even learned how to wash dishes standing up on a stool.
I was 6 years old when I got exposed to doing chores for the very first time. My younger brother and I lived with distant relatives in the Philippines for a year. The couple has three children, and each had their very own chores to do and it was only fair that my brother and I had to help. It was a good thing I was trained when we lived with our distant relatives.
When I came to the United States at age 10, I helped my grandmother a lot in the kitchen. She was very impressed with what I was able to do. When I look back now, I remember those days fondly even though it was a lot of work for a young girl like me.
She had me slice vegetables a very specific way for her lumpia because she was very particular. We didn’t have a food processor, so everything had to be done by hands. I would be in the kitchen for hours, and I hated every minute of it, but that experience proved invaluable as I grew into what would be my profession.
Prior to being in the food industry, I was in the dental field for over six years. Helping others and working with my hands was always something I wanted to do, but I could not quite put it together. I knew I did not want to be working in the hospital being around sick people, and I was not particularly happy in the dental field.
I was thirty-years-old and at turning point of my career. But thinking back to my childhood, I remembered fondly how passionate my grandma was in feeding the family and making sure everyone was happy and well-fed.
Though I wasn’t sure I wanted to be in the kitchen, I wanted to do something that she loved to do as a remembrance of her and my love of good healthy eating. I decided to join Le Cordon Bleu California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.
During my academic years in culinary school, nutrition was one of the requirements, and fit nicely in my ultimate goal of being a healthy chef. It took a year before I realized that working with my hands and pursuing the culinary arts were truly something I enjoyed passionately. Nutritional studies lead me to my first certification and I’ve never looked back.
My focus remains on providing healthy eating and nutrition through my East Bay Healthy Chef business. I continue to pursue my next goal of obtaining a degree in nutrition and becoming a registered dietician.