I’ve been smitten with food for as long as I can remember. I grew up in the South, where meals were elevated to a quasi-religion. Every day was a food-drenched event, starting with hot biscuits and homemade butter, and ending with the inevitable peach cobbler.
My Southern grandmothers were my first culinary and nutrition instructors; I learned to cook in their sunny kitchens, and they taught me to value and respect food, family and the connection between the two.
Sunday afternoons, our post-church ritual centered on “dinner,” as the mid-day meal was called; friends gathered around tables groaning beneath baskets of cornbread, platters of fried chicken, pies and cakes by the dozen.
Most of the food came from our backyard: the beans and corn from the fields, tomatoes from my grandmother’s garden behind the kitchen, eggs from the chicken pen and baskets of blackberries and pecans gathered by my small cousins and me.
Inspired by the magic of growing plants, and having watched one chicken too many meet its demise in my grandmother’s kitchen, I became a vegetarian at the age of 11. I read my first nutrition books, and took my first culinary arts classes. And then I spent the next 30 years devouring information about health, nutrition and the deep and abiding magic of food.
Through the fabric of my learning was woven a thread of spirituality and a spirit of adventure. I got degrees in nutrition and culinary arts while living in ashrams and teaching yoga. I traveled with famous musicians while writing my first books on food and health. I started and sold food companies while researching the psychology of eating. I appeared on nationally televised cooking shows and taught nutrition classes around the country while getting professionally certified in five different body-mind therapies. I walked on fire, did dozens of sweat lodges, sat for hundreds of hours in silent retreats, and earned my second-degree black belt in ninjutsu.
From all this, I found a path, one that led me to a humble respect for the connection between food, body, mind and soul, and ignited in me a deep and abiding desire to inspire others.
Now, I teach cooking classes, create menus and occasionally cater small events. I innovate healthy, sustainable food products for companies. I develop recipes and write articles about healthy eating. And I help people find healing and peace around eating. Because there’s magic in food, in the growing and preparing of it, in the packaging and distribution of it, in the gathering around a table to share it. I want to inspire you to feel that magic, too.