Can you think of someone you admire from a distance and would love to get a chance to meet and be mentored by them, if even for a few moments? You know, like Oprah, Michelle Obama, Iyanla Vanzant. Or someone who’s considered a “star” in your specific profession. The person I’m thinking of is Cheryl Forberg, and I got the chance to meet her, learn from her, eat her cooking, all in her fabulous kitchen in the Napa Valley.
What a lovely day it was indeed, one I’ll never forget. I had the opportunity to visit the Napa Valley for a 3 day culinary workshop given by the Food and Culinary Professionals of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. You may have seen my constant Facebook posts and tweets of all the delishiousness that took place from the time we arrived and were greeted by the freshest ahi tuna, to the time we sipped the last taste of Riesling. Fortunately it was all geared towards the healthy palate of a bunch of dietitians, or else we could all have easily put on 5 pounds. We learned, we cooked, we tasted, we sipped, we dined out, we shopped, and we networked. But for me, the highlight of the trip was time spent in the home of one of my short list of people I’d like to wear the shoes of for a day. With 15 cookbooks, a fabulous home on 9 acres, a dream career of chef and dietitian for a major network show, I might even want to wear this chef’s clogs for more than a day.
Such a gracious host, Cheryl patiently shook hands with each guest as we arrived receiving line style. Of course I had to get a hug. Call me a fan if you want to, I don’t care. I was so excited, she was lucky I didn’t pick her up. LOL! Perhaps a hug was enough to make some of that 15-cookbook-writing-spirit rub off on me.
So I know my people. Some of you may be wondering “why is she all hugged up with this white woman?” First of all, that’s not nice. But second, if you know of an African American female chef AND dietitian with 15 cookbooks and a show, and a ridiculous kitchen with 3 ovens and a home on 9 acres, please hook me up with her so I can be all hugged up with her too. Just like music and all the arts, something about food just blurs color lines, doesn’t it? Thank God for that.
Anyway, I knew nothing about Cheryl personally before the visit. But I left feeling that she has a truly genuine spirt, just warm and sincere. I mean who else invites 20 strangers into their home? Cheryl clearly wanted us to be comfortable, making sure that we left with some knowledge, AND a signed copy of her latest cookbook.
Honey lemme tell you, when I say this chick’s kitchen is the bomb, I mean
the kitchen is
the bomb… dot com.
And her food was delicious too.
I was among the privileged 20 dietitians who got a chance to attend the debuting of Cheryl’s new 500 square foot kitchen AND take an exclusive cooking demo and social media session led by her. Click on the video at the end of this post to hear about how I almost missed out on this awesome opportunity.
Yes, Cheryl was a real sweetheart. I sure hope she’ll think of me should she ever need someone to collaborate with on a healthy soul food cookbook (or just to come out, sip wine and sit on those red barstools with her while we gaze into the sunset). In the meantime, I’ll enjoy my parting gift, a signed copy of her newly released book, Cooking with Quinoa for Dummies. This experience wasn’t on my bucket list, but I think ‘ll go ahead and add it… and then check it off.
The Biggest Loser airs tonight on NBC. I’ll be watching as usual. Will you?