Many people want to cook like their mothers but unfortunately mine was and is a bad cook. I love her to bits but yikes!! I had to learn to cook very early out of necessity. :) She is my inspiration for nearly everything else but food.
I received my first cookbook at the age of 7 from my favourite aunt who was a good cook. I was so absorbed by that book! She would be my first true inspiration. She would mail me recipes and I began cooking fairly elaborately at a very young age. I made huge batches of perogies, pickles, preserves, lefse and doughnuts when I was 12. I wrote my own recipes and tried to perfect them. My first recipe was for tomato dumplings when I was 8.
In junior high my Home Economics teacher inspired me in sort of a weird way. I often disagreed with what she said about measuring, techniques. flavour combinations and such aloud so she reprimanded me by sending me out in the hallway. She would then come talk to me alone and we would discuss cooking in private. I think she liked that I was so adamant and passionate about food and even challenged her at times. She really pushed and challenged me to perfect skills. We had such excellent talks and I was assigned special projects. While other kids were doing the dishes I was busy experimenting. We actually grew very close and I still think of those times fondly! I believe she is one of the reasons I went to cooking school.
My inspiration now comes from many things but mostly the ingredients themselves.
Who was your first inspiration?