AmNews FOOD editor Kysha Harris (300435)
Credit: Contributed

Well…we made it to the end of this (say it with me) unprecedented year. It was definitely a year of firsts and way too many lasts for too many people. I close it out with deep thoughts, prayers and love to everyone affected by this pandemic and with positive energy for the year to come.

Like many of us, I have been reflecting on how I felt last year at this time. I had just come off working as culinary producer on “Hot Ones the Game Show” in Atlanta for over a month. It was one of those moments where, I felt in my bones, I was in my wheelhouse doing exactly what I was meant to do. With new contacts, friends and opportunities, this moment was going to catapult me into 2020.

Come the new year, the wind was at my back cooking for clients, gearing up for the sixth annual Harlem EatUp! festival, and my second year as associate producer, and “Hot Ones the Game Show” premiered on TruTV. Then mid-March happened and, seemingly, that quiet wish I sometimes made in the dark after long busy days came true, “I wish the world would slow the hell down so I can catch up.” Granted.

Everything stopped in March, lest the dedicated medical professionals and all frontline workers. Thank you. I too found myself in stasis, contemplating my life, my choices, my relationships, my work. The world had stopped, my wish had come true but my desire to “catch up” had waned.

In May a milestone birthday would be upon me, 50 times around the sun. I thought to skip it as if it were a leap year, but soon realized time waits for no one. Over the course of four days leading to my birthday I travelled the boroughs, Long Island, upstate and New Jersey with my fur-sons in tow on what was called “Kysha’s Socially Distant 50th Birthday Celebration.” I was so overwhelmed with love from my friends and family but more so to be a conduit of joy for others following on my social media.

As it would turn out, the last day of my tour, my actual birthday, would mark the murder of George Floyd and the beginning of a movement that would reach the corners of the world. Had we all not been still, his cries for his mother and last words of “I can’t breathe” might have continued to be a whisper of the past and not the cacophonous demand for change we so desperately need. Say their names!

Like many, if not all of us, we have had to pivot our lives and work which, for some, also meant ending a dream, closing a business and much more. However, pivoting has proven to exercise our fortitude and resilience as humans. As I said on a recent virtual panel for the James Beard Foundation on rebranding, “Don’t let this box we are living in define you, let it refine you.”

Your reemerged self in 2021 is exactly where you are meant to be in that moment. Keep refining and moving your needle forward and continue to push out your boundaries to the max.

Peace and blessings for the new year, happy eating, stay safe, wear a mask and thanks for reading!

Kysha Harris is a food writer and editor, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service in NYC for over 18 years. She is the new Food Editor at Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @SCHOPnyc, on Facebook, /SCHOPnyc. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations! Email AmNewsFOOD at Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @NYAmNewsFOOD and tag us with #SoAmNewsFOOD with your food finds!