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Thursday, September 11, 2014

InspHERational Woman: Rachel Reynolds

Rachel Reynolds
Chef De Partie & Aspiring Restaurant Owner

I had a great time with the talented and gregarious Rachel Reynolds when she came to visit from New England a few weeks ago.  She and her boyfriend, Connor, passed through Tennessee while taking a road trip to taste their way through some of the southern states.  Their mission?  To build more culinary inspiration for a future restaurant.  Catfish for breakfast, bologna made from rabbit meat, and pickled hard boiled eggs made red from beet juice were a few of the many southern delicacies they enjoyed on their trip.  I was so excited they stayed with us for a couple of days so I could learn more about Rachel's story and find out what inspired her to become a chef.  Oh, and did I mention her food tastes amazing??  The photos below just don't do it justice.

Have you always wanted to work in the food industry? 


No, not at all.  I was never a fearful eater, but I did not really grow up cooking.  My mom really loved to cook and she'd always let me pick which recipes I wanted to try out of magazines.  We'd go shopping together and get the ingredients.  I watched but never helped, but I was always very appreciative of the results.  I made cookies and cakes, but I never made dinners.  

When I was little I wanted to be a veterinarian because I love animals.  I also really loved math and science in high school.  Everyone told me I would be a good physician assistant or nurse because I'm a people person, so that was what I focused on.  But the more that I did that, the more I realized that it just wasn't for me.  It took some time, but I finally found my way. 

How did you find your way?

Well, I was going to school and I was studying to become a nurse.  At the time, I was working in a bakery and I loved my job in the bakery.  I loved going to work every day; I looked forward to it.  I realized that I loved it so much and one day I asked myself "how can I do this every day?"  And I realized I needed to go to school so I could go to work.  So that's what I did, and I applied for culinary school the next day.  

Learn from every experience. 

It's fun to learn new things, and the more you work for other people, the more you learn.  Everywhere you work you pick up bits and pieces.  No one job has ever been perfect, but I find different things that I like in every job.  I also incorporate what I've learned in previous jobs to my new jobs. 

Don't be afraid to make mistakes. 

You can't be afraid of making mistakes, you learn from mistakes.  Every time you screw something up and learn from it,  you'll never make that mistake again.  You have to let bad days happen and just end.  And then you move forward.    

In the kitchen, there are always new obstacles.   

There can be a lot of obstacles depending on the day.  Some days it's the challenge of working service.  Every busy night presents its own challenges.  Anytime you make it through a service it's an accomplishment.   

When I worked in the bakery, every day the dough was different.  Depending to the humidity or the temperature you always had to adjust the dough, and feel it, touch it and taste it to make sure that everything was the same so that you could get the same perfect loaf for the customer every day.  And I loved that small challenge.  As crazy as it may sound, it really is a challenge to make a beautiful loaf every day.  You can't follow the same recipe every day.  It's never the same.  If you use the same recipe every day, you get a different loaf of bread every day.  It's all very touch and feel.  

Do what you love.

You have to love what you do and do what you love.  People are always trying to work for the top chefs to have names that look good on their resumes.  A chef that I work for now once told me: "You should never build a resume for anyone else but yourself."  My goal is to build my own restaurant, who am I building a resume for except for myself?  That goes for anyone trying to build their own business.  Build a resume for you.  Learn things that you want to learn because you're the person you need to please in the end.  Do what you want, and do what interests you.

It's about trying to find how you can have your 'best day ever' every day.  It can be an impossible goal, but it can happen if you find joy in the small things.   

For those considering new ventures, here's some advice from Rachel: 

The best thing you can do is sit down by yourself, because no one else can give you the right answer but you.  You have to ask yourself:  "Why am I on the path that I am now?"  "What has influenced me to this point?"  "Which path am I interested in?"  "Where am I going to be the happiest?"  "What really interests me?" 

The path you're on may seem like the easiest way--you're already on that path headed toward a final goal.  But even if a path seems like the easier way, sometimes you have to pick the harder way because that's what's going to make you happier.  You can never discount your own happiness or interests.  You never want to undercut yourself.  Live your life the way you want to live it--even if it's hard.  If you're not happy right now, the only thing that you can do is change it, and the only person who can change it is you.  Never be afraid.  

Rachel, thank you so much for your time and inspiring words of wisdom!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Days 22-28 #100DaysofRevivingFitness

This week had some ups and it had some downs.  Learning from the downs but focusing on the ups....

DAY 22 started off with another early wakeup. It was a little harder to get myself out of bed this morning, but I did it! I got my sweat on with the Sweat #PiYo workout. I'm really noticing changes in my body internally and externally. I'm still being mindful of what I put in it and making up recipes as I go along . Scott even said "I'm starting to get on board with eating more vegetables. If it tastes this good and it's filling. Yeah, I could do this." Pretty cool! I hope you all have a fabulous day! 
DAY 23 was the Core #PiYo workout. It's always good to work the core. For lunch I had leftovers from dinner last night. A chopped kale salad (chopped with my brand new salad chopper  ) and spaghetti squash topped with an avocado cream sauce--yum! Get the recipe HERE.  I also made some strawberry, lemon, and basil infused water. It's deliciously refreshing. Now I have to figure out how to get my toddler to eat more greens. He won't let anything green touch his lips, and when we find a way to get it in his mouth, it doesn't stay for long. We'll continue to sneak the green stuff in other ways, but if anyone has advice on how to get him to enjoy tasting green healthy foods, I would LOVE it!

DAY 24. I knew today was going to be full so I got up early (yes, on a Saturday) to get my #PiYo Buns workout in. Later in the morning, I logged a few miles walking a trail with a friend--it was great to catch up! This afternoon, I took a nap and then I exercised my green thumb muscle...it's weak, I mean really weak hahaha. Our yard need lots of work! Gotta get that muscle on shape . Looking forward to cooling it by the river for a festival this evening.

DAY 25; a quarter of the way there! I was able to enjoy my rest day by sleeping in (which may still be early for some folks), going to church, and watching football with some friends. I made a buffalo cauliflower bites (recipe HERE) that I think turned out really well. Back to my#PiYo workouts tomorrow.

DAY 26. My doctor told me the medicine I'm on was going to give me some insomnia--he wasn't kidding (I can't wait until I'm OFF of this stuff!) I had a hard time sleeping last night and when I finally did sleep, I didn't want to get up. At. All. Consequently, I missed getting my workout in early. I was SO tempted to just say "forget it, I'm tired, I don't feel like doing it" But I reminded myself of WHY I'm doing it and I got it in during Trey's nap this afternoon. It was my first time doing the #PiYO Drench workout and I STRUGGLED through it. It was really discouraging. But, I'm looking forward to my next encounter with it when I'll dominate it. I'm being consistent with my #shakeologyconsumption and finished a bag this morning--thank goodness for home direct orders. I'm also out of my bedtime tea (which I haven't had for a week or so now). Gotta pick some up later. Here's to #GettingHealthy & a good night of sleep tonight !

 DAY 27. Agh, another rough night of sleep...between the insomnia from the medicine and the fatigue from having low iron levels, I felt a bit worn down today. I didn't wake up early, and when Trey napped, I napped. So, I gave myself a day off from #PiYo. I'll pick it back up tomorrow and will catch up over the next few days. In other news, I've been trying/creating new recipes. Scott was craving something sweet, so I whipped together some vegan chocolate #Shakeology oatmeal & peanut butter cookies. Tonight, I threw together some items I had on hand and made a Chinese-inspired noodle dish...but I used spaghetti squash for the noodles. It turned out to be really tasty! I finally have some bedtime tea! Praying for deep sleep tonight. (Recipes will be posted soon!)

DAY 28 of ‪#‎100DaysofRevivingFitness‬. I slept much better last night (praise God!) and woke up early to get my ‪#‎PiYo‬ strength intervals in this morning. It's sometimes easy for me to get distracted by things that happened yesterday or the day before, but I have to remember to just keep pushing forward. Yesterday's bad choices should have no affect on the healthy choices I make today or tomorrow

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