It’s time to cook, time to take a big step in the journey that began in my childhood, when I first watched my grandmother cook in her Savannah kitchen. Standing next to Ida, in front of the oven, I began to understand the grace and power of cooking, the magic that happens when one transforms a table into a place of wonder through food.

As many of you know, those lessons are an integral part of my life. At my table, old friends and new guests alike always ask: “Why aren’t you cooking in a restaurant? I would gladly pay for this food.”

Well … that is why I’m reaching out to you. I have gone as far as I can on my own, so this summer I am going to Europe, where I will do stages at two restaurants, each holding three Michelin stars. (In case you don’t know, stages are unpaid internships during which you do anything a chef tells you to do.) I will learn from some visionary cooks and chefs, first at Restaurant Amador, in Mannheim, Germany, and then at a restaurant in San Sebastián, Spain, the name of which I will soon be able to announce.

This is where you can help me: I am looking for supporters – or, to be more exact, investors – to help finance my journey. My goal is to raise $5,000 through 50 individuals investing $100 each. The money will be used to pay for my lodging while doing the stages and for travel expenses to Europe.

My profound gratitude will be the short-term, instant return on your investment. But also, as soon as it is feasible, your support will become shares that you can use to purchase my food when I open my own restaurant. (But there is a lot to do before that can happen, including earning a position in a kitchen where I can continue my journey. I worked in a kitchen in Brooklyn for about four months in 2006, and I learned a lot, including the important lesson that working with food, and feeding others, is a great, and reverential, responsibility. I also learned that I really love to cook.)

If you can – and any amount will be appreciated – please click on the PayPal donate/invest button below.

I look forward to welcoming you to my table.