If you know me personally, or if you do a little Spoon-style stalking, you’ll know that I literally can’t get enough of desserts. I have a knack for weird things like salt and vinegar cookies and avocado toast cupcakes, which may seem a little random at first, but I’ve come to realize that my love for sweets (and food in general) all boils down to one source – my dad. The weird thing is, he never really made a lot of desserts, but he still remains to be one of the biggest inspirations that’s kept me in the kitchen.
Quite frankly, I was spoiled as a kid, in the best possible way that any kid could be spoiled – with food. My dad would always make a Filipino dish for dinner, often asking me or my sister what we wanted to eat so he could make it that night. Sometimes he would ask me to help him, and I’d love to, doing little things from tenderizing meat to stirring a pot while he gathered other ingredients.
Point is, he always kept me involved with what he did, and even though I wasn’t old enough to understand what each ingredient was (or rather, how to pronounce each ingredient), I had an idea of what he was doing holistically.
He tended to veer only into main dishes and entrées, however, which got tiring for me to watch after a while as it all appeared the same to me. I would watch him cut vegetables, cook meat, and toss ’em all together and serve, but for some reason, I still felt empty from just that alone. It got repetitive and boring quickly, and little did I know, that I was really just craving something sweet for a change.
I began to watch tons and tons of Food Network around the age of 10 (Ace of Cakes was my shit), and somehow I had the balls to say that I could be just as good as those bakers. I started small, doing cutesy semi-homemade stuff like gift box and panda-shaped cakes. From this point, my dad would still keep me in the kitchen while he cooked, but I was too busy doing my own thing to mind him. I became entranced by pastries, cakes, and everything the sweet life had to offer.
Years passed, and I began to move on from Sandra Lee-type food to actually tackling things by myself. I went through many dessert phases, including a French macaron one that lasted almost four years. Through a series of trial, error and experimentation, I’ve grown to love being in the kitchen so much that it has actually turned into my ultimate career goal.
I really have to thank my father for two things – one, for forcing me into the kitchen and two, for boring me with entrées, which made me discover another realm of cooking. You’d think that with all the time he spent making main courses, I would’ve picked up a similar interest, but that isn’t the case. He initially meant to teach me how to cook so I would be able to merely thrive and support myself, but instead, it’s turned into something that I really can’t get enough of. And for that, I thank him.