I’ve been living in Florida for the last four years. I arrived as a Culture Exchange Student from the Philippines and took one year of Culinary Training in Palm Beach, Florida.

My love for the kitchen started in my childhood when I would go to the Local Public Market with my mom. Being exposed to fresh meats, fish, and vegetables then seeing my mother combine all those ingredients and create a great meal inspired me.

My first kitchen job was in an environment I felt I belonged. The training and hours were long, but it was exciting for me to work on what I’m passionate about. One of the things I love about cooking is presenting my culture through food.

As I learn how life works, it gets easier to fall and get back up. We all make mistakes. We all have bad moments, but I keep in mind that no matter what happens, it will all pass. We live, and we learn. Tomorrow is a new day to do better.

There is one thing I would like to change in this profession: the wrong perception of a kitchen where there’s always a screaming and frustrated Chef. I’ve been in both kitchens, and I realized most people are discouraged from being in this industry for that reason when it’s not always the case. A kitchen can be fun and productive, depending on who leads it.

People who work in this industry are some of the humblest people you will meet. Not only do you get pride from creating great food, but you also maintain a humble spirit because you have to clean up after yourself. The little things build a great person, and for me, being in this profession creates a full version of yourself.

Stay humble. Skills can be taught, but a good personality and behavior cannot. The only way to survive in this industry is your humility and empathy for the people and environment you work in. A positive attitude and optimistic personality will get you far if combined with hard work and perseverance.