Hi my name is Emely! I am a nurse who went to cooking school and never stopped cooking. My philosophy on health is to cook adventurously. Do not be afraid to try new foods, spices, or techniques.

How Covid saved me…

My story is one of many beginnings in search of my truth. I’ve been a full-time Public Health Nurse for 12 years and have always dabbled in anything food related. A nurse by day and food expeditioner by night. I have always been the one trying new recipes, cooking techniques, healthy food fades, busy family food tips, along with growing my collection of cook books and kitchen tools. I remember doing Pampered Chef for a minute, but the sales thing really was not my thing. What I did enjoy was playing with the kitchen gadgets, talking about recipes and I really loved just getting together with friends to cook. I took a Beginners Farmers and Ranchers class through a collaborative effort by Santa Rosa Junior College and the University of California Cooperative Extension. The focus of the class was to grow a small agricultural food business. This felt more closer to home, since I was already growing my vegetables and processing my own meats. I was really proud of our grass-fed Black Angus Beef. My market was going to be “The MOOving Market,” a mobile farmer’s market. County regulations put a damper on that dream.

At this time, I was working in a home visiting program with new moms and kept seeing over and over that many of these young mom’s did not know how to cook. I would leave our visits just pondering, if they cannot cook for themselves, how are they going to feed their children? Since, I was working in Public Health and knew the statistics for dietary afflicted chronic diseases in our community, this really concerned me. This made me choose to study nutrition, so that I could teach my clients, not only simple cooking skills, but also about healthy eating. I took some nutrition cooking classes at the Maryland University of Integrative Health. Here I learned about our relationship with food and how powerful it is to understand ingredients to be able to cook intentionally. I quickly realized that more than anything, I undeniably just love to cook.

After a few years of touring local cooking schools and dreaming of attending, I finally signed up for the part-time program at the San Francisco Cooking School. Although stressful, driving an hour to the city after work 3 days a week for an entire year, the experience will forever remain in a special place in my heart. As soon as the classes ended, it was almost as if I was going through withdrawals… I fined for more. My mood was subdued. I knew that I needed to figure out a way to continue working towards making food my career. It’s just a matter of finding what will be the best fit.

I absolutely fell in love with the restaurant, Spinster Sisters, where Chef Liza Hinman welcomed me during my externship, aka STAGE. She provided me opportunities to experience working in prep, working the line, some event catering, and for a finale, she allowed me to create a menu item dish.

It has now been some time since this bucket list experience. During this time I was promoted to Supervising Public Health Nurse and led my team during times of the Kincade Fires and then the Pandemic of COVID. The experience of this leadership position in Public Health during COVID allowed me to know that I can work harder and handle more than I ever could imagine. After six months into COVID, working 80 plus hour weeks with no real days off, distant learning classes for my youngest were scheduled to begin.

I say COVID saved me, because the circumstances forced me to take time off so that I could homeschool my child. During this time off, I have been healing and spending time with my family. I no longer have chest pains, or knots in my back. I walk my dogs, ride my horse, do some yard work, READ and COOK! The kitchen has been my therapy and now this blog, too!

Poached Pear Budin
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Sweet Potato Chancay
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