The good times that came from cooking as a family got me psyched about food in general, and I wanted more than anything to be a great cook. When I started cooking as a kid, I tried to recreate what I watched on TV or what I saw in books. One of my favourite books as a kid was strangely, an old French cooking book. To be honest, it wasn't the best way to start, if you know how complicated French cuisine can be. At nine years old, I had to give myself some credit.
I then began with many simple things, like making egg fried rice or easy pasta dishes, and I couldn't stop. Cooking was my first love and I fell hard, really hard. I found cooking to be incredibly enjoyable and relaxing. I can truly express how I feel and what I want other people to feel through food.
About a year ago, I applied for a chef apprentice programme and I was accepted. After being unsuccessful in several different occasions, I thought this was going to be my time: to be working for one of the country's top chef. But to cut long story short, at the end it didn't work out and I was utterly disappointed.
But I didn't lose hope because I am a great believer that everything happens for a reason. It's just not my time yet.
Exactly 365 days ago, I asked myself, "so what am I gonna do now?"
Something occurred into my mind. If I can't enrol myself into a culinary school, I'm gonna train myself. I've heard stories about chefs who have never been to a culinary school but still made it. They taught themselves how to cook.
I turned into my bookshelf and I was looking through some books for inspiration what to have for tomorrow's dinner. And then I saw 'Cook with Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook' which I bought a couple of years ago. I thought, "that's it! that's exactly what I want to be. I want to be better a better cook."
I'm gonna train myself and sharpen my skill and be more prepared for future opportunities. For the next year, I'll be cooking through all of the recipes in the book. Jamie Oliver seems like a good choice. He looks like a cool, down-to-earth-kind-of guy from what I've seen on TV. I like his style of cooking and I think he'll be a great mentor.
These past few months I have had the most delicious time as you have seen. I learned how to cook, shop and eat all over again. And my friends are happy too because they are well-fed.
Also along the way, I met so many wonderful cooks, chefs and bloggers from all around the world. I think that's one of the great things about blogging, it's a free and global way to share with people with similar interests, people who loves cooking and eating. I want to thank all of you for the support, insight and encouragement you have provided me during the project. All the comments and emails are very, very much appreciated.
365 days, 164 recipes, countless bottles of olive oils, lots and lots of fennel seeds, baskets of lemons and few murdered crustaceans later, yes, I do feel like a better cook.
And what's next? Well, next is I want to be better than better. There are still so much I want to learn and I look forward to a new cooking adventure. However, the next few weeks will be the busiest time at work as new term at the University approaches. So, I'm gonna concentrate on that and I also want to go back to my original weight before the new cooking project starts :)
I don't know why I suddenly get all emotional. I'm happy because I succeeded and I proved that with determination, it's all possible, but at the same time I'm sad because it's over. So, I better wrap this up as soon as possible before I burst.
That was it, really. I love cooking and I still have a lot to learn. This project is the funnest thing I have done and I could not have done it without all of you my friends and of course, to my imaginary mentor, Jamie Oliver who has transformed me to become a better cook. Thank you.
Until next time...