My Food & Life Philosophy
"Create Something Beautiful"
This phrase means everything to me. It is my philosophy not only in my cooking and the dishes I develop for clients, but my philosophy in life. I believe that many of our most cherished memories are created around the dining table, eating delicious, beautifully presented food and spending time with those we love.
Most of the dishes that you will find here are relatively simple to prepare; some are more difficult, but most are designed to be easily accessible to everyone. With each recipe I’ve included some helpful tidbits to help you in your cooking process, secrets that I've learned along the way that are taught in restaurant kitchens, but rarely cross the bridge into the home cook’s kitchen.
Why I Believe What I Believe
A bit on my backstory for you to understand not only me, but why this phrase, “Create Something Beautiful,” means so much to me. I grew up in a small town north of Seattle in Washington state in a wonderful home, surrounded by a very close-knit family. Many of my earliest memories revolve around family and food: helping my Mom in the kitchen (mainly just eating cookie batter), fishing the Puget Sound and Columbia River with my Dad catching everything from sturgeon to salmon and lingcod, and cooking meals for my family with my Sister (a wonderful cook). It is many of these memories, along with my observations of the beauty of life around me, that so heavily influences my cooking today.
When I was 19, I began slipping into what would become, by far, the darkest, most painful period of my life. Initially, I had no idea that anything was wrong; I just knew that the confident, smiling boy I used to be was slowly changing into someone else. It reached the point where I would scream at myself in the mirror, literally punch myself in the face because I so completely hated who I was, and eventually, led me to coming very close to attempting suicide, twice. It wasn’t until a former girlfriend of mine confronted me about my behavior that I was able to acknowledge that something was wrong. After being diagnosed with clinical depression, I became extremely introspective and began analyzing everything about myself, specifically, my inner thoughts and how those thoughts affected my emotions. I began to learn and identify specific thought patterns and behaviors (and believe me, there was a lot of them - from self-hatred inner talk to binge eating and forcing myself to throw up) that would trigger specific emotions within me that would ultimately lead to slipping into a state of depression. Once learning my triggers and the associated patterns, I began to teach myself through trial and error specific actions I could take to avoid the trigger or overcome it. And through hundreds (literally hundreds) of times of trying and failing, eventually I began to take ahold of my life.
After attending and graduating at the top of my class from the renowned San Diego Culinary Institute, I worked under a brilliant James Beard Award-nominated chef at one of the top restaurants in the country, excelling and quickly moving up the ranks. It was here that I really gained an appreciation for the importance of allowing the seasons to influence the ingredients that I use in order to capture them at the height of their flavor. At 29 years old, I founded CB Cuisine in Los Angeles providing custom-tailored in-home dining experiences and prepared meals with one goal in mind: to inspire, bring to life and create unforgettable experiences around the table for my clients. I work exclusively with seasonal ingredients and source meat only from purveyors that I trust and know treat their animals humanely, out of respect for the animals' welfare.
I've very quickly realized though that CB Cuisine is not just a business offering food services; this idea of creating something beautiful is about so much more than CB Cuisine. It's about the way we should all live our lives. It is for this reason that I founded the Create Something Beautiful Project, which is committed to building a global community of people helping people, inspiring each other to, "Create Something Beautiful." It is my hope that through my cooking, through connecting with people over food, that I will be able to help others overcome whatever struggles they've endured to become the person they want to be and create the life they want to have. Because we all have greatness within us. We all have a purpose in life and it is our obligation to identify that purpose and pursue it with reckless abandon.
I want to thank you for reading and invite you to not only follow my journey, but to join and share your journey as you create something beautiful of your own.