When I had a different career, cooking was my way of relaxing. I would enjoy buying the ingredients, planning the menu, cooking, arranging the table and finally entertaining my friends. Cooking was my therapy.
Fast forward many years…now that cooking is my career and I teach, I realize how many people are seriously kitchen-phobic. The generation that focused on their career has an easier time doing public speaking than dicing garlic.
So to ease my newly minted students, I tell them that cooking is also about overcoming your fears and phobias. I tell them that if they are intelligent enough to run companies, manage people, invent products, and change the world – they are intelligent enough to cook and feed themselves. Believe it or not, they go for it. At first clumsily and taking baby steps, but they all actually do it and they become slowly confident in their newly acquired skills.
As to the parents, I am often very blunt with them and sometimes to my detriment, but I call that tough love. I tell them that no matter how many classes of piano, ballet, tennis and art they sign up their kids for, the mathematical probabilities of their offspring becoming Mozart, Navratilova, Picasso or Pavlova is zero – while the probability of them having to feed themselves at some point is 100 percent. The sooner they learn to acquire this skill, the better off they are.
Once you have the right approach to your body, the rest will surely follow and trust me, I see enough kids to be able to assure you of that.
So no matter your age: cook, eat and love. Be fearless, take the knife, dice, chop, stir, sip, layer the food with various spices, taste it, calibrate and recalibrate it. What do you think is the worst that can happen? You will have to throw it and start again and order a take out for this time. But there is a next time and you have learned something. Something new and exciting while shedding a fear.
And for those of you who are still hesitant come to cooking school in San Diego and let me teach you a tricks or two and cooking will never be the same.
Bibi Kasrai earned her MBA from Harvard Business School and was a high level fundraising executive. She left her career to follow her passion of cooking and teaching and founded