I cook because I love to create things and I (unfortunately) love to eat. My greatest joy is to prepare a dish or meal and watch people enjoy eating it.
I'm really a self-taught cook but my greatest cooking influence was my father. He used to sit and peruse cookbooks for hours and had the knack of opening the pantry, pulling out the strangest ingredients and making a gourmet meal. He didn't cook often but when he did, it was a masterpiece.
I started off baking at an early age and can remember making dozens upon dozens of Christmas cookies with my dad every year. We would painstakingly roll out, cut and ornately frost hundreds of sugar cookies. It's a tradition that I still follow.