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Features: Food Blogs; Julia Wu
Junior Julia Wu finds a way to combine hard work with fun and enjoyment through her career as a personal chef. Her appreciation for cooking and food developed in her earlier years. “When I was young, my parents wouldn’t let me watch Disney Channel, so I would watch Food Network instead,” she said.My grandma really likes to cook, so she influenced me a lot.”
Since then, her interest has grown and cooking has developed into more than just a hobby. Similar to a food blog, Wu has a facebook album full of pictures of the dishes she’s cooked and the work she’s accomplished, and it is her hungry-for-more audience that motivates her to keep posting. “A lot of other people like seeing food pictures and I like having them in one collection,” she said.
The first dish she made served not only as a the beginning of a new career, but also a very memorable moment. “The first thing I ever made was a Pavlova,” she said. “It’s an Australian dessert; I made it with my grandma and it was very cool.”
Since then, Wu has not limited herself in experimenting with new foods and recipes. “I like to try new things so I don’t really have a favorite thing to cook,” she said.
Aside from her food album, there have been several other open doors and opportunities for Wu as a chef. With her name on a list of Stanford Kids that are available for doing jobs of all sorts, a family reached out to her and her career took off. “They emailed me and originally it was just to prep their salads and easy things like that, and I’ve been working with them for four years now and the tasks have increased,” she said.
Although being a personal chef is a commitment of both time and effort, it is one that is well worth it. “I generally work around four hours a week and I work for a family and go to their house and cook for them,” she said. Her job has taught her much more than how to cook a meal, but also skills that can go a long way in the future. “It’s taught me a lot about work experience,” she said. “Not necessarily working in an establishment but working for myself and learning how to deal with other people.”
Like any other hobby, there are still some difficulties that must be overcome. “Sometimes a recipe is just really hard to make and it can get frustrating because you waste a lot of ingredients and the end product isn’t good,” she said.“You just have to try it again until it works.”
As for culinary schools or a future in cooking, Wu isn’t so sure. However, her years involved in cooking have given her abilities that will follow her through to her future. “I think it’s possible that I pursue cooking but it’s not that likely,” she said. “But I know it’s a good skill to have and I’ll be able to cook for the rest of my life.”