The Runner, the Writer, and the Chef

I spend much of my time cooking, eating or planning meals and I enjoy sharing those experiences by writing about them on this blog. But to keep it all in balance, clear my head, and stay healthy, I run. This post is about three of my heroes — a Runner, a Writer, and a Chef— who have helped make me who I am today.

The Runner is Dean Karnazes. He runs 100 mile races all over the world but also gives motivational talks to children, promotes an active lifestyle and encourages people to follow their passion. After reading his book “Ultramarathon Man” 4 years ago, I was inspired to run my first 50 Mile race. I’ll never forget what he wrote that had such a strong resonance for me: “I run with my heart” — those simple words gave me the courage to run further than I ever thought possible.

The Writer is Mario Vargas Llosa, a Nobel Laureate from Peru. Growing up, many of my friends had sport heroes, but mine was a writer. I found something profoundly powerful and beautiful about words that stir emotions. He wrote about things that he was intimately familiar with, in that way what he wrote was always authentic. And so I learned about the importance of having a voice, and not being afraid to share it, specially when it spoke a truth.

The Chef, of course, is my mom. She started to cook when she was 5 years old to help my grandmother with family meals. A lifetime later, she still cooks every meal with the same love and joy that inspired me to become her apprentice. Of all the lessons I learned in her kitchen, perhaps the most important one is this: cooking for someone else is a true act of love. And thanks to my mom, one dish at a time I fell in love with Peruvian food.