Amy’s Food RevolutionThu 25 Aug 2011
Story by Amy Kehs
From Inexperienced Cook to Teaching Cooking Classes At Whole Foods
Before my adventure started in March 2010, I would have described myself as a reluctant, inexperienced cook. I’m not sure how this happened. I come from a family of great cooks who all asked me to help them in the kitchen. But, I was always too busy and the years went by very quickly. The next thing I knew, many of them were gone and I was standing in my own kitchen with a family to feed and no clue of what to do. I tried everything to get motivated, new cookbooks, kitchen gadgets and tips from friends, but nothing worked.
Amy and Jamie
Then, my husband and I watched the movie Julie & Julia, based on the book of the same name by Julie Powell. The idea of this movie - cooking all of the recipes in a cookbook in 365 days and blogging about the adventure - stuck with me for weeks. It seemed like a great way to get my kitchen life on track. I work well with goals and the peer pressure of a blog was just what I needed. So, that’s what I decided to do. The next question was whose cookbook to tackle? As I tried to decide, I kept coming back to Jamie Oliver and his enthusiasm for food and ability to talk to cooks and non-cooks of all levels.
While chasing my toddler at the bookstore one day, I snatched a few Jamie Oliver books off the shelf. As I skimmed through them, the back cover of Food Revolution caught my eye. It said, “This book is inspired by all the people I’ve met who thought they could never and would never learn how to cook.” It sounded just like me! I picked it on the spot and that is how my Food Revolution started. On March 5, 2010 I began my adventure and set out to make all 173 recipes.
My journey through the recipes was amazing. I ran into many of the challenges that a lot of moms run into getting dinner on the table every night. There were toddlers underfoot, recipes that took longer to cook than I thought they would and busy nights when I needed something quick (a great dinner to do on one of those nights is “breakfast for dinner” omelets). My all-time favorite creations were Jamie’s sweet potato and chorizo soup, pot-roast meatloaf and salmon tikka with cucumber yogurt. I went from really struggling with making one recipe a few times a week to my final exam meal of 5 recipes for a big dinner. When I began my food revolution, I remember thinking that making soup sounded way too daunting. By the end of the year though, I loved making the soup recipes and I could even anticipate what the recipe would entail. I know now that if I can learn to cook, anyone can and it was really 90% mental.
My blog was meant to be read by my family and friends to keep me accountable. But soon, others began to follow my blog that were unexpected. I received emails daily about how I inspired others to cook. I now have 87 followers and the blog has been viewed more than 7,500 times in 10 countries. In one of my blog entries I mentioned Jamie’s challenge to “pass it on,” where you host a cooking party to teach a new recipe. I had so many responses that I was wondering how I would fit everyone in my kitchen. I started calling places looking for a kitchen to rent. One call was to my local Whole Foods Culinary Center. As I told the manager what I was looking for she said, “Would you be interested in teaching a class?” My response was, “You understood the part that I can’t cook, right?” She loved the idea of my adventure and thought many of her customers could completely relate and in no time I was teaching cooking classes at Whole Foods!
Thank you, Jamie
How can someone go from taco kits and take-out to teaching cooking classes at Whole Foods? I owe a huge “thank you” to Jamie Oliver. He taught me to cook and now, he feels like a part of our family. We watch him on TV and we continue to talk about him around the dinner table as if he lives next door. When my three-year old plays in his toy kitchen he says, “I’m making a recipe.” My daughter comes home from school triumphantly after she’s “stuck up for avocado” and asks me if I think Jamie would be proud. After 365 days, 173 of his recipes and 127 blog entries (so far), I can’t wait to see what comes next in my Food Revolution journey.
About the author: Amy Kehs is a wife, mom of two and small business owner in Maryland. Amy’s Food Revolution started as a personal goal and has grown in to an online community effort inspiring many of her blog’s followers to cook for the first time.
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