Part 2: The Cookbook
This is the latest installment in a continuing series that documents my personal quest to become the host of my own cooking show. Since this is a relatively new “career” there are no vocational programs or community college courses to prepare me for it. From what I have seen, the two most import elements in securing such a position are passion for food and plain old dumb luck. Born with a passion for food, I set out to make my own luck.
They say that admitting you have a problem is half the solution. If only that same math could be attached to achieving a goal. The exact date is not known to me but sometime during the year of our Lord, two thousand three I had an epiphany that not only did I want to be a chef, but I wanted to do it in front of a camera.
The problem was I was not working in the food industry. For the past three and a half years I had been working at a 1-800 call center for a rental car company. In fact, I had not cooked professionally since the spring of 1998. In December of ‘98 I moved from Nashville back to my hometown of Mobile, AL. I thought with my experience I would surely be able to get a job in a restaurant. After all I had worked in a dynamic city and had excelled in what was a booming restaurant scene.
The problem was that Mobile’s restaurant scene was fading. My experience was useless as no one was hiring. I tried starting my own Internet business, I worked at a cultural exhibit, played a few music gigs, but still the restaurant jobs eluded me. When the call-center opened a few miles from my home it seemed I was doomed to life in a cubical.
Without a commercial kitchen to vent my culinary artistic whims I did my best in the tiny apartment kitchen at my disposal. This was a challenge as the oven was so small that standard cookie sheets would not even fit in it. Never the less I cooked, honing recipes, learning techniques, doing anything I could to improve my skills.
Through this period I had created several recipes that are best described as Mexican/Creole Fusion. Those recipes included my Creole White Chili that my company had twice prepared in the Mobile Chili Cook-off. The dish was well received. I began compiling these recipes in the hopes of writing a cookbook.
Through my days as a wannabe Internet entrepreneur I had become familiar with a company called 4 Star T-shirts & More! who did print-on-demand T-shirts, hats and other cloth materials. They were adding a new print section to their store. On July 23, 2004 my first cookbook, Amigeauxs – Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine went on sale via their web site. It wasn’t professional cooking but it was better than nothing. Most importantly I had taken my first step towards building credibility.