My Cooking Identity Crisis

Interesting title, huh? Well, bear with me. Most of you know me as Peruvian Chick from Instagram or Facebook, the Peruvian Gal that loves to cook, post recipes, loves traveling and cherishes time with friends, family and dogs. What many of you don’t know is that as much as I love cooking, I love business. I first earned an engineering degree before I went on to earn a master’s degree in international business management. I currently run a successful business consulting and branding agency which I co-founded over 12 years ago and guess what? I LOVE cooking just as much!

When my parents discovered this new passion of mine was taking such a pivotal role in my life, the occasional “Oh my, all that money invested in education and all you want to do is cook?” would find its way into conversations. But then they tasted my food, started sharing my recipes and then told their friends that I was famous on “The Facebook.”

If we’re honest, the world at large still tends to be judgmental about women who don’t cook. But society can also be judgmental about women who do cook. Have you ever heard someone commenting on a Facebook or Instagram post: “Who has time for that?” or “I wish I had time to cook, I work.”

These types of comments took me to the unconscious (and unreal) conclusion that these two passions were mutually exclusive. For the past few years I have been living a double-life being a self-proclaimed Business Consultant by day and Peruvian Chef by night. Depending on the crowd, I would either wear my chef’s hat or my consultant hat. At times, I was embarrassed to admit I loved to cook out of fear it would make me look weak in the business world. Other times I was embarrassed to admit that I am an excellent business strategist out of fear people would not find me relatable anymore. Let’s face it, that was not only silly, it was arrogant of me.

I’ve come to believe that business, as an investigative science, as a practical discipline and as a creative art, shares many characteristics with the culinary world. Cooking is my love language and keeps me connected to my roots. It gives me satisfaction to know where my food comes from and is my form of meditation. On the other hand, business fulfills my insatiable need for research and learning. I love doing a deep dive into a business, begin the problem-solving process and then create the strategies that lead to growth. Both cooking and business feed my creative soul. Getting seasonal fresh produce excites me as much as presenting a new marketing strategy for a client. Have you ever tried to make a meal for 12 stretch into a meal for 30? You do the math. It’s about getting the right ingredients, at the right temperature, at the right time. It’s an analogy with many parts, and it has consequences.

Ultimately, cooking or not-cooking is a choice for both men and women. There’s no right or wrong and I am not here to judge. If for any reason, (out of fear that others will think you are bragging you have hesitated to post a homemade meal you made from scratch after a hard day of work, or a full day of home-schooling and watching the kids; believe me, you are not. You are just living your truth and that is your business!


With love and gratitude,


Sara Balcazar-Greene

(a.k.a. Peruvian Chick)

peruvianchick.com

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P.S. As I write this article my thoughts and prayers go to those affected by Hurricane Harvey.