PFB #1 – Just Who Is The Black Girl in Chef’s Whites?

Before you find out who the black girl is, first you should find out what PFB is.  Project Food Blog is a competition with over 1500 food bloggers vying to become “The Next Food Blog Star!” (the crowd roars, the applause swells) For the next 10 weeks the entries will be judged, and the contestants whittled down until one blogger will win $10,000 and lots of free publicity by being featured for an entire year on Foodbuzz.  Yeah, that wouldn’t suck.

The first challenge is to define who I am as a food blogger.  My culinary journey has been one of twists and turns, and incredible rewards.  Chef’s whites, also known as a white chefs coat, is the uniform worn in a professional kitchen.  I was always THE black girl in chef’s whites in a kitchen full of white and Hispanic guys, with the occasional Asian or black guy thrown in.  When I graduated from culinary school and moved to New York to work, I found a challenging, rewarding and sometimes estrogen deprived world in professional kitchens.  My coworkers would take cigarette breaks, and I would take testosterone breaks.  Don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of fun while learning so much about the world of cooking in a professional kitchen.

From that world I went in the complete opposite situation, becoming the Assistant Test Kitchen Director of Woman’s World Magazine.  A kitchen full of women, all day, every day!  But I was still THE black girl, though this was a more causal environment, and only had to wear an apron.  (Black Girl in an Apron is just not a catchy blog title, no?) Woman’s World is a weekly magazine with a lot of recipes, and a great place to learn how to develop, write and edit a good recipe.

I moved home to California to be near family, especially my mother who was dealing with major health issues.  I took a job teaching at a Le Cordon Bleu cooking school, where I found I enjoyed sharing my knowledge and experience with my students.  I then worked for a food photography stock photo agency.  I was surrounded by food all day, but only images of it. As a photo editor, I saw beautiful photos from some of the best food photographers in the world.   Although I am still learning how to take a beautiful food photograph, I at least know what one should look like.  And the next photo is NOT what one should look like!

Fresh tomatoes and oregano

My photography is getting better, but I am still learning.

Warm Caprese Salad

My collective experiences in the culinary world formed who I would become as a blogger.  I originally came to blogging both out of necessity and out of my love of teaching others to cook.  After I gave birth to my daughter I decided to cash in some investments, and stay home with her for awhile.  I left my job as a photo editor and became Mama. Since I waited until I was practically menopausal to have her, I didn’t want to miss a thing!  When she was about a year old, I was ready to get back into the work force, and started my personal chef  business.  Right about that time the economy went downhill FAST and hiring a personal chef was a luxury that was easily cut out of the monthly budget. Uh Oh. . .

While waiting to hear back regarding all those resumes I was sending out (cricket, cricket) I decided to use my extensive archive of recipes, and began working as the National Recipe Examiner for  I had forgotten my deep passion for writing, but it slowly began to return.  I started my own recipe blog, showcasing my original recipes along with a few of my observations of life as a single mother and caregiver to an elderly parent.  Because of my situation, time is a luxury.  But I still like to eat well, even though I cannot spend hours in the kitchen making gourmet meals anymore.  And I also want my daughter to learn to eat well, and not be afraid to try new foods.  Now that she is three that is becoming harder.  She looks at a dish, turns her cute little nose up and says “hmmph!” What am I supposed to do with that?!

I am a caterer, personal chef, recipe developer, recipe editor, chef instructor, food stylist, photo editor, mother, sister and daughter.   All these experiences melded together to become Black Girl Chef’s Whites.  I cook, I eat, I write about it, it’s a living.  And I LOVE it!

So now my blog features Recipes for the Real World, which means family friendly, not too difficult and flavorful foods.  I work hard to introduce new culinary ingredients that may not be familiar to all.  I strive to make my recipes easy to follow.  I like to push the envelope a little and put together tastes and textures that you might not have thought of.  I want my readers to want to use my recipe as a base, and to make my recipes THEIRS.  I publish what my family is having for dinner, so all the photography is real, no food styling allowed.  I want to teach people how to make good food to share with their friends and family.  Or just for themselves.

That last paragraph sums up why I think I have what it takes to be The Next Food Blog Star. Isn’t that what a food blog is about, teaching and sharing recipes with people, so they can then go on and teach and share also?

Please check out my profile on Project Food Blog.  Do you think I have what it takes to be The Next Food Network Star?  There will be a Reader’s Choice vote, so if you like what you see please vote for me.

32 thoughts on “PFB #1 – Just Who Is The Black Girl in Chef’s Whites?”

  1. I just found your blog searching for Meyer lemon recipes. I haven’t read it yet. I just wanted to say — please forgive me– you are strikingly beautiful, (if that is you in the pic) and you would be fun to paint. That’s all for now!

  2. Finally… I’ve found a blog worth reading. I read the whole post and found our lives following a similar path. I didn’t have a chance to make it over to you to meet you, I was on the other side of the room. You have a fabulous writing style and an actual “brand” behind what you are doing, I love it. I wish you the best of success and I hope to be in contact.
    Chef Louise

  3. How funny, I wrote about my struggles with photography too. I have a hard time picking a pretty picture over diving right into the meal with friends and family. Maybe we’ve got our priorities straight? 🙂

  4. Hey, really liked your post! The warm caprese salad made me hungry, and it’s only 9:30AM where I’m at! Awesome!

  5. I decided that your job(s) is/are my dream job(s). Sign me up, please! Tell me about the *cricket cricket.* If I had your resume though…oh boy.

    Thank you for commenting on my post, Cheryl. I’ve been trying to read through as many PFB posts as possible and I’m glad I found yours. You DEFINITELY have my vote 🙂

  6. I am not a participant but I love that competition has introduced to me blogs like yours that I would never have found on my own. Besides anyone who lists scotchbonnet pepper hot sauce as on e of their favourite ingredients gets my vote:-)

  7. What a great story. You’re such a great, sweet hearted woman. It’s a pleasure knowing you and voting for you!!!!!!So glad I got to read your story of what brought you here to these blogging pages.xoxox,Brooke

  8. Lovely to meet you–you’ve been a very busy lady! Best of luck in PFB. Love your gopher snake. Our cat Ruthie wouldn’t think twice about bringing it inside to share with the family. Awesome. 🙂

  9. Hi! I clicked over from the contestant roulette because you said you had maccaroni and cheese at every family event. I can relate and I have still not found a recipe that compares with my Granny’s.

    I really enjoyed your post! Good luck in the competition – you get my vote!

  10. Congrats! I cannot wait to follow along this project. So many wonderful food bloggers are joining you on this journey, will be fun to read!! I love your portrait – very soft and welcoming!!! Good luck!!

  11. Cheryl, that is wonderful. Your experience mixed with your heart – perfect. I’m still trying to figure out how to write mine, if I actually do. Wishing you MUCH success. You deserve it!

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