Culinary Dream 101: Trust Swimming over Treading Water

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Culinary Dream 101: Trust Swimming over Treading Water

This is a very important blog post for me for a few reasons:

A. I want to give you good culinary dream advice.  Advice based on my own life, my profession, my mistakes and my triumphs,
B. I am at another crossroads in my life and part of it is scary, and
C. I think that trusting your inner voice is one of the most important things in this world.

As my 8 Women Dream sisters and I have said, “There’s rarely a straight path to any dream.  We detour. We do what is necessary to achieve the dreams that are embedded in our souls.”

Culinary Dreams: Maria Vieages AARP card - 50-years-old baby!I am 50-years-old.  I swear to God, I never thought I would be sitting here saying that I am this old.

Not that 50 is bad,  it’s just been a wake-up call for me to get moving on my dreams.

Throughout my life, I’ve enjoyed times that are so awesome that they should be made into Grammy award-winning songs.

I’ve had hard times too.

Most of all, I watched everything I had and my culinary dream taken from me in a second.  I moved 2000+ miles away with my cats Yin and Yang, some belongings and my will to live.  I yearned to live a better life.

I have accomplished that dream (and I am grateful), but almost 7 years after moving to my new home in Northern California I am once again looking at making major, life-changing decisions.

When the culinary business is good–oh baby, it’s good! But when business is bad– it’s terrifying (insert fear of losing everything all over again here). Owning a business and being self-employed is a big deal. It’s daring. It’s exhausting.  It’s exhilarating. It’s hard.

It’s living on the edge and that can get old.

This month, I have been talking with a company that is strongly considering me to be the leader for the culinary part of a thriving business. The salary is very good.  They offer full benefits and it’s a family-owned company that believes in taking care of their employees.

The main job interview was relaxed and honest. I spoke a lot about my business in New Orleans, Louisiana.  I could hear some longing in my voice for those days and my old home. I was reminded of all that I’ve accomplished, what I have yet to do, what I want, and most importantly –what I need.

Trust Swimming over Treading Water - the ride homeMy ride home from the interview was a bit different from my ride there.

I went from listening to Mowtown music, singing and jamming in the driver’s seat on the way there to turning off all music in my car on my way home and paying silent attention to my surroundings.

I thought about many things.

For one thing, if I was chosen for this position, I would need to move closer to San Francisco, California.  It’s an exciting idea, but it also feels scary because of all the moving I’ve done since Hurricane Katrina took away everything I had.

Part of me still can’t get my brain to shake the feeling of what it’s like to leave what feels safe and comfortable.

Thank you Hurricane Katrina for that.

Culinary Dreams: Remember New Orleans

I thought about the beauty of owning a business and the independence it brings.  You can take risks and there’s plenty of excitement. You have complete freedom.

It’s not scary until you are scrambling to pay the bills.

But all of your life is yours. All yours.

I thought about the beauty of working for others and enjoying a steady paycheck.  I thought about the positives like getting ideas and inspiration from other like-minded people, making a difference for the owners, low-to-no cost health insurance, and retirement assistance.

The sense of fulfillment and the ability to live without fear.

But your life is part theirs.

I’ve learned a long time ago that when faced with these kinds of decisions no one can tell you what is best for you.  You can feel a million different emotions while on your dream journey, but you (and only you) know what’s best for you.

You have to trust your innermost voice. It’s that feeling that’s more than just your voice and it is rarely ever wrong.

Know that the choices you make from the heart will be right for you — even if they don’t turn out to be what you envisioned. Take steps and trust your gut instincts. Most of all, be confident in your abilities. Think about all you have accomplished while living on this earth.

Remember that treading water in life is never fun, but neither is swimming if there is no place to go.

You have to be open to new horizons and opportunities, regardless of how they make you feel, or how far away you have to swim.  If they scare you, then you are probably on the right track.

This week I leave you with a very simple recipe because some things don’t need to be complicated to be awesome. And sometimes when you are faced with life-changing decisions, keeping food simple can be a form of self-care.

Grilled Corn with Basil Butter

Culinary Dreams: Grilled Corn with Basil Butter• 8-10 ears of fresh yellow or white corn, shucked
• 1/2 bunch of basil – leaves only
• 6 oz. softened unsalted butter
• salt
• white pepper

Par-boil corn until it’s tender.  Set aside. Heat grill to high.  Brush with oil and sear corn until it is slightly charred. In a food processor, chop basil till it’s fine.

Add butter and let the food processor blend the butter and basil.  While food processor is running, add salt and white pepper to taste. Spread butter liberally on corn.

To your culinary dreams,


  • Loved this – so powerful, “Remember that treading water in life is never fun, but neither is swimming if there is no place to go.” You should make a coffee mug with that saying.

    • realmaria