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In 2016, I was laid off from my new job in corporate communications just six months after relocating to North Carolina from New Hampshire.

I remember it being … pretty terrible, for lack of a better way to explain it. But I also remember it wasn’t the end of the world, at least in the overall grand scheme of life.

My mom gave me some sound advice: “Instead of wallowing, take a shower and make sure dinner is on the table every night.” But she must have forgotten that before I moved, she gave me a recipe card for how to make hard-boiled eggs.

Much to my embarrassment, then and now, I used to be a botcher of hard-boiled eggs.

Cooking just wasn’t in my repertoire, at least not for lack of trying. And baking? Forget about it.

While hunting for jobs and spending time outside certainly kept me distracted from my plight, these activities would come nowhere close to the reprieve that cooking would eventually come to offer.

I started slow and began scouring the internet each day for manageable recipes. There were good meals and bad meals, and a lot of messy countertops. I had some major epic fails, like the one time I messed up Crock-Pot mac n’ cheese; I still don’t know how I managed to do that. I also had a lot of successes, like hosting Christmas last year for my family.

Experimenting with recipes while drinking a glass of wine — or just cooking one of my go-tos while drinking a glass of wine — is one of my favorite ways to unwind after a long day of work. I’m also a big fan of going out to eat, and consider my Wine & Dine Guide from Visit Winston-Salem a bucket list of sorts; every time I go somewhere new, I cross it out. I recently had the pleasure of dining at Diamondback Grill where I had chicken cordon bleu for the first time, and I liked it so much that it’s now on my list to attempt at home.

I’m not shy of adventurous menu items, and I’ll try anything just about once. I’ve eaten frog legs in Missouri and alligator sausage in New Orleans (both were great, if you were wondering). If it’s been a couple of years since I’ve tried something, I’ll try it again. Tastes change, and I used to hate tomatoes; now they’re my favorite snack of all time. I still don’t like mushrooms but, I’m working on it.

With this being my first time at the helm of our annual food issue, I had a lot of fun working with our writers and the many chefs, bartenders, restaurateurs, entrepreneurs, and bakers that make up Winston-Salem’s diverse food scene. The issue takes a look at desserts, cocktails, and some of the Twin City’s newest eateries.

Not only did we take a look at some of the individuals at the foodie forefront, but we also examined how the city supports food entrepreneurs. The Enterprise Center’s shared-use community kitchen is a unique program run by Telissa Ward; the demand has been high and there are currently 20 businesses on the waiting list. Writer Jodi Stephenson Sarver spoke with some of the individuals going through the program now and quickly learned it’s more than just a place to accommodate businesses — it’s a place that nurtures businesses.

We hope you’ll enjoy this issue and find some inspiration for a night out, or a night in.

As for me, I’ve come a long way since botching hard-boiled eggs — and I’m sure glad I did. Now on to that chicken cordon bleu.

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