Inspirational Cooking | When Recipes Just Aren’t Enough

Inspirational Cooking – When  Recipes Just Aren’t Enough

“Inspirational Cooking” is the  motivation and great positive uplifting energy that the act of cooking can bring to our lives. In my career spanning 20 years, this is a concept I’ve talked about many times with fellow colleagues in the culinary profession.

The underlying thoughts behind this concept came out of the necessity to want to try to help, inspire, and rejuvenate life back into those who have seemed to have lost it, due to hardships and rough times that  they may have been encountering – starting with myself and then expanding outward to others.

In my own life, adversity was always overcome by my personal desire to want to cook, more than anything else. This desire is what got my life back on track, time and time again, after many moments of adversity. People would ask me, how did I  do it?  How did I get my  life together and keep it together for so long?

The answer is quite simply, COOKING! I wanted to cook and travel more than sit under dark clouds of adversity for too long. I wanted to get up and moving, get back on target and literally “get cooking” again, as quickly as possible. My sheer passion for cooking- pushed me  upward and onward , in and out of the USA and eventually, to sea on Luxury Cruise Lines.

Sunset Mediterranean

Over time and through many years of cooking, things change, one’s drive and perceptions change, career aspirations change and the importance of our journey, professional and personal, changes as well.

Recipes and learning  secret cooking techniques, after two decades of chasing them, just aren’t enough anymore.

I reached  a point where I wanted to give back more than just recipes. I wanted to give people something useful and intelligent, something much more helpful and needed by people, especially in the rough times many are facing in the world today. I decided to give back the secret that has kept me going for twenty years, after experiencing many adverse moments of my own, without being consumed by them. Inspiration via cooking is what did it for me and it just may do it for you if your open to the techniques.

Inspiration is what is most needed today in the world to get us up and moving again, after moments of adversity strike our lives.  I have reached a point in my life and culinary career where it is time to  place my concept of “Inspirational Cooking” out into the world where it may help countless others.

Inspirational Cooking, by my definition, would be the act of motivating others to get up and moving again and become re-energized about life,  through the excitement of cooking. After going through moments of hardship, one’s mind, body and spirit can be balanced by the mere act of physically cooking and obtain all its healing benefits.


I hope to inspire others not to give up when life seems to place a stranglehold on us and to use the power, freedom and wisdom that can be found in cooking- ultimately connecting us to a higher level of healing and awareness. Eventually, it will bring us back to a healthy, positive realization that our  goals and dreams can still  be reached with constant and positive persistence, culminating with a strong desire to want to move up, out and away from the dark cloud that crept into our life.

The major parts of getting back on track after hitting a wall of depression and adversity that can begin the rebirth in our minds are :

1) Eating the right foods that will ultimately help make the positive chemical changes in our bodies to combat the “moody blues” that have settled into our lives.

2) The second is inspiration!  Without inspiration and a deep desire to get up and moving again, nothing will work.

Inspiration comes from within and it is the seed of change. We need some form of inspiration to “wake us up” from the “dark cloud” we are under.

Over many years of cooking and living my life, I realized that it was the combination of the two that did it for me. Cooking was my inspiration and eating right was always a big factor in my daily life, especially when the rough times came. Inevitably, this combination nourished my mind, body and soul!

After two decades of using this concept on myself and sharing it with only close friends and family. I can now say that it most definitely can work, but one has to be receptive to it and have even just the smallest curiosity about cooking for it to work.”

Cooking for me was mistakenly just what the doctor ordered, so to speak, and can be for countless others as well. I’m not talking about Michelin-star cooking, fancy restaurant cooking, hobby cooking, culinary school cooking or reinventing the wheel on cooking. I am simply talking about the basic act of cooking and mainly feeling good and re-energized from it in a healthy, healing, and nutritious way. PERIOD!

We all know that we can neglect ourselves when hardships hit us and the depression that soon follows. One of the first things to go out the window is eating right and then soon to follow second is loss of all inspiration about many things that used to bring us that happiness, joy and excitement which connected us to who we are and what our life is all about.

Poof!… it all drys up and vanishes. It’s gone! Yes, the motivation and inspiration are all  gone. This is a difficult place to wind up but it is by no means unbeatable.  As a matter of fact, through the struggle of getting back on track, your life can be brought back, stronger and better than before!

Spring Daisy

 Spring returns as beautiful and as colorful as ever before after winter each year.

Here is the key to the  concept: You have to find one thing, just one, that makes you want to get out from the spell you are under. That one thing, you have to realize, will be totally unobtainable if you don’t make drastic and positive changes in your life. The thought of not being able to have that which you so greatly desire should inspire you to want to change and reconnect with life again wholeheartedly in order to obtain those goals and dreams that are fleeting away!

Drug addiction, divorce, unemployment, financial setbacks, death of loved ones, incarceration, business failures, debt, gambling problems, sex addiction, mental and physical abuse, broken trusts, prejudices, broken hearts, etc. – the list of adversity we all know can go on and on and are too numerous to mention , but you can get my logic here. Any one of these trials and tribulations is strong enough to raise havoc in anybody’s  life. Strangely enough, as if one of these issues was not enough to try and overcome, they usually come in pairs and groups!

Unfortunately, we usually face more than one of these setbacks at the same time. This is when and where our lives become unmanageable and we need help and will try anything to stop the insanity! It is now time to shift our focus from feeling sorry for ourselves to making monumental LIFE changes and bring a rebirth to a life that has been hijacked by adversity.

Here is the clincher.  Cooking can help here big time!

The most therapeutic  aspect about cooking is that it takes focus. One can’t really think of anything else while one is standing in front of a stove cooking something. We all know what happens when we  lose focus while cooking, we burn whatever it is we were trying to cook. So, focus is crucial.

In a highly competitive professional setting, losing focus can cost you your job! Regardless of what is happening in your personal life causing you to lose focus or have the lack of it, you have to stay focused.

So, as a culinary professional, a constant mental push to stay focused on the task at hand, allows the other dominating thoughts of the hardship you are facing to be pushed away for a time. This, my friends, is the beginning of changing your thought patterns, from the all-consuming ones of your inner battle, to new ones. The new thought in this case is cooking, cooking right, taking it serious, focusing and wanting to create an excellent end result regardless of the battlefield going off between your ears!

Eventually, the sheer excitement of the cooking will take over, thus thrusting you slowly but surely forward, up and out of your personal sand-trap and on your way to new beginnings. Therapeutic cooking works!

It may not work for all but when you’re stuck in your life, anything is worth a try. This idea, if all else fails, just may get you interested in cooking, in a positive way and there is nothing wrong with that!

While engaged in the act of , sautéing, roasting, poaching, reducing, frying, etc., even if it is just for five minutes, your mind is off the thoughts that have consumed your life and landed you in search and recovery mode. Five minutes, of thinking of something else other than poor me, can be the seed of thought that leads you to your new life and ultimately connecting back to all LIFE.

Cooking is something we all eventually attempt to do for ourselves at one point or another like it or not. Cooking knows no class distinction or prejudices and the food we use to cook with is ultimately the same gift from God to all.  The healing that can come from cooking even the simplest of things can be monumentally inspiring, especially when it is done correctly and the end result is something tasty and nourishing. This will excite the mind and stimulate a form of inspiration.

I’m not trying to sell anybody a box of Lucky Charms here. I am trying to sell Silver Linings to be placed around the dark clouds that enter our lives by using my idea of inspirational cooking to create them.

If you’re on a specific diet or under a doctor’s care then by all means, cook within the parameters  of what is prescribed for you. The overall  point I’m driving at here is cook to liven up your life again. Even if it is just as simple as a sauté of onions and a chicken breast, or a simple salad.

The smells, sounds, heat, the washing of the ingredients, concentration and visual connection to it will slowly get you to a place where you will feel good about cooking.  Cooking by yourself and for yourself, starting to take care and nourish yourself again is the first big step in pushing forward from adversity. This is once again, the seed for bigger and better inspirations to re-enter your life again!

Life, at times, has a way of sending us in the complete opposite direction of where we want to go. We want to head north but for some crazy reason, we are being  blown southward! Sharp and drastic turns take place, leading us further away from what we want to achieve. Life is the boss; it dictates over our wants and desires.

This is where the battle begins and we fight against the winds of change sending our lives south, away from our vision of what our life is supposed to be. Now, we are  caught in the cycle of adversity and depression that soon follows unwanted change. We fight to go in the direction we want, which is North not South.

This is a losing battle; you can’t beat “Mother Nature” and eventually you surrender!  At this point, we feel defeated and can become consumed by those feelings, then depression sets in, leaving us with another battle to overcome.

OR: We can finally want our life back, hoist up our sail, fill our ship with a cargo full of faith and persistence, catch the southern winds that Life keeps sending our way and set sail with the wind in our sail rather then fight against it.

Yes, it is one hell of a journey to sail south to go north, but with faith and persistence, inevitably, after sailing south long enough you will begin to go north again. This is one heck of a journey, but it is the way some people must travel to eventually get to where they want to go. In the end, once you finally get back to where you originally wanted to go  you will arrive wiser, stronger, more appreciative and  more focused than ever before. This is the silver lining around the clouds of adversity. The inspirational cooking I talk about  is just a way to reconnect with ourselves and tune in to life wholeheartedly in a positive, nourishing way, while these winds of change are  taking  place in our lives.

Inspiration and Cooking are similar in the sense that they are both nourishing for our mind, body and soul.

Inspiration and the art of cooking know no prejudices and are there to enhance and uplift lives. Think about it, without food, there would be no life on our planet. Along with many other scientific defining factors, food plays greatly in the equation as to what makes Earth so different and habitable in comparison to all other planets in our known galaxy, the Milky Way. |

From the Creator to Nature to us, food is an ultimate gift and possesses tremendous healing powers. I have found as a chef  that the act of cooking can possess  healing powers as well as the act of eating it.

If you  have struggled long and hard enough in your life, you will  eventually know and realize, as you look back at the  difficult times, that it was a form of inspiration in the shape of some person, place or thing that finally catapulted you up and out of a sand-trap in your life and back into life again.

So, if you can derive this same source of positive change from cooking, giving  you a method of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps when you have no bootstraps to pull up on, then I have accomplished what I set out to do by sharing this concept.

Chef Franco

As a chef, I stand on the platform of cooking to be a way and an avenue to connect to a higher power that can deliver positive change into our lives if approached in a therapeutic and inspirational way. Food is a definite gift from Nature to us, so that we can exist and enjoy God’s Green Earth.

The cooking of it can release this positive and healing energy and enliven and rejuvenate us just as much as the act of eating it.  This is awe-inspiring and there is a tremendous amount of wisdom and freedom that can be derived from cooking with this kind of conscious awareness.

Inspirational Cooking can be a way to good health and happiness for those that lost hope or need a kick in the caboose to get up and running again,and place life back in motion, full swing and on a much more positive note. Once up and running again , one can return back to their dreams and aspirations, now armed with the knowledge and power they learned from cooking, during their moments of adversity. This concept can be used time and time again even after one gets unstuck and rocks on to higher grounds with their life.

I go deeper into this in the book I wrote, but for this post we will end by quite simply saying: No matter what you are facing and how difficult you feel life has become, as long as you can walk, talk, stand or wheel a wheel chair, this inspirational cooking concept can work for you!

It can get you up and running again with a new focus and a healthier outlook on life, along with a stomach full of butterflies. This newfound inspiration and excitement can be totally rejuvenating and can place you back into the game of life as wondrous and exciting as ever before!

Your winter finally passed and your SPRING has Sprung!

Inspirational Cooking is something that I’ve brought up in the last several Easter and spring posts. To view the previous posts that will give you a better understanding to the concept, kindly go to  the three links at the bottom of this page.

For help with addictions:

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous( NA), Al-Anon (friends and family members who’s lives are affected by those in addiction)

These help groups are full of people with a loss of focus, drive and inspiration, and who are fighting hard to regain it. These people would benefit from some form of inspiration.

For links on the above help agencies see:

Al-Anon | Alcoholics Anonymous | Narcotics Anonymous

For some more helpful sites in alcohol and drug abuse, depression, marriage and family counseling, please click the following links below. >

1) Marriage and family counseling services

2) Depression help line

3) Alcohol and Drug abuse help line




 Previous posts on this topic:

 Greek Easter Lamb

 Pizza Rustica

 Pane de Pasqua

Savor Life One Bite At A Time!