Regret, Reflection, Decisions, and Anticipation… Happy New Year

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language

And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
~T.S. Eliot

Goodbye 2010, you were one of the best year’s of my life – no regrets, I sincerely mean that … no regrets.  Regret is powerless and defeating, it serves no positive purpose in your life, and can stop you dead in your tracks.  Reflection on the other hand is powerful, and can lead you on a path of self discovery that can redirect and transform your life. The more questions you ask of yourself, the more you take the time to reflect and learn from your success and failures-  the stronger you become.  In my business there is no room for regret, either you learn from your mistakes or just get out of the kitchen.   Imagine if you ordered your favorite dessert at a restaurant, and the best part is the sweet sticky caramel sauce.  The waitress comes out and says, “I regret to inform you, that the chef burnt the sauce and you cannot have what you ordered”.  That would never happen- you see in the kitchen you must “make it happen”! You either learn how to fix it,  start over, make it out of something else, or create something new, and even better than what they originally ordered… as is life.  Yes,  I just compared overcoming life’s challenges  to making a caramel sauce, welcome to the world according to Chef Louise.

If I had to choose one word to describe last year’s language it would be “decisions“.  I made serious decisions, professionally and personally – some big, some small, some physical, and others spiritual.  I’m one of those people who journals… “dear diary” if you will; I keep at least three to four years of my life in a three ring binder (God help me if I ever lose this, better yet, God help the poor soul who is traumatized from reading the mad diaries of a psychotic chef).  Sometimes I write prayers to God, complaints or sorrows. Mostly, I write letters to myself from myself, and sometimes letters to others that need to be written, but never sent.  More than anything, it’s a place for me to confront my thinking, take a step outside Louise, and empty my mind.  Keeping a journal helps me to identify where I am, where I’ve been, how far I’ve come, and to determine where I’m going.   Nothing speaks the truth louder than your own voice; it’s humbling to see a reflection of yourself that you must accept – good or bad.  

In 2010 I decided to start making decisions to change the direction of my career.  I didn’t know where I wanted to go, (still not sure but I’m getting there) so  I continued to say “yes” to almost everything. With each yes, I made a conscious decision to act, reflect, and then from that experience make yet another decision
Yes to working at the Orange County Fair
Yes to reality television
Yes to infomercials
Yes to food styling
Yes to learning food photography
Yes to food journalism
Yes to recipe development 
Yes to every networking opportunity available
Yes to blogging
The most valuable decision that I made this year had to be creating and writing my blog.  From that yes,  opportunity has continued to knock, and willingly I’ve opened the door and said, “please come in”.   As for 2011?  I believe the word of the year shall be “anticipation”.  I will continue to make decisions, act, reflect and live in eager “anticipation” for the next door that will open for me in the coming year, as a woman and as a chef.  The single most important thing I learned in 2010 is:
The more I cook, the more I want to cook – it never gets old. 
Cooking isn’t my job, my career choice, or what “I do”,  it’s a part of who “I am”.  I thrive in a world where I live, create, and experience life through food.  Here are my personal favorite posts from 2010.  ~Happy New Year!


Pulled Chicken Sliders with Blackberry Chipotle Sauce and Cilantro Lime Slaw


Brined Grilled Chops with Caper and Parsley Salsa Verde

Cabernet Penne in Sage Brown Butter with Roasted Butternut


Pumpkin Ale Profiteroles with Cinnamon Caramel Sauce


Wild Rice and Cranberry Salad with Candied Walnuts and Tarragon


13 comments… add one
  • The Enchanted Cook December 31, 2010, 12:21 am

    Oh my goodness what a wonderful post. I'm glad you started your blog, too, or else I would not have connected with you! Beautiful and inspiring sentiments. And the food..well the food is phenomenal. I mean pulled chicken with chipotle and blackberry AND cilantro and lime?? WOW! And everything else looks fantastic, too. Here's to wishing you a fantastic and blessed 2011–

  • Feast on the Cheap December 31, 2010, 1:44 am

    I wish I'd never seen that picture of Pumpkin Profiteroles, now they're all I want.

    A very poignant post – and I am all for saying YES to opportunities, big or small. There are way too many NOs in this world – a No closes doors, Yes always opens one.

  • Lynne @ CookandBeMerry December 31, 2010, 3:57 am

    Louise, your photographs are just beautiful, and the recipes amazing. I'm glad you started your blog, too, and am looking forward to seeing what you cook up in 2011. Happy New Year!

  • Kim @ Quit Eating Out {Recipes to Make Dining Out a Choice, Not a Chore} December 31, 2010, 12:46 pm

    I just love your posts! This is so awesome. Your words, your recipes and your photographs are such a delight. Wishing you a wonderful New Year!

  • Chef Debbi December 31, 2010, 5:47 pm

    Meeting you (and becoming friends) has been one of the most important changes in my life this year. I'm so grateful and happy that we've connected, it's like meeting a long lost friend-I've known you before and I look forward to all our adventures together. Happy New Year Louise!

  • Indie.Tea December 31, 2010, 8:10 pm

    This is the first time I've visited your blog, and you posted the most luscious sampling of recipes. I'm practically drooling over the chicken sliders and Pumpkin Ale Profiteroles with Cinnamon Caramel Sauce. Wow.

  • Lentil Breakdown December 31, 2010, 10:40 pm

    It's inspiring to see someone so self-realized. Your photos are drop-dead gorgeous and your food is incredibly creative. Have a wonderful New Year!

  • Kim January 1, 2011, 7:28 pm

    I'm so happy you've found your passion, and thrilled to see all you've accomplished this year. That's a long list! Cheers to a beautiful 2011 – hope I get to see much more of you! Let's meet for coffee. 🙂


  • Lana January 3, 2011, 10:38 am

    I am so happy I found you! I enjoy your writing and recipes, and the photos are just gorgeous.
    2010 was not the best one for me, and I am glad to see it gone, even though there were some wonderful moments.
    But like you, I think that "anticipation" will be the word of 2011.
    Happy 2011 and see you soon!

  • vegetarianirvana January 4, 2011, 2:22 pm

    Louise you know how they say you'll always remember your first time, yours was my first comment and one of encouragement. Naturally I have been following your blog and it is a virtual eye candy and very innovative. Wish you all the best in your year of anticipation.
    Happy 2011.

  • Renee Fontes January 5, 2011, 3:49 pm

    I can't believe I didn't see you post this, where am I?…I think it is a very strong person who can move forward with two feet in the future and not even a heel in the realm of regret! Thanks for your inspiration, your help and your friendship, this year and onward!

  • High Plains Drifters January 6, 2011, 6:48 pm

    Howl the eternal yes! Thank you for sharing this.

    Kierkegaard: "The self is only that which it's in the process of becoming."

    Joyce: "Welcome, Oh Life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience, and to forge in the smythe of my soul the uncreated conscious of my race."


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