Julia Child once taught this principle by her words and her actions:
“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.”
Passion and Vision
Passion, by definition, is a strong and almost irrepressible emotion. The strength of this singular sensation stirs up feelings of energy, enthusiasm, love, and a desire to persevere through any situation to obtain the end results. Julia Child, one of the most celebrated chefs in history, displayed passion that carried her through all the setbacks and frustrations because she had a vision of whom she could become and of what she could accomplish. In all aspects of our lives, we need a passion that will guide us and that will ultimately create our futures.
The culinary arts, whether they derive from an industrial kitchen or a home kitchen, require a special kind of passion. This passion embraces a discipline as well as a love and desire to find success in the field. Ask yourself, what is going to carry you through the undercooked dishes, the awful tastes, and the burnt messes? What kind of passion will help you push through the daily meal preparation and give the motivation to pursue a lifestyle of cooking and cooking well?
A Passion for Food and Cooking
First and foremost, we need to love food, and we need to love cooking.
Although I had many options and avenues to follow from science to art, I chose to be part of the culinary arts because of one motivating factor: I love food.
Food is as critical to me as is my own blood. I know it’s part of what makes me who I am and always will continue to define me and my story. I like to think that I was raised in the kitchen because food has always been part of my past as well as my present family heritage. Everything in my life has essentially evolved and revolved around food and our love for it. Mom thanks her German background for introducing a reason to celebrate food on any occasion, and Dad beleives he was destined to have our surname, which means Lover of Food.
Destiny or not, from a very young age, my parents included my siblings and me in the kitchen, in food preparation, in learning how to read and prepare recipes, and in loving the taste of all foods and combinations. To this day, I am constantly cooking and baking because my parents raised me with a love and a passion for filling my life with good food. Even now, I love to experiment with flavors, techniques, and tools.
A Passion for Creativity
The strong drive and passion that has brought me to love the culinary arts is the artistic and creative process that food and cuisine offer me. Yes, food preparation and presentation are not my only talents.
We obtain the key to unlocking any passion in any study and discipline by allowing motivating desire and the creative process to flow naturally from us.
I grew up drawing and painting on any flat surface I could find from walls to canvases. As I have matured, my artistic skills have become more refined. However, I didn’t limit my abilities in the visual arts to rendering 2-dimensional paintings. Instead, I have used my collective talents in art and even chemistry and incorporated them into the world of food.
Realize that each talent and each idea you have will give a unique aspect to your cooking. By incorporating your talents, those with which you feel comfortable and have refined or hope to refine, cooking will become easier, engaging, and unique to you. I am drawn to baking for the same reasons that I am drawn to the visual arts. My whole intent in creating art was to capture through visual expression the beauty of my experiences, my emotions, and my beliefs. Food or paint—it does not matter the medium because the tools are available to create the most beautiful pieces of art. They are beautiful to me because they reflect my heritage, my preferences, and my cultural experiences. My creativity made them happen.
“Creativity is a great motivator because it makes people interested in what they are doing.
Creativity gives hope that there can be a worthwhile idea.
Creativity gives the possibility of some sort of achievement to everyone.
Creativity makes life more fun and more interesting.”
– Dr. Edward de Bono
Apply your talents and let them lead you to the cooking best suited for you. I believe that no talents will go to waste in the culinary world because the food that is unique to the chef is often the best food. It bears a story and emotions yearning for expression.
A Passion for the Senses
Food offers the chance to look, touch, smell, hear, and taste simultaneously. Truly, foods are fascintating objects, discoverable in a variety of textures and colors. Foods may be sculpted, cut, and manipulated into almost any form. They can serve as a blank canvas, like an iced cake or cookie, on which to paint.
Picture in your mind any celebration that involves a large meal. Imagine who will be attending, who will be preparing the settings, and who will be cooking and baking the food. What are the colors and the combinations that catch your mind’s eye? What are the sounds filling the atmosphere of the place?
Shift your vision to the food itself. What smells are wafting from the preparation area? Are your outside with a log fire or inside a kitchen with an oven? Imagine that you are helping to prepare the food itself. Are you chopping vegetables or peeling fruits? What do they feel like to the touch? How do they smell? What are their textures? And finally, as the food is being placed on platters or plates or directly in your hands, it must make its way to your mouth to taste its savory, sweet, or sour nature. How does it taste?
If your mind can recall all the imagery of a meal from your past or even one you hope to create, if your heart paused with that little sigh of “Ahhh!” as you thought emotionally of your favorite foods, then your senses have remembered the appearance, smell, texture, sound, and flavor of certain foods that have created in you a passion.
Be Passionate and Become What You Desire
To produce good food is a true talent. It can be taught. However, it takes a chef who has enough love for cooking or baking to create the real masterpieces in any kitchen.
Your food should speak for you. It should tell the individuals consuming it that you were meant to be the chef because you love what you do and you express it beautifully.
Food requires passion. You need to know why you want to cook. You need to find your talents that will make your food unique and help motivate you to love cooking even more.
I believe Julia Child’s lifetime of experience was proof of how passion for something not only qualifies one for the discipline required but encourages one to pursue the course no matter the difficulties along with the pleasures. If cooking is a part of who you are or who you want to become, determine yourself to be an amazing chef and have the confidence that with a passion for food and the talents you hold, you will create amazing things. You will taste the beautiful life.
Brontë E. Mock
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