Goal #11: Compete in a cooking contest – my recipe was a runner-up!

It really was a surprise!

6 years or so ago (wow, time really flew by fast), I knew nothing about cooking. Even though I loved eating, I could barely microwave right. But then I relocated to a small town in Kansas. With just a handful of restaurants, I decided to learn how to cook as a survival skill. I clumsily about 60 recipes from watching the Food Network, mostly from Giada de Laurentiis’ show. Her mac and cheese recipe is still one of my favorites.

Then on my 40th birthday, I took the Culinary Institute of America’s 5-day culinary boot camp to learn the basic skills properly. the course was certainly expensive, but it was also one of the best investment I’ve ever made. Because not only has cooking brought me (and my friends) plenty of joy, I am eating and living much healthier because of this skill set. I highly recommend taking proper cooking classes to anyone.

In addition to the basic needs of eating and sustaining life, I also always see cooking as a form of artistic expression. I guess that’s why I enjoy it so much. And this was the reason why I wanted to enter a cooking contest. Just to see if what I come up with makes sense to experts. So getting this validation from the Taste of Home contest really means something to me. I’m also glad that I was a runner-up in my first contest, instead of winning it outright. (Although it would have been nice too!) But I do like having motivations to improve. Here is the recipe.

Oh, by the way, a couple of years ago, I got to tell Giada in person about how I learned cooking from her. That was quite a moment. 🙂

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