Guys, I am finally back and more alive than ever. It has been excruciatingly painful to tell people I meet that I have a blog called The Chef Charette because once they search for it, they ask – “Um, you haven’t posted anything for the past 2 months. What happened?”
So I had my hands filled with NYCDA’s UXDI – a 12week UX Design Immersive program / “UX bootcamp” and realized from the start that if I was going to be serious enough to dramatically switch careers from architecture into UX Design, that I had to be fully devoted in UX Design. I must admit that as I graduated a few weeks ago, I felt that complete relief and excitement that I could become a strong, passionate UX designer who designs experiences for individuals spatially AND digitally. I yearn more than ever to optimize the experience of his blog for everyone.
On Friday during while I pumped through a phone interview, an interviewer asked me: “Out of everything you’ve worked on, what is the project you’re most proud of?”
I replied: ” The Chef Charette, because it’s been a personal passion project.. it is my lifelong story and something I’ve built that I’m incredibly passionate about. I started with my own problem of not understanding recipes, researched and learned that several people were discouraged from cooking/baking because of intimidating recipes, and came up with a hypothesis to create a visual guide in recipes: Diagrams. The Chef Charette enabled me to launch a new concept in the food/blogging world that hadn’t been created, and has connected me to individuals, stories, and inspirations around the world.”
Later that night I realized I was so burnt out through this endless UX work / skills building / job applying and forgot that I hadn’t taken a break to bake nor spend any time creating something I love with food. So I thought: “Oh, fuck this HTML/job searching for tonight. I’m going to watch David Cheng crawl his way through Japan on Anthony Bourdain’s “Mind of a Chef” …which eventually lead me to watch Christine Tosi rummage through markets for cereal and make these colossal cereal cakes and Miso Pies down New York City’s Lower East Side on “Chef’s Table.”
That whole episode was so therapeutic, uplifting, and made me recollect all of the joy and comfort in baking that I almost forgotten throughout my childhood. So many peers throughout my life scoff at how a culinary journey is too cute and far from seriousness and/or financial stability. As I’m realizing that going into tech may be much more financially rewarding, I have realized that I cannot always prioritize it over baking, cooking, and The Chefcharette.
While I am still actively job searching and honing my UX skills for my UX fit in the tech world… cooking, baking, and The Chef Charete will always be most intimate, tender, and gratifying project.. and I will continue to delight myself in these geeky, culinary creations while serving individuals around the world with savory, sweet, tart, shareables like these lavender lemon bars.
Lavender Lemon Bars
- 2 C white sugar
- 2 tbsp dried culinary lavender
- 3/4 C butter, softened
- 2 C all-purpose flour
- 1 dash salt
- 1/4 C all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 C lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 tsp dried lavender
- 1/4 C confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×12 inch baking dish.
Make lavender sugar by blending the sugar and 2 teaspoons lavender buds in a blender; blend until the lavender is powdered.
Blend 1/4 C lavender sugar, 2 tsp lavender buds, together with an electric mixer 1/4 cup of the lavender sugar, 1 cup butter, 2 cups flour, and salt in a bowl until a dough forms.
Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared dish and bake in the preheated oven until top is slightly brown, about 15-20 minutes.
While the dough bakes, mix together the remaining 1 3/4 C lavender sugar, remaining 1/4 cup flour, 4 eggs, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon lavender buds
Pour over the baked crust and return to the oven to bake until the center is set, about 20 minutes.
Once the lemon bars are completely cool, dust the top with powdered sugar before serving, and add a few lavender buds on top if desired.