Alex is a unique blend – an old soul with a young heart, a risk-taker, a culinarian, a laugh instigator, an equality advocate, and a fierce friend. But her true secret sauce lies at her core - key ingredients that mix so well together, they have the power to unlock her most authentic self. It didn't develop overnight, but after years of trial and error, she realized that sometimes the simplest ingredients make the best recipes.
Invisible to the Eye
A rare Los Angeles native, Alex grew up surrounded by creativity - her parents worked in the entertainment industry, and most of her extended family members were artists and musicians. Her parents would often invite their friends over for dinner parties at the house, which meant that Alex was usually the youngest person in the room. This suited her just fine. In her eyes, age was invisible and people were just people - equals. In fact, she saw herself through this same lens - as an adult as much as a child.
“I’ve always felt like a 45-year-old frustrated mom of 4 since the age of seven. I never understood why I couldn’t pour myself a glass of Prosecco and hang with my mom's friends and talk gossip.”
Now that she’s an actual adult (and legally able to consume Prosecco), it’s obvious that these formative years have shaped the way in which she now sees the world - as well as how she sees herself in it.
When Alex began her career in stand-up comedy, it became clear that people didn’t always see things through the same lens as her. As a woman trying to break into the comedy world, she found herself working twice as hard just to play alongside the boys. Fighting for stage time was only half the battle - the other half was constantly trying to win over a skeptical audience once she took the stage.
"As a comic, I was struggling to feel accepted in general and didn’t speak up much. I think as women, we have this inherent quality of not wanting to offend anybody or come off as too bitchy."
Not one to give up, Alex eventually figured out that the way to her audience’s heart was relatability. By sharing funny stories about her experiences with bartending and waiting tables, she allowed herself to be vulnerable, and in return, the audience saw her as one of them - an equal.
She had finally found her voice in the comedy world. But after seeing the passion that many of her fellow female comics had for stand-up, there was also a voice inside of her that knew her true passion lay elsewhere.
The Power of Yes
When Alex left stand-up to pursue the world of cooking, she noticed some of the blurriness in her life was finally coming into focus. She now understood that some people would never see things through the same lens as her - and that was ok. For so long, she put the focus on how others saw her - Did she offend anyone? Did she come off too bitchy? Was she polite enough? But once she decided to put the focus back on herself, and let go of caring what other people thought, good stuff started to happen.
To refocus herself, Alex put a new spin on an old approach. Back in her comedy days, she learned that the number one rule of improv is to say yes - no matter what comes your way. She decided to take this simple, yet beautiful practice and apply it to her own life. And once she did, she could feel things start to shift.
But don’t get it twisted - saying yes to everything is the easy part. Following through with what you’ve committed to, even when you don’t want to do it, is the hard part. Like many of us, Alex is her own worst critic. Despite achieving a level of success in her career that most people could only dream of, the thought of exposing a piece of yourself to the world can still spark a deep fear of judgment - when in reality, no one is judging yourself harder than you.
And while Alex is the first to admit that there’s no silver bullet for overcoming one’s limitations, her method of leaning into discomfort seems to be rather effective - “I just say f*ck it, and do it anyway."
Although seemingly simple, this statement is quite powerful. It’s stripped of all the BS excuses we use to hold ourselves back. It embraces uncertainty by taking a leap of faith and being ok with whatever happens next. It’s having the courage to say yes instead of no.
By continuously putting this method into practice, not only does Alex feel like she has taken control over her life, but she was also able to see that her true voice was the one that had always been inside of her - the one that pushed her to keep going despite failures and fear. The one that never gave up hope of finding the key ingredients of happiness.
The Winning Combination
When all is said and done, nothing feeds Alex’s soul with happiness more than feeding her friends and family with food and laughter.
“When I’m cooking for friends and family, I feel like my most effortless self. By nature, I’m a servant. I like to serve people - either with laughter or with food. Both are universal languages that make people feel good. So when I can do both at the same time, that’s when I’m most authentically me.”
It’s in these moments that she feels completely free. Free from the judgment of others as well as herself. Her focus is no longer on how others make her feel, but rather on how she can make others feel.
When combined, these two simple ingredients - food and laughter - give Alex the power to overcome anything. It's her recipe for happiness. It's her secret sauce.
Alex is currently one of the hosts of ‘Moveable Feast’ on PBS. Check out her website for more info - www.alextcooks.com