One good knife and spice?
Updated: Feb 8, 2021
“Here’s all you will ever need in the knife department: ONE good chefs knife, as large as is comfortable for your hand.” Anthony Bourdain
This is a personal journey that spans three continents, three different cultures but all bound by one common denominator; food!
Hello everyone, I feel I ought to begin this blog by introducing myself. My name is Avni Tilvawala. I am an Indian born-Kenyan raised female living in sunny Florida, USA with her Colombian-American husband. Now that the formalities are out of the way, let me tell you a quick story on why I started One Good knife and making spices.
Growing up in an Indian household it was necessary, actually it was essential for the females of the house to know how to cook. I absolutely resented it. I was average at best and never really tried to learn with hopes my mother would give up on me and eventually leave me alone. When my parents moved to Kenya they brought with them their Indian culture, foods and traditions. I, on the other hand, embraced my Kenyan heritage and shunned the Indian. Kenyans are easy going people with a deep zeal and love for life and that is what I wanted part of. Traditionally female oriented tasks defined in the Indian culture were just not for me especially cooking.
Fast forward a few years I'm living on my own and missing my mother's cooking. I repeatedly would call her asking for a recipe and method. She'd explain as best as she could but it never was as good as hers. But during these trial and errors something had been ignited. The more I cooked the better I got and actually began enjoying it. My friends would come over and we'd share meals together. Imagine my excitement as they expressed how delicious the dish was and asked me for the recipe. And so it began...
Many years later I find myself in Florida doing my internship for my Hotel and Restaurant Management bachelor's degree. As I come close to completing my year long internship I felt management wasn't for me. Something about the United States made me feel I could do anything. There were certain freedoms, aspirations and possibilities that I felt could be met here. I graduated in absentia in Kenya as I enrolled into a culinary arts program at a community college in Florida. I completed my four year program in less than three. I was determined to become a chef!
To graduate I had to meet the last requirement of internship which was getting work experience at a restaurant. Desperate, I applied anywhere and everywhere. All I kept getting were rejections. This was 2008 during a global recession, no one was hiring let alone hiring an intern. One day came an email requesting a phone interview which I surprisingly passed (I was extremely nervous) but had an in-person interview with the restaurant chef. Days later they told me I was hired. It is only later I realized I would be interning at one of the top fine-dining restaurants in the state. I worked at Bull & Bear at the Waldorf Astoria for about 4 years before moving to the Four Seasons Resort at their upscale restaurant.
Six years later, I still work at the Four seasons but at a different capacity. While cooking has found it's way into my soul and has always been my way of expression, I wanted to channel my passions into something more personal to reflect my heritage. My Indian side inspired me to be daring with my cooking with exotic spices, my Kenyan side inspired me to enjoy and respect what nature has to offer, lastly my American side taught me to never doubt myself and dare to dream.
It is as though I've come full circle. As much as I hated cooking it is now my first love. It gives me purpose, direction and focus. More recently I have been on a journey to eat healthier, more wholesome and nutritious foods. Not always have my healthy creations tasted good but I've found adding spices and herbs always adds that oomphf needed to make it taste great.
So as I wind down this short story that turned a touch long, the reason I began One Good Knife Spices is truly to have you enjoy your incredible, healthy and nutritious meals by just adding alittle bit of spice. Often we don't stick to meals that don't taste good or make you feel like you are on a diet. So why not make it enjoyable? Grab your one good knife (invest in one if you don't) let us take this journey together and get cooking. Life is too short to be eating bad food anyway!