When it comes to cooking and recipe development, my mom is my biggest inspiration. Growing up, my mom was a preschool teacher and she also owned her own children’s cooking school. Even though I was a picky eater, I always appreciated my mom’s cooking. She focused on simple ingredients, but most importantly comfort foods.

I was never allowed to have Kraft Mac & Cheese at my own house because my mom would make Ina Garten’s baked mac & cheese with breadcrumbs. I thought I was being deprived of the “good stuff” and didn’t realize how spoiled I was until I went to friend’s houses and realized their parents didn’t cook!

My mom makes SO many good soups, but her butternut squash soup is my favorite. Whenever I go visit her in Boston, I know a large bowl of this soup will be waiting for me at home.