I quit my job as an attorney to become a baker for one simple reason: I had a burning desire to do something different with my life. I could not continue to give the best hours of my day to a job that I wasn’t passionate about. After I won The Great American Baking Show,
I knew that I had a small window of opportunity to take advantage of my success and turn it into a new career path. Pursuing my foodie dreams while working a full-time job as an attorney felt like an impossible task, and I wanted to give myself a real shot to follow my dream career in food media. Five months after my winning television season had been cancelled, I made a firm decision to take the plunge.
Quitting my job felt like a rash decision, but my journals and therapist can attest otherwise: Baking full-time was something I had wanted for years. In some ways, I was already doing it
. I spent mornings, nights, and weekends baking for Instagram. But in many ways, I wasn’t prepared at all.
As a government attorney with a limited income, I had no assets, no savings, and many (many) student loans.
But what I did
have was a vision of what my life could be! And I knew the importance of articulating that vision by writing it down and mapping out a path. I often tell myself: If you can’t even admit to yourself what your dreams are, how on earth can you translate them from your head to reality?
The path I mapped out included building a network of mentors and connecting with other food media pros. It did not include writer’s block, devoting significant time and energy to SponCon, and losing my senses of taste and smell temporarily, even though those are obstacles I overcame. Less than a year after quitting my job, I did it: I sold my cookbook proposal and was regularly booking work as a food media freelancer.
The rest is history.
I’m still surprised by my gall to start a food blog during my final year of law school instead of looking for a job. It was 2009, and the recession was in full force. I was filled with angst, but I decided to lean into what made me happy instead of dwelling on what I couldn’t control. I knew that baking made me happy, because I would excitedly jump out of bed to activate yeast or bake muffins to share with my classmates. And within days of my first experimental recipes, I started to document the results in a blog. I began my final year of law school in an obsessive baking mode, and I baked something new every day that school year.
I have to admit—if there had been no recession, there would have been no blog. And if there had been no blog, there would have been no atFoodieInNewYork Instagram account seven years later. And if there had been no Instagram account, I wouldn’t have been discovered by a casting director for The Great American Baking Show
. And if I hadn’t been on The Great American Baking Show
, I’d probably be looking up case law while sitting in a cubicle instead of living out the bravest life I dared to dream.
Copyright © 2021 by Vallery Lomas. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.