Krista Simmons

Krista Simmons recounts her own experience with teaching children.

on Sep 19, 2012

You may find this hard to believe, but working as food editor isn't all about eating and boozing and shmoozing with chefs. The pressure of multiple daily deadlines sometimes has me feeling like I'm chasing scoops on a hamster wheel. Then there's the constant game of whack-a-mole with weight gain and the race to beat rush hour before 6 a.m. news segments. A career in the industry is rewarding, but boy, can it be exhausting. There's no doubt in my mind that at this point in the competition, the Masters were feeling that same sense of fatigue. But this week's elimination delivered just what they needed: a challenge to help them recalibrate and give them a sense of purpose.

Editor's Note: Stay tuned for more of Krista's photos at the end of this blog!

This summer I was presented with a similar opportunity, where I was tasked with running a culinary arts program for at-risk youth impacted by HIV/AIDs through a nonprofit called Hollywood HEART. The profound impact it had on my career was completely unexpected, and every time I get a case of “WTF KBBQ?”, I think about my experience instructing these young aspiring culinary professionals. Our students, many of whom come from low-income households, had never tried an heirloom tomato, let alone been to farmers market to select their own. Others had come from foster homes where their parents had told them they'd never amount to anything, but they shared that they'd found self worth through cooking. One even cried tears of joy because she finally could cook something besides burnt ramen noodles for her sous chef father.