Cooking With Chef Sian: From there to here
Each December, with some measure of dramatic flair. I share a recap of my eventful year, and this year far exceeded my expectations. Read on to find out more about my dramatically eventful 2016.
A few years ago, I decided that it might be a good idea to turn my #1 passion into a career. Thing is I had only really flirted with this passion in the past. Sometimes I let it consume me. Other times it was a passing fancy. But. The one thing I had come to realize was that I was happiest when I indulged. So. After many years of being ‘an adult’ I decided to put aside responsibility and devote 2 years of my life to passionate indulgences.
Those 2 years began on February 19, 2014. As February 19, 2016 approached I was facing so many trials and tribulations I felt like I should just sleep on my knees. I became a real life Prayer Warrior. I just knew I was crazy for even wanting to continue on this dream chasing path. Still something within my spirit said hold on. And 10- months later I am so very, very glad that I did. As I sit here running thru my 2016 ‘Have Done’ list and deciding which ones have earned notable mention, I can only give thanks to the good Lord for giving me the determination to hold on. Following is a recap of my Top 3 moments this year, listed in no particular order.
What a Year
During the last week of 2015 I presented myself at the Miami Times office with a platter of food and a suggestion to the Editor that she incorporate a ‘Food’ column into the lifestyle section of the weekly Miami publication. 3 weeks later on January 16, 2016 my first column “Cooking with Chef Sian” was debuted in the Miami Times. I later adopted the title for the lifestyle section of my website, which explains the heading of this article. Not only did that article help to embolden me and convince me to keep chipping away at my reclusive shell; it gave me the opportunity to attend many great events and meet some wonderful people this year. Among those events was the 26th annual Taste of the Caribbean. An amazing showcase of talented food service professionals representing 14- Caribbean nations. I wrote extensively about the 4-day event in another post earlier this year.
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Later in the year, the 10th anniversary issue of Jamaican Eats magazine (a global publication that highlights Caribbean cuisine, ingredients and Chefs) was published and I found my name on the Top 10 list alongside some well known very talented Chef’s that I respect immensely. Needless to say, my head swelled more than a little.
Still, I felt that I was lacking the type of ‘big time’ industry validation that would look like success to an outsider and validate my efforts in the eyes of my peers, and myself. Don’t we all want that gratification? Then in early October I began feeling restless. I contacted a ‘breddrin’ and asked if/ how I could be a part of the 15th annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival: South Florida on November 13.
Road Tripping and Caribbean Cooking
I am a staunch flag flying Jamaican, one of the proudest, most spirited group of people on the planet. I also happen to be food obsessed. So a successful career as a Chef specializing in Caribbean cuisine is the stuff of dreams.
For much of the past 8 years I have repeatedly questioned my sanity for choosing to specialize in authentic Caribbean cuisine; a cuisine that was little known by outsiders but, enjoyed by people in every corner of the globe. As awareness has grown I have repeatedly flirted with the idea of pursuing ‘celebrity’ but something always made me retreat at the moment of opportunity. But. This year was different. Maybe it was that 2 year expectation. Maybe it was just the right time. Whatever it was, that friendly request turned into the chance of a lifetime and on November 13, after completing 12 promotional events for Grace Foods I was given the opportunity to appear as the Featured Chef in the Grace Culinary Corner. Not bad for a little Jamaican gal
Into the Future
I’m not sure what 2017 holds. I can’t even begin to imagine what milestone I will accomplish. But. Come what may I hope that you will be along for the ride.
A safe, happy and blessed New Year to you.