The actress and cookbook author Ayesha Curry fell in love with food at age 12. “Most kids were watching cartoons, I was watching Food Network,” she laughs.
She credits some of the biggest names in the culinary world for her teaching her how to cook (through her TV screen, of course): Emeril, Rachael Ray, Giada De Laurentiis, Julia Childs, to name a few. But she never realized that she could turn her own passion into a career.
As she became more interested in cooking, Ayesha decided to start a blog about what she had learned in the kitchen, attend a culinary program, and eventually launch a YouTube channel. Soon she was writing her first cookbook, which she described as "a grueling and tedious process."
Around the same time, Ayesha began making appearances on TV, and her own Food Network show, “Ayesha’s Home Cooking,” was green-lit. But in spite of all her accomplishments, the cooking world was a tricky one to navigate.
While taping a national TV segment, Ayesha remembers, “Everything was fine, and then all of the sudden, I noticed...I’m not really cooking,” she says. “They are kind of taking all the tasks away from me. And one of the food stylists on set asked me if I was comfortable with a knife. I was like, am I comfortable with a knife? This is what I do for a living!”
Despite her confident exterior, her imposter syndrome was roiling underneath the surface. “Chipping away at people’s perception of me, that I wasn’t worthy of being in this culinary industry and that I didn’t have the chops, was a difficult task, and definitely a hurdle.”
She ended up taking a knife skills class, “just to be able to show it off. How do you want it? Do you want matchsticks, how do you want? Do you want it thin-sliced?” And now she recognizes that success will never feel perfect: “You have to have that inner confidence in yourself and in your passion."
Catch “Family Food Fight” on ABC this summer.
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