I’m a Nerd, Really.


I’m staring at a mirror leaning against  the wall behind my desk, with a post-it from my roommate that says, “You’re a nerd (really).” I’ve kept the note in plain sight so I can see it every morning when I get up to use my computer. I like it keep it there because it’s a reminder of how I’m completely obsessed with my new profession.

One probably shouldn’t need to be reminded of their “passions,” but sometimes when you’re scrubbing grills or your knees start to give a little, a neon-yellow reminder can definitely brighten your day. In a weird roundabout way, the statement reinforces how proud I am to be a food nerd. I’m completely obsessed with the idea of becoming a food professional and knowing everything there is to it. To that end, I’m single-mindledly focused on food for the majority of my time. It’s an obsession that guides my desire to not only be the best cook, but also to absorb as much knowledge about food as possible. My desk is laden with food magazine tear-outs of recipes, cookbooks I’ve barely opened, and one study guide that I’ve been meaning to rip the plastic off of and start working on. How I manage to have the time or the curiosity to do all this is still beyond me.

One of the pangs of having an obsession, is that you’re never satisfied.  There is a constant air of frustration because you can never meet your expectations. But how can you, when they’re always changing? The violinist, Isaac Stern, once stated that the more you practice something, the more impossible your standards become because of the endless possibilities you set yourself up for. And of course, there in lies the motivational danger in one’s pursuit: the obsession will cripple the work itself.

This also speaks to the idea that it’s not so much one’s technical skills or “talent” that helps you succeed, but something a little more inherent. That’s why success stories are so inspiring-because people can succeed by channeling a motivational drive that is more deeply-rooted and self-induced than knowledge you gain from a book or learn through years of training. It’s what gives us hope and let’s us believe the “anything is possible” spiel. 

The key to maintaining a healthy motivational drive whilst not driving yourself insane with endless standards and criticism is to organize your obsession and “keep it in check.” Don’t let minor flaws deform your work. Think “big picture.” Understand that imperfections are not failures. Believe that emotional rewards will always outshine tangible compensations. Then, you’ll be perfect.

6 Responses to “I’m a Nerd, Really.”

  1. 1 smelly

    okay, now that I’m perfect, how bout spilling some juicy restaurant details. indulge a fellow food nerd with some yummy bits.

  2. 2 Carlo

    In poker we call that the long run
    single hands don’t matter. It’s about all the hands that I will play forever. But I might drive myself insane too. I have worked every day except the accident. Great read

  3. 3 Alyjoy

    Deep Yi, deep (really)
    I still have the “cool cubes” tranny boys above my computer. Makes me so glad to have gotten out of that hell hole. The things that get us through the day are indeed sometimes weird.

    • 4 foodyi

      Aw, I’m so glad you do have it. How’s our boy, Archuleta?

  4. where are the updates?

  5. 6 Carol

    You are an incredible writer. Your blog is amazing, just like your food. 🙂
    You’ll be there in no time.

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