A week has passed, since I was announced as the winner of The Taste. As with anything, great things take time, and this surreal experience is now only setting in. This has truly been a journey and looking back, the biggest lesson that I learned is not about food at all.
When I got the opportunity to audition for The Taste, I knew that regardless of the outcome, the experience would be unforgettable, simply put, a dream come true. As the competition began I could see myself actually winning. And it was at this point when I became committed and truly dedicated.
I am still sorting through the lessons that I have learned in the past few months, but I will take a shot to crystallize everything in this wild ride into a few sentences.
1. When the time is right, you will know.
2. Giving ALL of yourself to one thing, one goal is perhaps the most powerful experience one can have.
3. Taking care of your spirt and mind allows you to make the most out of the ‘right time’
4. Risks are necessary. You push yourself, become vulnerable, embrace that vulnerability. Acknowledgement of this is magical.
5. Gratitude is the attitude. Remember how fortunate you truly are. Meditate on the things you are grateful for, then verbalize it or write it down, bringing the thought to fruition in the eyes of the universe.
6. Trust everything will be OK.
Never in my life had I felt so connected to achieving something. In my heart I knew that The Taste was an opportunity that could change my life forever. I respected that. This meant staying true to myself, rooted in my truth through the spiritual practice of meditation, proper diet, and spending time with people I love while never forgetting to stay in touch with the outdoors. Food, like everything in life, is energetic. To give myself the best shot at winning, I needed to be in the best energetic state possible. No drinking, no smoking, no late nights, no drama, just me, myself and I with one goal in mind; make my dreams come true. My post college years have been interesting. I have had a variety of jobs that taught me a lot about the world and myself, but whether it was restaurant consulting, catering, or private equity there was always something missing. The reality was that I was committed to each of these jobs, but a part of me had other aspirations, aspirations of creativity, entertainment and true self expression. I always felt like I was half in and half out. It was not until the universe and I aligned with the opportunity to go on The Taste, that I felt my purpose was being solidified.
This is not to say that my dream and purpose in life was to be on a reality cooking television show, but The Taste was an opportunity that could set the stage for even greater things; ways in which I could be myself, actualize myself and instill change in the world. I knew that the time was right, my internal compass pointed me in the right direction. When the time is right you must acknowledge it and pour your heart and soul into whatever that may be. So, I quit two jobs, put my relationship on hold and committed to learning, cooking and pushing myself outside what I thought was possible. My daily routine was challenging. I woke up at 4:20am regardless of the day. I would begin with meditation and then a cup of coffee on the way to the studio, followed by more meditation, and journaling. Eventually I got back to the hotel at 7:30pm ate a healthy meal and studied a bit more. Bed time was at 8:30pm every night. I didn’t drink, I didn’t smoke, I didn’t get into the drama. I focused. It was difficult to adapt at first, but soon I found myself embracing the routine and every moment that that unfolded before me. At last, when it was time to perform, to cook my heart out; I was ready, feeling positive and filled with love and light. I was cooking against some of the best cooks in the world which meant that risk became a necessity. The entire idea of going on to such a show in itself was a risk, the unknown of how the edits would be cut and spliced, what would happen and the impact on my life was uncertain. But that uncertainty felt good. So when it was time to cook, I would challenge myself and create things that I had not made before, pushing myself and testing my limits. I have to say that I could only handle this type of stress because I had my routine and practice to fall back on. A true testament as to how everything comes full circle.
My entire time in LA was filled with gratitude. Every day I was overwhelmed gratitude as I was still there, in the running for a major prize, but more importantly learning from some of the world’s best chefs. I was fortunate enough to have some amazing friends who lived in the area, so I was always surrounded by people who were loving and supportive. I would call my parents and close friends almost every day and touch base, careful not to speak of the days results, but just to get their wisdom, love and support. These support systems were fuel for the fire and gave me a deep sense of comfort, putting everything into perspective once again.
I think back as to how I got to this point, and I am overwhelmed with emotion and a true understanding that everything will always be alright. We walk through life thinking ‘if only this, if only that’ and these thoughts are only natural. But as I reflect on the past few years; if I had gotten that deal, started that company or committed to that job, I would not be where I am now; in the most satisfying, energizing and inspired mindsets I have ever been. Sometimes when things line up the way you want them to or expect them to, that is the universe making space for your own growth in a better, more fulfilling direction. Trust that your path will unfold before you just as it is supposed to. Tread lightly and curiously explore as there will be a time it all becomes clear.
As I move onward and upward, I am not sure what is next, but that is OK. The Taste has changed my life on many levels, opened me up possibility and inspired me to continue my journey of learning about food, culture and the people that make it so special.
Thank you to all who have made this ride so amazing. It is only just beginning and I cannot wait to see where it goes. I appreciate the continued support along this journey. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.