Kayla: 22, Aquarius, Filipina-Canadian, meme connoisseuse, big sister, family gal, allergic to cats and dogs (but I love them both 😦 ), obsessed with food (seriously, it’s borderline unhealthy), reader, writer, karaoke lover, partner in crime: Liam.

Growing up, I was an extremely picky eater (I would only eat wiggly fries, never crispy ones, only the yolk, no white, only eat the egg roll wrapper, not the filling, childish nonsense like that), I had a rotation of certain things I would eat. This went on until I was about 7 years old and my mom decided she was sick of my bullshit and pretty much forced me to try everything that she would eat. This lead to a lot of tears, long ass meals at the dinner table and empty threats to be send to boot camp. Eventually my tear ducts went dry (lol), and I ate salmon nigiri for the first time. I was about 10 years old. Next, I was eating filipino kare-kare with shrimp paste, then I stopped being scared of trying new foods.

Throughout high school, I was a bit of a rebel. I was really into singing and playing guitar but never really committed to it. I was always really smart, but never gave that extra mile to be the smartest. I was a bit lost and didn’t really know who I was, what I wanted to do or what my passions were. I was pretty much chasing the dreams that my family had laid out for me.

When I was 16 years old, I got grounded for 3 months. Don’t ask what I did, but my dad took away my phone and my laptop. For that 3 months all I had was television, all I watched was the Food Network. These 3 months planted a seed which grew and flourished into my now bubbling passion for food.

Now at 22, I’ve had multiple restaurant jobs, both front and back of house, and while I still don’t know 100% what I want to do with my future, I know that whatever it is, it’ll have something to do with food. For me, eating is not just something to do, but food is something to feel, to enjoy and savour. I want to spread this joy and passion wherever I go. I love the hospitality industry because I am hospitable. I want to see peoples’ faces light up when their teeth slide through a tender piece of meat, when their stubborn child tries something new and loves it, when different flavours dance on their tongue. I want people to feel how I feel about food.

Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.

– Anthony Bourdain, Appetites: A Cookbook (2016)

I feel that if you’re reading this and you don’t know me at all, then you may perceive my family members as “villains”. This is absolutely not the case! My family has always supported me and has always wanted what was intrinsically best for me, it’s just that at the time, I just didn’t see it that way (ahhhh, the youth). If it weren’t for them, pushing me beyond my boundaries, teaching me to love and appreciate all food, encouraging me to really go hard or go home when it comes to All-You-Can-Eats, I wouldn’t be who I am today! Maybe I’d be a doctor, though…

Even though I’ve taken many detours in my life, I’ve recently decided to stop being in denial about what I really want, which is a career where I can still work with my passion, enthusiasm and joy: food!

In general, I don’t trust people who don’t like food.

– Eric Ripert, Mind of a Chef  (2017)