As a young girl, I grew up closely observing my mother in the kitchen. She allowed me to assist whenever possible, and I always recall the kitchen as a realm of love. Food equated love, and it represented one of her methods of expressing affection for her family—this sentiment has etched itself into my memory. The kitchen was always a source of comfort. My affection for being in the kitchen, preparing meals, and above all, witnessing others enjoy the dishes I create, has remained constant.
I had never envisioned a career in the food industry, but it has consistently been intertwined with my life. I pursued education in fashion merchandising and come from a lineage of creative women. My aspirations were aimed at becoming a fashion editor for a New York City magazine. I concluded my college education with an internship at Seventeen magazine in New York. However, divine intervention had different intentions. Soon after completing the internship, I received a job offer. Nonetheless, fate led me to a job in Orlando, Florida, which unexpectedly reconnected me with a man who would later become my life partner—a husband for whom my parents and I had prayed for my entire life. Had I chosen the path to New York, I'm uncertain whether my life would have taken a similar trajectory.
I was raised in a Christian household, attending church whenever the doors were open. I accepted Christ at a young age, yet reaffirmed my commitment during high school, when my faith resonated more profoundly. Although my relationship with God has experienced highs and lows, my steadfast faith and trust in Him and His plan have never wavered. Unquestionably, it was His plan that guided me to where I am today.
My background in the creative foundation for my current culinary work stems from my background in the fashion industry, particularly my role as one of Anthropologie's Visual Managers. Having spent nearly eight years there, my husband's new job prompted a move to a remote city. This left me uncertain not only about my employment prospects but also about how to nourish my creative spirit. Throughout this journey, I found solace in cooking, not just for my husband and myself, but also for other families facing similar situations. It was during this period that two friends encouraged me to start a blog to document my culinary endeavors and our daily lives.
This marked the birth of my website, MyDiaryofus.com.
Initially, my brand centered more around a diary-style approach, where I kept family and friends updated of our whereabouts and life in general, occasionally intermingled with recipes. At this point, the website existed purely as a hobby, and I never fathomed its potential to evolve into an actual profession. With a subpar camera, I started on the journey of sharing my culinary experience, gradually refining my skills in food styling and photography through diligent research. Interestingly, I discovered that food styling shared commonalities with fashion merchandising, such as balance, arrangement, color, and lighting. I drew from my past experiences, applying them to food instead of fashion, and found myself captivated by an entirely new realm.
As my exploration of the world of photography
deepened, I developed a profound fondness not only for sharing recipes with strangers but also for the entire process of elevating the visual of food. My blog grew, and I began to recognize the potential of transforming my passion into a viable endeavor. The culinary aspect of my website gained traction, and I started sharing an increasing number of recipes that resonated with my readers. I can vividly recall the first instance someone informed me that they had prepared one of my recipes and their family adored it. The gratitude they expressed, along with the joy it brought, continues to drive me to this day.
Fast-forward a couple of years, and an editor reached out to gauge my interest in writing a cookbook— it was a “pinch me” moment and I just could not believe this was my reality. After finalizing the deal, I wholeheartedly invested myself in creating recipes, capturing them through photography, and penning the book over a span of two years. Despite moments of self-doubt, I sensed God's affirmation that I was indeed capable.
I think we all have had moments where we struggle in knowing our worth, but putting your value in God’s hands can help you to believe you are worthy of all His blessings.
While wrapping up work on my debut cookbook, I also experienced the blessing of motherhood with the birth of our son, Parks. This added a new layer to my culinary journey, inspiring me to craft all of his meals as he transitioned to solid foods. This phase introduced me to a new audience—parents navigating the complexities of feeding their little ones. Simultaneously, my editor expressed interest in a second cookbook, this one centered around infants and toddlers. Eager to seize this opportunity, I had already been experimenting with recipes tailored to these young palates and relished observing my own child explore new foods and flavors.
Had someone asked me if I could envision myself becoming a published author, I would have told you that you were crazy. Only God knew this plan, as He is the one who wrote it. With my cookbooks published, my website and social media presence flourished, opening doors to television appearances and forging connections with countless readers and followers who now feel like friends. Sharing recipes that empower home cooks to nurture their families fills me with immense satisfaction. The unique gratification when a follower tells me how their children regularly request one of my recipes is immeasurable.
It fills my heart with so much joy, and I express gratitude every day that God steered me toward this path rather than the one I initially envisioned. Though I cannot predict where my future career will lead, I am certain that food will continue to be a part of my journey. Regardless of where you are from or where you will go, food possesses an innate ability to bring people together. It’s my preferred way of expressing love to those beyond my physical reach. When we gather around a table, relishing the same recipe, we collectively experience the satisfaction of witnessing loved ones savor a meal we've prepared. In my perception, this parallels the fulfillment God must experience when He observes us living the life He has crafted for us.
Through my content, recipes, and interactions on social media, I hope my readers and followers can not only sense my affection but also feel God's love emanating through me. My aspiration is for my online presence to radiate light and love, especially in a digital landscape where positivity isn't always assured. My little space on the internet is a place where food, family, friends, and God's love meet. Regardless of one's background or beliefs, I hope visitors stick around to find out what it is that feels different.
I remain grateful for the life I live and the vocation I love to do. The kitchen is my happy place, where I create recipes for both my family and yours—a truly beautiful endeavor. From a young girl captivated by her mother's love to cook for her family, in the same way that my mom cooked for us, God cultivated that seed of affection to grow into my dream career.
If I could journey back in time and impart a few words of wisdom to my younger self, I would say to now doubt yourself, trust the Lord with all your heart. It’s never too late to start something new. You never know what the final chapter of your life says until you listen to God and go for it.
L E I G N A N N C H A T A G N I E R
Meet Leigh Ann Chatagnier, the founder of MyDiaryofUs.com and 2 x cookbook author. While My Diary of Us is a food blog by definition, Leigh Ann also likes to connect to her readers by sharing experiences in her life through motherhood as well.
Currently, Leigh Ann lives in Houston, Texas with her son and husband. Leigh Ann enjoys spending time with her family, traveling to new places, and being in her happy place in the kitchen creating and enjoying delicious food. Her passion is to share fresh family friendly recipes that are stress free, made from scratch, and are really delicious too. Leigh Ann’s goal is to help you gain confidence in the kitchen and in feeding your family!
Instagram Handle: @mydiaryofus