Never in my wildest dreams did I think 15 years ago, after graduating from culinary school, that I would be working in a church kitchen. I hadn't attended a church service in over 8 years and was used to the crazy, insane hours of restaurant night-life and the partying that came with it. Fifteen years ago, church, in any form, was the furthest thing from my mind. So, it's just a bit ironic now that I'm working as a chef in one and that I know it's God's plan for me.
I met my boss, J (that's what we'll call her, just in case she doesn't want me using her name, but I think everyone knows who she is), 5 years ago when I decided to volunteer in our church kitchen. Our second child was 4 months old and I wanted a way to meet new people and get back into a kitchen. Little did I know that volunteering on Tuesday's to help prepare our church's Wednesday night dinners, would change my life forever.
My first Tuesday, I stirred 40 gallons of spaghetti sauce all day. Yes, all day long. The next Tuesday, I made 800 pounds of meatloaf by hand (yes, by hand) with a sweet, chronologically-challenged lady. That same day, J had me dicing pounds of onion. She looked at me kinda strangely, wondering how I had managed to chop all those onions in such little time (not that I'm bragging on my speedy chopping skills, but grandma next to me might have taken years). That's when I told her I was a culinary degreed chef. My life was changed permanently.
J is not just a boss to me now. She's become a friend, a mentor in Christ & cooking, and a confidant. She is a blessing in every way. She's an unbelievable mother, sister, daughter, wife, friend, employee, leader, and servant in Christ.
I thank God every day and every night for leading me to the kitchen at church and for placing J there to receive me. I was on a faith journey before entering the church's kitchen, but now I'm on a faith expedition that strives for a servant-heart (except when I have to make another 80 gallons of pimento cheese for the umpteenth time) that I first witnessed in J. So, thank you J for everything you do, not just for what you've done for me personally, and not just for being my boss, but for HOW you lead and for HOW you are a friend. Oh, and Happy Birthday too!
Gorgonzola Stuffed Figs Wrapped with Proscuitto with Balsamic Reduction (balsamic reduction is J's favorite thing...enough to bathe in it).