Happy Anniversary to my little, humble blog!

I just realized that a very important anniversary has passed! Embarrassingly, it must not have been That important to me since I forgot about it during the closing of my school work year.  But it is important to everyone who is me!  My little blog just turned three years old!!!  I wrote my first blog post, my introduction, on Thursday, May 31, 2012.  

I reflected back today, looking back at many photos and recipes:  the good, the really good, the bad and the terrible disasters.  I told you all in the very beginning, my blog is a learning blog, and I will reveal it all, even to  my own detriment!  My goal has been to share with folks that Anyone can learn to cook, we ALL make mistakes, even the big names, and we can learn from them, and, hopefully others can learn from mine and maybe have a laugh at my expense along this learning path. 

The very first recipe I blogged about was a basil chicken pasta on Friday, June 1, 2012.  In hindsight, knowing that the very first dish I learned to cook after recovering from an earth-shattering flu was Rachael Ray's "Cowboy Spaghetti" (Originally titled on her "30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray":  "Spaghetti Western Man Spaghetti"), which started me on this path, you would Think I would have made That dish. No. But it is okay. In fact, I have not made nor blogged that dish at all.  It's coming next month!!!  I need to bring it full-circle.  

I would like to publicly thank myriad people for helping me along this journey.  It has truly become one of my passions in life, along with teaching.  First, two chefs who took me under their wings when I first began blogging and Tweeting on Twitter (I am @grnmn1 on Twitter) are Chef Charlie Ayers (@chefcharlie on Twitter) who gave me extraordinary advice which I STILL have on my phone, even demanded that it be transferred from one damaged phone to the new one a year ago) and Chef Adam Hinojosa (@I_am_chefadam on Twitter). These two amazingly talented Chefs shared their knowledge, skills and time with just a novice home cook;  their generosity and giving spirit is something I will always remember and be adamantly grateful for.  Thank You, Chefs!

In addition, several other Chefs have been instrumental on steering me correctly with quips, advice, sharing Tweets and Facebook posts, messages and chats in person, a couple of them.  HUGE THANKS to the ever supportive Chef Oz of Cueva Bar in San Diego (best Tapas and most friendly guy!), Chef Adrian Cruz of #Cartel Kitchen (which I am a proud and surprised member of), the incredibly talented and driven Chef Chad Kilgore (who I hope to meet next month at an event)! I have picked the minds and experiences of four other indomitable chefs whom I am indebted to for their generosity and mentoring:  Brian Emmett and the hysterically funny and talented Paul McCullough, along with Chef Dustin Morrell and, one whose advice rings in my mind still, Chef Jacob O of Florida. In addition, much gratitude to the ever energetic, supportive and wonderful Chef Vincenzo of Vincenzo's Plate (see him on Twitter at @vincenzosplate and on Youtube). Awesome and genuine presenter, Vincenzo is.  Equally important to me, Chef Kurt Colgan, who personally befriended me and helped teach me many skills, from making pizza from scratch to the BEST homemade pizza sauce Ever, greatly enhancing my knife skills and "frenching" rack of lamb.  Such good times with my bestie, Miss Maria Paz, one of my two greatest supportive friends, who joined us, and Chef Kurt.  

In my original draft, I recoiled in dread because I had left out a tremendously powerful supporter and teacher of mine:  Jason Horn (@thdivewhisperer on Twitter and The Dive Whisperer on YouTube; you Must see his videos!  Incredible!), who continuously presses me to experiment with flavors, challenges me to understand and describe flavors, tastes, textures, aromas and much more. I am driven much because of his unwavering support. He, like my friends mentioned a little later on, is always honest in his critiques and enthusiastically and intelligently supportive. 

There's a major plethora of incredible Chefs who have helped me along the way, and if I name them all, Starbucks, here, where I am typing, will close, open and close again repeatedly before I can name and thank them all.  Regardless, I am truly and ferociously grateful for their unflappable support and patience with me.  One of those is Chef Chris Hill, who has been a patient, supportive collaborative mentor, one whose comments, tips and constant encouragement push  me, challenge me and sparks my creative instinct and passion. A million Thank You's Chef Chris!!! (You can find Chef Chris Hill on Facebook and Instagram at @thechefchrishill).

I want to take a moment to express my undying adoration for and gratitude to my friends Anne, Maria and Erin.  Without Anne, in a former life, you might say, my very early years of practice in the kitchen, which graduated to our "Standing Wednesday Night Dinners" at her house, my place, at her aunt's and our friend, Erin's, house, I would never have gained the courage to start my little blog.  With their encouragement, I began to blog.  Thank You, my dear friends, Aunt Deb and Pete for offering me the chance to practice, learn, fail and learn more at your homes! Maria began cooking with me as my supporter and sous chef, but she has surpassed me and I am eating her dust, and I cannot be more proud of her!  Get your kitchen on, Maria! 

I have a bazillion Twitter and Facebook friends who have been undying pillars of support and I cannot be more grateful to them for their daily support.  I want to name them ALL, but again, it will take forever.  But I want to thank some who are, virtually, anyway, in the kitchen with me every day:  My British bestie, Jack, Mr. Jason, Kim and Morgan of SweetnSavory, Eric P, griller extraordindaire, (look for his and soon my food articles on the very cool www.stuffdudeslike.com!), Tony N, Drake, Nicky D, Mark P, the two grillin' Daves, Nick (aka Gooders) and Martin. There are so many more good folks who support me daily.  I am sorry I cannot list everyone, but you all influence and amaze me on a daily basis.  Much Foodie Love and Gratitude!!!

Finally, I cannot close this commemorative never-ending post without thanking the two people who I have come to love and call my friends, Agents, and greatest supporters, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel (photo of Mr. Daniel is posted with Maria's son, Jesse, when we all worked the Wine and Food Pairing last September, but I only recently posted it!) who gave me my big break in catering last May 30th!  It was so special to me, a day when I get choked up just thinking about it, because it was the first time both of my sons and I worked in the kitchen together. Best moments Ever!  Without Mrs. Daniel and her daughter, my videographer extraordinnaire, Miss R, I would Never have summoned the courage to apply for "Chopped: Educator's Episode".  The jury is still out on that application. Stay tuned!
Amazing how things come full-circle.  I am truly honored to know all of you and I cannot be luckier to have you ALL in my life.
With That, THANK YOU for three incredibly flavorful, memorable and delicious (mostly!) years!!!!  Love to you All!!!

In-House Cook

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