Losing my mother was pivotal moment in my life: there is distinct “before” and “after”.   I was in a dark place for many months after she passed, mumbling like a mad woman as I walked the dogs around the neighborhood with tears streaming down my face. My mother had been a restaurant owner in TX, and was an amazing home cook, so when I enrolled in the Arizona Culinary Institute, I felt I was where I belonged. I cut my teeth working at Franco’s Italian Caffe, catering at local events and teaching cooking classes with a friend from culinary school.


But let me back up a bit…I am a Texas girl. Like many who move here for school, I hadn’t planned on staying. Arizona was to be a stopover on the way to working for a multinational corporation in South America. I had moved to Glendale to get an international MBA, but was shortly distracted by a cute AZ boy who convinced me to linger a while. Downtown Phoenix took the place of some bustling South American capital, and I worked as a CPA while my husband started a greenhouse tomato operation in Northern Mexico. After some years, swearing off the cubicle life for good, I handed in my calculator for an apron and toque. The recession hit, and I was faced yet again with the prospect of having to reinvent myself. But fate works in mysterious ways, and I found myself back in Texas; however, now I was caring for my mother who had been diagnosed with terminal leukemia.

Shortly after the one-year anniversary of her death, my husband took me on a weekend getaway to Sedona. After hiking, yoga and an incredible dinner at Elote, I woke up in the middle of the night, furiously writing a letter to my mother about the things I had done that day, and texAZtaste was born. It is a compilation of my travels and my trevails, my joys and my disappointments. Food plays an important part in who I am: it connects me to my childhood and to the memories of my mother. Writing about the joy that surrounds a memorable meal and the people behind the creation of these experiences has helped me work through the sadness and grief. As a result, I am on a daily discovery of the world around me, of what makes Phoenix and the great state of Arizona so great. It inspires me…what inspires you?