Her house smelled exactly as you’d expect. Caramel, sugar, vanilla...to be honest I’m not exactly sure what the smells were, but I knew they were good. I’d stepped into the home of London Brazil, a food blogging sensation (and personal friend) who’d agreed to have me over while she baked her signature chocolate chip cookies.
Anyone who knows London and her husband Cohl, know that when you visit their home, they’ve always got something delicious to snack on and when you walk in the door, you’ll smell London’s hazelnut or marshmallow something awesome candle that’s always burning in the kitchen. But food and candles aren’t the only unique Brazil trademark, both of the brilliant humans are not only food and health connoisseurs but dentists too! They met in dental school and were married between years two and three and the rest is history.
London wanted to become a dentist since childhood. After she’d gotten her braces, she knew she was meant to make people smile. But around that same time, another unlikely passion was developing; cooking. Well, cooking, baking — food really sums it up. At the age of ten she wanted nothing more than an Easy Bake Oven, but when it didn’t come fast enough she created her own M&M cookie recipe and went for the real oven…
“I didn’t have a recipe or supervision (sorry mom). But they turned out to be the best baking soda flavored cookies I’d ever make — but the M&Ms were good,” London chuckled.
Growing up in a very supportive southeast Texas home, she was raised by her mom and dad who both worked full-time jobs; meals were quick and easy. During her senior year, Hurricane Katrina and Rita hit and her family was displaced to a home outside of Dallas where she found two cookbooks that would be the start of her ‘real’ cooking journey — or at least the one that yielded edible food.
Years of dental school and hundreds of baked goods later, London found herself living her dream as a dentist in Austin, Texas. Or so she thought.
In her final year of dental school she’d already been bitten by the entrepreneurship bug, and created a brand called Gluten Free with LB, focused on gluten free recipes...she built a website, a product line, and had a plan. Of course plans change, but an entrepreneurial spirit does not. She did her research and found online revenue reports about a company she admired, Pinch of Yum; their brand was pulling in five figures a month.
“People are doing this….this could be a real possibility,” She said.
For years she split time between her passion project and dentistry. Some days she would wake up, work on her business, prep recipes and layout her online marketing plan, while others she spent hours hunched over patients in her dentist scrubs. Eventually the food blog rebranded to Evolving Table, for more diversified healthy eating, and page views, traffic and partner outreach started to really pick up. The food blog was becoming a real business.
She’d reached the tipping point.
“I was getting contacted by more brands, I was creating more video content, my work flow was becoming more efficient, and it started taking up more time. It was becoming hard to shift focus between the two things…
But there were a couple of moments where I really zeroed in. In 2016 I buckled down — I was going after 100,000+ page views a month, putting 20 hours a week into the blog, and had a thousand or so coming in from ads each month…traffic just kept climbing. I thought, if I go up just 10% next month and then the next month...if this formula is working...I think this could be a real business!”
She started scaling back on dentistry and eventually was down to one day a week with the rest of her time spent on her blog. When days rolled around where she’d need to prepare for dentistry she would feel anxious and sometimes experience migraines. It was becoming more and more obvious that her true calling was settling in.
“Every aspect of the food blog speaks to what I’m good at and what I love to do. Hours fly by, my husband thinks I’m crazy when I’m on my computer on a Saturday, but I love it. It’s so fulfilling for me,” she said.
But leaving was going to be hard. To make the jump from dentistry to food blogging full time...it was scary for a lot of reasons and many may not understand right away. Why leave a profession it took years to learn, years to hone and is highly regarded by society? All that education, time and money? It was difficult to understand for some and even London herself struggled with the “what ifs”. There were periods of time where she thought she may go through an identity crisis; she was and always wanted to be a dentist — right?
Deep down it was clear. The freedom, the creativity, the grit and entrepreneurship in her blood. Food blogging wasn’t just a passion for her; it made her feel a sense of freedom and it made her feel alive. And she was damn good at it. Despite the flow of feedback and doubt, with her family and husband’s support London completed her last day of dentistry and went all in with Evolving Table.
Truly, she questioned it until the day she did it. But once she committed she knew it was the right decision.
“I feel incredibly blessed. To think I can do this thing online and serve people in a way I had never imagined. It’s truly special to me.”
In the beginning London thought she might be too late to the party - like she may have missed the boat. Blogging and the food scene was long established before she began her journey but once her audience grew and feedback from real people making her recipes started coming in, she realized you’re never too late to follow your passion.
Now London is approaching every day with a completely dedicated spirit and there are no limits to her success. As a matter of fact, her recipes were just recently featured on Good Morning America and ABC News as best recipes for Thanksgiving for Keto and Whole30 enthusiasts! It’s safe to say her bravery to walk the unconventional path and follow her true passion is an inspiration to everyone holding themselves back from doing what they love.
“A lot people will tell you to just go for it. But be smart about it — if you’re strapped for cash, it’s not going to help your creativity. Plan ahead and just know you can do anything….it just takes hard work, long hours, research and the right resources. You can do it. Just remember there’s a formula to everything...you can make anything successful if you spend enough time on it and love it enough.”
Now let’s eat!
[Follow London's blog at www.evolvingtable.com, and follow her on Instagram @evolvingtable]