Wow. 40. Me! I’d like to say my 40th birthday snuck up on me, but I can’t. You see kids, this last year, my 40th on the planet, has been amazing. So many things have come full circle for me and I have had the time to reflect and realize what an amazing ride my life has been. I’ve come a long way from that young boy walking thru my Nana’s kitchen back in New Zealand. Yet I still feel like that boy. I’m still that young kid at heart.
This year, my 40th, has been a year of emotional and physical growth for me. It’s been a year that has brought me amazing moments like cooking on stage with Master Chef Jacques Pepin, to competing in the Anza Challenge, representing Australia in the "Race of Nations" and meeting NZ Prime Minister John Key. It’s been a year that has brought me great personal growth as well. I have probably never been in better physical shape in my life. My association and representation of Bodykey by Nutrilite has renewed my drive to remake myself and through my association with this great company and product, I have had the privilege of meeting some wonderful people and more importantly, it has allowed me the opportunity to help others remake themselves and better their lives.
I have also reflected on why I became a chef and do what I do. And I'm determined to get back to the roots of cheffing and The Lost Art of The Chef, and why I became a chef in the first place. It’s called hospitality. It’s that love of service and making people happy with my food. I have reconnected with the pride I have in my upbringing of classical French technique where food is executed via a traditional Brigade. The attention to time honored traditions and systems, set by the classic French kitchen, along with the lessons on character and living with purpose I received from my mentor, Damien Pignolet, resonate through all aspects of my life and character, and I feel a renewed passion for my profession.
I have been so blessed to have such a great support system throughout my career as well. From my Nana and Mum back in New Zealand as a kid, to Damian, to those in my life now that I count on, I have been very fortunate to be surrounded by wonderful friends, family and colleagues that offer unconditional love and support; for that I will be forever grateful. As I raise my son Hunter, trying to instill in him the right thoughts, values and lessons he’ll need to grow into a good man, I hear those voices from the past as their words echo through my conversations with him.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve had may share of struggles and lessons along the way as well. But while they could have had a negative impact, and in some cases they did because of my reactions to them, as I have approached this birthday I realized that I am better for them. First, because I powered through those times and I’m still here and still moving forward. Second, as I look at them now, I guess maturity has allowed me to see and understand those lessons more clearly. Those revelations have allowed me to see and deal with those around me differently and I’m watching friendships deepen, opportunities grow and my priorities change for the better. I now know that it really is true that when we change how we see things, the things we see change.
And one last thing before I sign off. Thanks to all of you, my fans, followers and friends who are here reading this. You are the reason I do what I do. It’s you, my dining patrons that I cook the food for. It’s you, my Amway family that I train and push myself for. It’s you, who come and support me at my live shows. It’s you, the young chefs and kids who light up when I talk to you and ask to take a picture and ask questions and allow me to mentor. It’s all of you, who were so kind in reaching out to me to wish me Happy Birthday, send cards, cakes and good wishes like Barbara Murphy. It’s all of you, too whom I offer my heartfelt thanks. Here’s to the next 40!