Toni’s Corner


Jan 25, 2017

I was barely out of primary school when I discovered that food was significant to me. I was the six-year old kid who literally cried when forced to order from the kids menu.

“Macaroni and Cheese? Chicken Nuggets? No thanks, I’ll have the Filet with Mushrooms and Horseradish Cream. Please!”

I never could sympathize with my peers’ demands of no seasonings and frills in their food. Salad with just lettuce, tomato, and ranch: I did not understand that entire concept. Where were the olives, blue cheese, and freshly cracked pepper?!

I knew I was different when everyone used the cloyingly sweet barbecue sauce during lunchtime and I shuffled the bottles around, anxiously in search of sweet and sour sauce and honey mustard dressing. I remember we had a student in my school who ate traditional Bento box lunches way before they were trendy. While the rest of the students expressed their very vocal disdain at the contents, I remained intrigued. My parents noticed my interest early on and began channeling my love of food and my creativity into my very first Easy Bake Oven. I begged for the most expensive packets of cake and cookie mixes every trip to the grocery store. As my pintsize skills developed, I began fiddling with more ingredients and adding things to the mixes that perplexed my little oven so much, the light bulb inside gave up from exhaustion.

I really started cooking for my family in middle school with an almost full takeover of meal preparation in high school. I remember obsessing about Sriracha before it was a ‘thing’. (Still haven’t quite converted my parents into loving it) Eventually, I knew I wanted to do something with food in my career. I went to college, however, intent on becoming a dentist or a teacher. I was indecisive. Once I went through the normal What is Life? phase after graduation, I found myself cooking more and more looking for ways to connect creatively to food. Thankfully, my job at the time allowed me to prepare dishes for board meetings whenever the mood hit. I even had the fun opportunity to cater a wedding. Time progressed and I discovered that I wanted to cook for others full-time.

I found a really great job and decided it was time to pursue food. Moving to Oklahoma City exposed me to just how little I knew about flavor. Foodies have a way of coming across arrogant, and I was no different. I quickly learned Food Network had failed me. I have not even chipped the iceberg in culinary experiences. I had no idea that there were so many variations of spice blends within particular countries. I knew no other form of pickles besides cucumber.

I am now obsessed with finding that perfect meal that takes me to another level. I pore over books and visit restaurants exploring flavors, itching for my palate to experience something breathtaking. I’m always looking for something new. It is both a burden and a joy. My wallet hates me.

Join me on this journey of restaurants, recipes, and ramblings as I study and scrutinize every aspect of food and the culinary world. I’m no expert on anything but I’m a student to everything.