I got my start cooking at the young age of about 8 years old. My mother was never a good cook, and everyone in the family learned how to cook out of self-defense. Each of us children took a night and made dinner.
From this, I went on to culinary school and about 15 years of working in professional kitchens before getting out of the business. I now work in the tech industry, but maintain my love of cooking for friends and family.
I have a 5 year old daughter who is showing signs of my passion for cooking. As she gets older, I plan on teaching her as much as I can.
Cooking influences, that's a tough one to answer. So many things/people have influenced how I cook and what I enjoy cooking.
My grandmother, she was about the best cook I ever knew. I remember as a child being mesmerized by watching her float around the kitchen preparing a holiday meal, and when I was old enough, being her helper.
I have had the pleasure of working for a number of chefs over the years who were guiding influences in the culinary world as well as the rest of life. One of the sayings that I learned I still use today "if you don't have time to do it right the first time, when do you have time to do it over?", not only does that apply to the food you serve, but every project you embark upon.