I started bartending at a cajun restaraunt in '95 and realized I wanted to learn how to "work the line" in the heart of the house as well as the front of the house. At several restaraunts after that one I would learn the kitchen while working the front of the house. From each job I didn't take recipes with me but experience. I got a little better each time.
My favorite things to cook
I love the carbs. Especially potatoes and pasta. Also, the staples. I'm always looking for a way to make one of the staples in a kitchen (homemade spaghetti sauce, bbq sauce, chili, etc.) into a recipe I can call my own.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Food has become a centerpiece of my budding family, and most traditions are being started now.
My cooking triumphs
One of the local watering holes has a chili cook-off during the super bowl every year and I won the one time I entered. Only cooking contest I ever entered.
My cooking tragedies
Beef/cabbage soup. Yes, it was exactly as bad as it sounds. One of my first experiments that has never left and I remind myself of when I try something new or unusual.