When the recipes, and the sweet treats started popping up all over Anna Filly Photography, I’m sure you might have been a little confused. It started as a random thought on a random day. Nothing sparkly or flashy. Just the idea of “what if…” mixed with the insecurity of “it’ll never work” held together by the faith of “you’ll never know unless you try!” That’s how most things begin in my life. To my very core, I am a dreamer. A dreamer who has always loved all things culinary.
Culinary arts was always a dream I fantasized about. It started with my sweet momma. Watching her create in the kitchen and wanting to be just like her, I developed a love for baking. I shared that love with my Great Aunt Martha one summer when we visited her in Arkansas. “ I want to see your creations,” She encouraged. “Culinary runs in the family, you know.” With a smile, she handed me a little recipe card that held one of her most prized possessions – the ingredients and measurements for the most perfect buttercream icing. She had owned her own catering business for years.
That’s where my first camera came into play. It was a little point and shoot. I had no idea what I was doing, but I knew that I wanted to share it. Between taking photos for my Great Aunt Martha, and giving away samples of my food to my friends at school, I was convinced I had found my calling in life.
I remember being in high school & attending a job fair. We were instructed to pick three different careers and got thirty minutes to experience each one. I selected an Interior Decorator, FBI Agent, and, of course, a Culinary Chef. I waited anxiously for my thirty minutes with the Chef. When the time came, my classmates and I crammed into our culinary class and were instructed to put aprons on. “Nothing that I say will matter,” the Chef explained, “Unless you experience it first,”. I was so captivated that day. I knew then, without a doubt that I’d go to Culinary School and began researching the most perfect ones.
Before I knew it, my four years in high school were almost over. It was time to meet with advisors, counselors and choose a path for college. It was then, that I learned that the culinary institute I had longed to attend was well over $40,000 a year & had minimal scholarship opportunities. Feeling defeated, I let my bundle of dreams go as if they were a bunch of helium inflated balloons. I couldn’t afford culinary school. Owning a bakery, creating culinary masterpieces in an industrial kitchen, experimenting with colors, flavors & textures… It all seemed to be too high in the sky for me.
I think right about here, it’s important for me to say something. You do not need a degree to be passionate. If you really want to do something in life- do it. Some of the most influential people in history never got a degree certifying them to do what they did- they just did it.
I wish someone had whispered that over me 1,0000 times when I was younger.
Years passed by and though my dreams of pursuing culinary arts with passionate vigor fizzled out a little bit, my love for them did not. Instead, it grew. It grew from a love of baking, to a desire to discover all types of culinary. From breakfast to dinner and everything in between, I just began doing it. From creating, came a love for watching what the creation did. I learned very quickly that food brings people together. Especially if it’s well made and prepared. I came to find that I enjoyed the art of togetherness MORE than I even enjoyed the creating in culinary.
Now here I am, in a house I call my own, on Hillcrest. I bake and cook and host and eat. But I didn’t want it to end there. I wanted others to experience what JOY my years of discovery have taught me. From brining chicken breast to creaming butter with sugar, I have learned so much that has allowed me to better cherish those I love most, and bring them together.
Sometimes we don’t even realize our dreams are coming true, right before our very eyes.