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Cheryl began her professional culinary training at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, where she received an Associate of Occupational Studies degree. The diversity of New York City also inspired her -- she worked alongside Chef Emeril Lagasse and assisted his culinary team on the cooking show "Emeril Live." She also worked as a chef and catering manager for a variety of New York cafés and as the Assistant Test Kitchen Director planning specialty menus for Woman’s World Magazine in New York City.

Upon returning to her native California, Cheryl worked as a Chef Instructor at the California School of Culinary Arts where she educated culinary students in the art of Le Cordon Bleu method of classical French cooking, kitchen sanitation and cooking methodology.

She also has extensive experience styling food on the sets of television's "Friends" and "The Bold and the Beautiful." Cheryl is the recipe developer, food stylist, photographer, food photo editor and chief dishwasher for her blog, Black Girl Chef's Whites, focusing on real food developed by a classically trained chef, that anyone can make.

Just because it's seafood, it doesn't mean it's difficult. You can cook up a delicious seafood stew in less than a half hour. Credit: Copyright 2015 Cheryl D. Lee

When the usually benign words sea and food are put together, they suddenly become something that brings fear to the hearts of even the

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The whole family can get in on the tamale-making traditions, with children spreading the masa dough onto tamales such as these sweet raspberry tamales. Credit: Cheryl Lee

For many families of Mexican descent, Christmas is the time to gather around the kitchen table to teach the next generation to spread masa

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Smiling sugar skulls are a mainstay of Mexico's Day of the Dead celebrations on Nov. 1 and 2.

Many cultures around the world honor departed ancestors with holidays each year. Some feature altars. Some burn incense. But feasting is the common thread

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Ramen Salad With Roasted Eggplant and Shisito Peppers. Credit: Cheryl D. Lee

Ramen noodles, the staple found in college dorms worldwide. As a student, my future culinary career was not even a thought, but I learned

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Mission figs and Cambozola cheese. Credit: Cheryl D. Lee

Fig season is here! Farmers markets and grocery stores have baskets of plump, juicy figs, drops of sweet sugary nectar often found oozing from

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Black-eyed peas, also known as cowpeas or field peas, are a staple of many cultures around the world. Black-eyed peas have been cultivated in

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Rustic Mushroom Soup. Credit: Cheryl D. Lee

My journey to being healthy has been one long and twisted adventure, basically covering my entire life. I've never been thin, nor do I

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California-style limoncello. Credit: Cheryl Lee

In my front yard are two old, thorny Meyer lemon trees. I do nothing special for these trees, just let them have water and

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