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  • Jess Tonn

One Life, Two Tracks.

Updated: Apr 30, 2018



"Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it." - Julia Child


A few months back I found myself experiencing a quarter life crisis, and like any sensible 26-year-old daughter would do, I phoned my Dad. After many minutes of shooting me straight and tasteful doses of tough love, he asked me to write down three to five things that will make me the happiest version of myself in five or ten years time. Okay, Dad.


Of course I put this off for a few days, thinking that it would be damn near impossible to map out my projected life happiness plan for the next decade; but to my surprise, it was pretty simple. What makes me happy now? What will make me happy? What do I love?


These were the questions that would help me design a life I would get excited to wake up and build every day...

The list was three items long, in this order:

1) Make an Olympic team and reach my full potential as a professional athlete;

2) Make my way into the food industry by way of culinary school/becoming a business owner/working in a kitchen et.c & tbd;

3) Start a family. ** very, very single at the moment so this order seems rational** I digress...


Running has always been my passion ever since the young age of 12 and I am so, so lucky to be doing what I love as my full-time job. But, because it is my day-to-day, I've needed to emotionally detach myself just a bit and because of this, my relationship with my first love and passion is becoming more dynamic and continuing to change. As a result, my times are getting faster, the training blocks longer, and the weekly mileage higher, so I guess I'm doing something right. Also as a result, I've needed to find something to fill the void left behind and something else that I could be equally passionate about...


I'm not quite sure where my appreciation for food and love for cooking started, but I think it happened sometime around my freshman year of college when I was looking for a way to make a few extra bucks here and there.


During my five years at Stanford as a student-athlete, I worked in an industrial kitchen in student eating clubs on the west end of campus - first as a dishwasher, then as a student chef, and eventually worked my way up to a kitchen manager position where I was expected to:

  • Establish and build a relationship with the head chef;

  • Work to ensure that the food environment was clean and all kitchen and health and safety regulations were followed;

  • Plan menus for ten prepared meals per week for residents;

  • Set and meet the food budget in conjunction with the Financial Manager;

  • Maintain all equipment, and health and safety concerns.

I absolutely loved working in the kitchen - I loved menu planning, budgetting, watching the intricacies of the prepping process for each meal, the fast pace of service time, the rhythm that everyone (from the chef, to the student washers, to the managers) would find themselves falling into as lunch and dinner time approached, getting the kitchen dirty, then having to clean it totally to regulation standards. I just loved all of it, and I knew while I was at Stanford that I would eventually find myself working in a kitchen again some day.


So here we are, three years later running 75 - 85 miles a week trying to make the 2020 Olympic team. I don't have much time to spare, let alone time to spare spent on my feet; but, I'm diving head first into something that I know will be a huge part of my five and ten year life happiness plan - eating (hah), learning anything and everything I can about food, and cooking. Not 100% sure what this journey will look like quite yet, but I'm going to be eating what I love and cooking for the people I love, all while sharing the eats in between. Excited that you're here... and Dad, if you're reading, thanks for the advice. Cheers!


Jess








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