I’m not a professionally trained chef – just a good home cook. I was given the Chef Mimi nickname years ago and the name just stuck with friends and family. My real name is Mimi, so that part is true! What I am in the kitchen is someone who’s passionate about everything food-related.
Professionally, I was a personal chef for eight years and I catered for ten after that. I was a food writer, had a weekly newspaper column, taught cooking classes, worked as a recipe developer, was a health advocate promoting feeding children healthy food (way ahead of my time), had a cooking show (not so good at that), and even wrote a cookbook. So you can see that much of my life has focused on food and cooking. Mostly because I love to eat!
I didn’t start cooking seriously until I married thirty-plus years ago, and then devoured cookbooks in order to figure things out. I could whip up Crêpes Suzettes, (thanks Mom!) but had never cooked a steak. So I followed a new recipe every day and learned from the ground up.
My husband was a bit limited in his tastes back then, and I was raised by a fabulous “chef” in her own right, see GROWING UP FOODIE, so you can imagine the challenges !!! But he got better. In fact, I kind of created a monster! (He requested Ethiopian sik sik wat for our second Thanksgiving together!)
So I cooked and we ate, and I gained confidence in my knowledge. We also had two daughters along the way. I challenge any restaurant chef to take a mom’s place in her kitchen on a daily basis for 18 years. Three meals a day, every day, with good nutrition as the highest priority. That is a hard job, but one I will never regret having done so relentlessly. I’ve been accused of micro-managing their meals, in fact. However, it definitely taught me to creatively use whatever I have in the pantry and refrigerator, which is still something I naturally do to this day. Nothing goes to waste.
I don’t work in any food capacity professionally any more. But I still cook! Now my grown daughters come home, one married to a fabulous eater, and it’s no holds barred. It’s full-out hors d’oeuvres, fun drinks, creative meals, and flowing wine. Work? Yes !!! But enjoying food and family is the best life has to offer.
feature photo by Stéphane Gabart