Forever my dream has been to open a restaurant. As a kid, I would “cook” and “serve” plastic food out of my fisher price kitchen set in my bedroom and then every afternoon sit on the floor, legs crossed watching the Food Network. I would paint refrigerator boxes and “sell” construction paper candy to mom’s customers outside her salon. Each weekend I would set up a lemonade stand at the end of my driveway and make roughly $4.00 with my best friend. Growing up with a father who is obsessed with food only sparked my interest and desire to learn more. Shortly after turning 18 I went to college and got a degree in Food Service Management. Now, im here in Tampa and I feel as though it has just begun.
I am in complete shock.
There is no stress comparable to food stress. Having worked on the line at a full service restaurant and as a baker’s assistant during the holiday season, I’ve experienced every kind of cooking anxiety. There never seems to be enough time, enough food, enough tools or enough help but historically, it always works out. Don’t get me wrong, little mishaps happen here and there (like buying spoons instead of knives or adding baking soda instead of baking powder) but most of the time I’m surprised by how smooth things run in the end.
Tonight Jon and I cooked for a banquet (the debut of Underground Catering) celebrating the ladies of Mama Africana and I couldn’t be more honored. We spent hours on menu ideas and plate designs, 4 days of shopping and food prep, an afternoon making BBQ sauce and BBQ rub from scratch and close to 13 hours cooking. We pulled it off and it was an amazing experience.
Brown Sugar glazed carrots
Wild and Long Grain Rice
Strawberry Balsamic spinach salad with red onions, strawberries and feta cheese
It almost feels like a dream now that it’s over. It’s safe to say that I feel overwhelmed with joy. Over the past few months I’ve begun to realize that God has something pretty big in store for me and tonight made me want to shout praises from the rooftops. I’m so excited that He has chosen Jon and I grow, cook and serve food. I’m terrified by how fast my life is moving but I can’t help but smile and jump up and down with excitement. There is no greater feeling (for me) than to get a handshake or a hug followed by “I loved your food.” Having cooked for an estimated total of 150 people, we had a good amount of extra/leftover food. After packing up, we drove straight to the Good Sam still in our chef coats and plated the rest of the food to all the men (and a handful of women) who were staying there tonight. They devoured the food. Serving the people at the Good Sam our food made from scratch made me so happy that I wanted to cry. They loved it. My favorite feedback of the night was “Y’all are doin’ it. This is right. Real good and Praise God. I really appreciate you.” I want to bring them food every time that we cook for an event.
The whole night has left me speechless and I am just overwhelmed by God’s love. I’m embarrassed by my various frustrations throughout the past few days but my faith in Jesus is growing by the minute. I want to fully trust Him in all things. My passion for food is just burning in my heart and I’m so excited to start this journey full speed ahead.
Everything feels right.