Until I was in my mid-30's I barely cooked at all. As a young professional I spent little time at home and when I was home I had no interest in cooking. After all, there were so many good restaurants and prepared foods around, why would I bother? My views about cooking changed when I read a book (still one of my favorites) called "A Year in Provence" by Peter Mayle. In this amusing novel/journal about a couple from London who spend a year renovating a farmhouse in the South of France, Mr. Mayle describes in great detail the times the couple spend sharing the regional foods and wines with friends. Sometimes they prepare great feasts at their new home; other equally delectable meals are enjoyed at a simple picnic or in the restaurant of a small village. From these pages the pleasures of the table were revealed to me. A meal was something more than sustenance; it was an enjoyable pastime, something to be lingered over. I finished the book with the desire to make these dining experiences a part of my life. But before I started inviting friends over, I needed a little help on the cooking front. I didn't waste any time in signing up for a 13-week basic cooking course at a home store/cooking school in San Francisco. These were evening classes and a complete diversion from the rigors of my day job. With practice and kind friends who were willing guinea pigs, my cooking confidence and repertoire grew. I decided to devote myself full time to the craft and enrolled in the renowned cooking school Le Cordon Bleu. This proved to be an eye opening, life changing experience.