For as long as I can remember ever since I was a little girl – with my ginger hair, and freckles (yes, Amanda was a ginger!) all I have ever wanted to be was a chef.
Food just had this wonderful way of bringing everyone together. Without it, we don’t survive but with it, we thrive, and to be able to create something spectacular that could just make everything right in the world, for one split second, from absolutely nothing and create full bellies and happy faces was just euphoric for me.
I even used to create little menu’s for my family on what we were going to have for dinner – of course, back then, I couldn’t actually cook but the thought of it and being able to play host, just filled my little-freckled face with glee. So, it was only natural that I would take the path of culinary school. I donned my pristine chef whites on the first day and I fell in love. Like madly, deeply, you are never getting over this kinda love – love.
My blog was actually created as a way of hoarding all my delicious recipes and foodie-adventures from my time in Eze, France through to my experience in boutique hotels and beyond. But as we fast forward to this day more and more people are asking me, why, as a chef, do I not blog about food anymore? And the answer is simple… I’m scared. Scared of being average. Scared of not being good enough, or feeling like I failed, but ultimately scared of missing a life I can no longer lead. Ultimately, my fear in a word – Manqué.
Manqué is a word taken from the French, meaning crippled hand/left-handed (ironically the cause of my ailments in stopping my catering career!) which has transcended throughout the years to be what it is today – someone, preferably someone in a creative field, who is unable to fulfil or become what one should have been – “a creature of suppressed passions, a manqué”. I truly believed I was put on this earth to be a feeder. Food runs its course through my blood, makes my world go round and without it, I was a nobody.
Blogging about food used to bring me excitement. It was a way of showcasing my hard work and life-long passion, a reason to get creative and test my knowledge and boundaries and to share them with others who had the same interests and love but over the years as illness and 3 hand operations occurred, my catering career took a back seat before turning into a final halt and blogging about food caused pain and misery for a life I longed to have, but were no longer able too.
They say when you are suffering from loss or misery to rip the band-aid and to stop yourself from reliving the memories to stop the pain, and I guess for me, blogging about food was just a way to remember what I used to be and how I could never be that girl again – and for a long time I adapted that mantra. I never stopped loving food – that’s like asking the grass to stop growing, but I just took a more human approach to it. But as the pain has faded and the scars (both mentally and physical) have healed, it’s time to re-light that passion, restore my love and finally conquer my fear.
I’m my happiest when I am in the kitchen; creating; experimenting and concocting. It’s taken me a long time to realise that my depression had sprung from not allowing myself to do what my passion lies in. From blocking myself from my heart desires for fear of not being the best or being final, I created a dark deep void that nothing but said passion could fill. Without passion – we are truly dead and I feel like accepting this and giving in to what my body, mind and soul desires I have been reborn again.
I may never get to be that Michelin starred chef a blue-eyed girl once dreamed, but it’s no longer going to stop me from living my dreams, one way or another, and most importantly one mouthful at a time, and nor should you. Confront your manque and we can face them together (and expect to see some more culinary delights making their way back onto my blog, where they belong!!)