I must admit I come from an impressive line of careers in my family. My mom is a lawyer, my dad is a doctor, and even my sister is the head of the mathematics department at a very well-known architect school. There was a lot of pressure on me growing up, especially as the youngest kid in my family. I did very well throughout high school, but never really found interest in anything. Some of my friends who were interested in our criminal justice class went on to practice that, and some others became teachers, but I just kind of kept my head down and followed the rules until I didn’t have to anymore.

Toward the very end of my senior year in high school, I discovered the idea of trade schools. My parents had beat into my head that if I wanted to be anybody in life, I had to go put in my four years after college and get a degree which would magically lead me to make money. I was never happy with that idea. If I had a passion for medicine, or for law, then sure. But trade school opened so many different ways of thinking for me.

I woke up one morning asking myself, what could I do every day for the rest of my life and not get tired of it? And if I could make money from doing that, then that would be the dream, right? My answer was food. I’ve been cooking my whole life. I begged my mom to let me help her in the kitchen when I was little. I cut my first onion when I was 9 years old. I got home from high school wondering what I could help out with for dinner. This whole time, my passion was something I was doing every day.

I had this realization, and I became excited. And then deflated. My parents didn’t want that of me. They wanted me to go off in some prestigious career, a career where I’d have to wear a suit every day and go on business trips. It killed me to fail them as a son.

And that’s exactly what they thought when I told them. Where did they go wrong raising me, they asked. What could they have done different? I felt like I had confessed to murder.

This was two years ago and they have not changed their mind. I still feel like a failure in their eyes. It hurts. But it makes me all the more determined to prove them wrong.