As a child I was a finicky eater. Clearly, my mom had her work cut out for her since I only ate a few dishes. At the age of seven years old when I went to live with my grandma, I became interested in cooking. I remember one time I pushed a vinyl seat up against the stove and began to fry bacon in a cast iron pan. Well, needless to say it didn't work out very well for the bacon (which burned) or my behind (which got smacked). As time went on, however, my cooking skills developed, and in high school when we ditched class (yes, I ditched), I was the appointed chef to feed my friends.
As an adult, I realized my grandmother was also a mentor, but as a child this didn't resonate. She taught me a lot, but two lessons stand out the most. One, when you don't have a specific ingredient, you learn to improvise: "when in doubt figure it out." The second and more important of the two, is that the heart and soul of a family is the matriarch. Without the love and strength of this woman, a family's connection and heart does not exist. Of course, I will never be able to fill her shoes, but I will continue to try.
Today, as a mother and grandmother, I'll try most food, but I'm still a bit squeamish. I still cannot eat jello-o or tapioca pudding (the texture makes me crazy). I know what I love and the kind of food we want to share from the five styles of Mexican cuisine (Tex-Mex, New-Mex, Den-Mex, Cal-Mex, Mex-Mex, and Border food) to exciting flavors from the deep South to regional favorites of Cajun and Creole, making our way around the globe to Italy and the Middle East. Our only inspiration is searching for the "perfect bite!"
This has not been an easy road, but it is my journey. I love what we are creating in the kitchen and sharing with you.