The hardest thing for me to overcome was working in a male dominated field as I came up as a cook and chef. I started working at my first restaurant when I was 19 years old in 2003. Restaurants weren't as diverse as they were now, things were changing but hadn't gotten to the point where if I was working in a kitchen the only other women where servers or busser for the front of house. I had to prove that I wasn't dainty or soft- words that we don't use anymore because they aren't appropriate in kitchens any more. Everyday I had to work hard and prove that I could handle just as much if not more than my male counter parts. I also was enrolled in college during this time in my life, so any free time I had I was using it to study. I wasn't enrolled in culinary school at the time either so what I was learning wasn't at the time relevant to what I was doing in a kitchen, which also meant I had to learn fast on the job and pay close attention to everyone around me. I couldn't go home and Youtube a video about how to filet fish properly- I had to practice at work and by practice I mean have the chef show me once and then do it on my own with minimal mistakes 60 more times as prep cook. It wasn't always easy to get the Executive Chef to show me things either- for this part I was grateful that two of the Chefs I worked for saw something in me that made them want to invest in teaching me how to do things. It's because of them that I have feel a natural obligation to pass what they taught me forward. I still don't have my culinary degree, instead I have a Bachelor's in Leadership Management. My career in kitchens hasn't ended, I have spent the last sixteen years cooking all over the world on yachts and small cruise ships, and in various restaurant settings throughout my career. Its been an amazing adventure even with a tough beginning- I wouldn't trade it in for the world. I hope this helped.