As cliche as it may sound, my momma was the flint that sparked my inspiration for cooking. A single mother in catering who was raising two boys, she surely had her hands full. So when she had the time, she cooked to ensure her growing boys never went hungry. It was when mom wasn't around that I had no other choice but to cook for me and my younger brother. Eventually, I would create my culinary ideas using ingredients I had on hand. Thus, my culinary evolution to impromptu cuisine.
Eggplant Rollatini. I kept at it until I got each component down pat. It may be the reason eggplant is one of my go to dishes, go figure.
My favorite thing to cook has recently become any tomato-based sauce good enough that you'd eat it like soup. I developed this affinity while road trippin' Summer of 2010. Without refrigeration in my van, I’d have to use the fresh-picked tomatoes when ripe. For this, I had a simple solution; make the best chunky marinara with the produce I had at the nearest rest areas every two or so days. It'd warm me up when cold, and the aroma of stewed tomatoes, basil and garlic kept an inner harmony when options were limited. I roadtripped for three months, you do the math.
That I love food more than I thought I did. I learned that I was able to overcome stress through my ability to improvise and make decisions. I learned that eggplant should be salted to draw out moisture prior to breading for frying (thank you, Chef Graham Elliot for that tip). I was humbled being around such expertise as the judges had; their feedback quenched my thirst for culinary knowledge. Overall, I learned that my life should revolve even more around food than it has. I learned even more of what my life is going to encompass. Stay tuned, I'm going to make some ripples in the future.