Celebrating 100 little steps on the way to one big goal.
I will never forget the first time I “pretended” to host my own cooking show. I was seven years old, in our kitchen in Connecticut with a bowl full of cheese, ham and other assorted things. I proudly announced, “Hi, I’m Erica and welcome to my show! Today we will prepare…”
“I proudly announced, “Hi, I’m Erica and welcome to my show! Today we will prepare…“
I didn’t really know how to cook yet but I had spent enough time in the kitchen helping my parents and also watching classic cooking shows on television that I was convinced that I could host my own show. I was captivated how each cook or chef had their own unique personality and even more unique style of cooking.
I watched cooking shows like Martin Yan’s, Yan Can Cook with his snappy tag line of “if Yan can cook, then so can you!” And you know what? I believed him. As a little girl watching his show I was inspired by his delicious Chinese food creations and his lively personality. He had a contagious enthusiasm that seemed to come alive in the kitchen.
And you know what? I believed him. As a little girl watching his show I was inspired…”
But then I also watched shows like, Justin Wilson’s Cajun Cooking. With his blue shirts, red suspenders he always had a notable, familiar style. And with his tagline of “Whoo boy, that’s good! I guarantee!!” declared loudly nearly every time he tasted his food, I was convinced that I too could make food so delicious!
Of course Julia Child with her show, The French Chef, is an unforgettable part of my childhood cooking history. She showed the basics from start to finish and regarded every ounce of her personality as a strength and not a weakness.
Watching Jacques Pépin cooking with his daughter Claudine, reminded me that cooking truly was even better with family and when traditions and techniques are passed down from generation to generation.
My culinary education continued on from there with countless chefs and cooks, both great and small, known and unknown, ordinary and extraordinary, they all inspired and taught me endless knowledge. By the time I started working in restaurants at age 15, I felt like I belonged there in a strange sort of way. And even when I stopped working in restaurants (it can be a crazy and busy way to make a living), I still felt somehow nostalgic for them. I found myself writing recipes for my local newspaper and spending my evening cooking up my new creations in my home kitchen.
Some of my family and closest friends who have witnessed me in the kitchen say that it is indeed where I belong. I’ve worked with many different chefs and sometimes felt the pressure weigh in like a wrecking ball. I wondered why cooking had to be so stressful sometimes.
All along, I never forgot about this dream of mine to cook on a cooking show. I even auditioned and pitched my ideas to different networks on numerous occasions but without success. I felt a little defeated by this. In a way I convinced myself that maybe my cooking was strictly meant for my home kitchen and not to share with others outside of my family and friends.
After much encouragement, I finally started filming my own cooking shows. I dug up my old college filming and editing knowledge and researched filmmakers for inspiration to try to somehow create my own cooking show. I won’t lie, it was terrifying. I wanted to give up almost right after I started. I thought, what is the point? Will anyone watch them? Am I interesting? Can I create enough recipes? Can I film alone? Can I edit all of my footage? How do I edit a cooking show in the first place? Is my camera good enough? On and on, the questions and waves of doubt rolled in. But you know what, I just decided to make the cooking videos anyway. Then something really special happened… I started to learn a lot and learn a lot fast and the cooking videos, filming and editing started to get better. And to tell you the truth, I am still learning a lot. It is the hardest job I’ve ever had and pays the least in terms of actual revenue. But truth be told, there’s a priceless value on finally doing work that I really love doing. Work that I am proud of. Work that really allows me to be myself. After 17 years of working (yes I know, I am still very young), it feels great to have daily work doing something I am passionate about even if other people do not understand it or take it seriously. I understand it just fine and I take it quite seriously. I don’t allow myself to get hung up on what other people say. I am open to learn from anyone, but I have decided to not let the critiques cripple my creative process but rather build it.
“…but I have decided to not let the critiques cripple my creative process but rather build it.”
The work can continue around the clock but along with that I have experienced an ongoing creative inspiration that seems to run through my veins 24 hours a day. I see ideas and get inspiration so quickly now. I have learned and am learning that if you want to be more creative, then you must simply create MORE! Even if you feel like you have nothing to say, give or create, just do it anyway and eventually, the creativity faucet will not stop flowing. I have experienced this beyond just for filming cooking videos but also for writing novels, poetry and music.
“I have learned and am learning that if you want to be more creative, then you must simply create MORE!”
There are so many lessons that I have learned and that I am still learning but all I can say is thank you! Not to myself but to God. You know I prayed for something like this but I never knew how to “make it happen” but I know He has been my driving force behind it all, filling me with bursts of creativity, excitement, fun and strength. He makes it all worth it. I am reminded even now that He is the reason why I create. He is whom I create for. It is His applause and approval I seek and I believe I have because He has accepted me as I am (and you too by the way). So many days of filming and editing alone I am reminded that I was never really alone. He was and is and ever will be with me. There’s a beauty and a peace in knowing this and moreover, knowing HIM.
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