My entire culinary career has been built around risk taking. I knew I needed to learn more about food and cooking after being diagnosed with food allergies-the reason I started this journey in the first place-but never really knew where I would take culinary, or where culinary would take me. At first, it was just something I needed to do in order to feed myself. Quickly though, it became much more than that.

Eventually, I figured out that I wanted to be a recipe developer and food writer, while dabbling in food photography. I also wanted to teach others what I was learning. And so I did.

Without second guessing anything, and without fear, I took the necessary steps to build that career for myself. I've found myself nervous at times (to the point where I was physically shaking), like when I got lost in Boston on the first day of my internship after the T service stopped working and dumped us all onto a city bus; or the first time I did a cooking demonstration in front of a crowd; but that fear has never stopped me from moving forward. Always waiting for me on the other side of nervous has been a great feeling of accomplishment; that feeling has been motivation to work through my nerves.

Without the risk taking, I never would have had my articles published in national publications, appeared on television and radio, or had the opportunity to teach. I never would have learned as much about food as quickly as I have or been in a position to support organizations I believe in, like the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network or Slow Food. I never would have been able to make as much of a difference as I have.

I know I have a lot more to learn and explore, and to be nervous about; I’m looking forward to those butterflies. As 2010 comes to a close, I hope that 2011 will be a year full of risk taking for you, too. I guarantee on the other side of nervous, you'll find something wonderful.