Big Shoes to Fill

Photo by Dimitri Houtteman

The Shoes

Am I the only one who feels anxious from time to time about how I’ll fill big shoes?

I’m sure everyone’s big shoes are different, but many of us have felt the same uneasiness at some point in our lives.

This is my story.

Here I am in my 50’s, living in the San Francisco Bay Area with my loving husband and caring son. I’m happy with my life and grateful for every moment. However, I occasionally can’t help but wonder when I’ll feel that I’ve finally filled the big shoes my parents left behind.

My parents were incredibly gifted and had accomplished many things.

They were not famous.

They were not rich.

They were seemingly ordinary people who did extraordinary things.

I always wondered if they’d ever felt the “big shoes anxiety” and measuring up to someone else in our family. If they were alive today, I’d love to ask them.

My dad was a brilliant medical doctor who left the city’s glamour and riches to serve the under-served population of villages in India. My mom, who’d lived her entire life in the city, left the conveniences of urban life to join him.

Together they built the only hospital from the ground up that served and is still serving thousands of patients from the surrounding rural areas. Patients and their families traveled for miles on foot or in bullock carts to get treated by my dad.

Young Dr. Anant Bhadri and Sudha Bhadri, at the beginning of their life together.

I remember how my dad always had his doctor’s briefcase with him, filled with emergency medical supplies and equipment, no matter where he went. He was always looking to help people, never expecting anything in return.

My mom was an icon of motherhood. She raised three children without any help or facilities and with limited resources.

She was an amazing cook, and cooking was her true passion.

She used to get magazines from the library and hand-write the recipes in her diary. She made those dishes and wrote notes about what worked, what didn’t work, and what she’d change next time.

In addition to cooking three meals a day for us, she made these delicious snacks that I loved to show off to my friends.

My mom loved to share food with the whole community that she and my dad had built around them. Our home was always filled with sweet and savory aromas wafting from the kitchen.

People felt right at home when they walked in through the front door, and that door was always open.

I was lucky to inherit many wonderful qualities from my mom and dad. I am analytical, a problem solver, and love to help others, exactly like my dad. I am creative, love to cook, and share food with others, exactly like my mom.

So I wonder: will I ever reach a point where I feel that I’ve finally filled the big shoes my mom and dad left behind?

The Action

My parents never sat around talking about their dreams. Instead, they chased after them.

So in 2019, I decided that I’d no longer put my dreams and aspirations on hold. The time for thinking or talking about them was over. It was time to bring my ideas to fruition.

For as long as I could remember, I had always wanted to have a business related to food and cooking. So in May 2019, I started my own company. This was the beginning of the long but rewarding journey of Chef Avenue.

I looked at my millennial son and his friends. They wanted to eat healthily. They didn’t mind cooking but hated cleaning. I knew they’d love something that made the whole process easy and frictionless.

I decided to come up with a product that would do just that.

After tossing around many ideas, I ultimately crystallized the exact cookware I wanted to produce. I personally worked on designing every aspect of the cookware that I’d envisioned.

And Omnipan was born.

Omnipan is cookware that helps you prep, cook, eat, store, and reheat without moving food from one container to another. When you’re done, just toss it in the dishwasher.

I couldn’t believe what I’d accomplished until I received the samples.

You’re maybe wondering when this innovative cookware is coming to the market. (Even my son and his friends cannot wait to get their hands on it.)

I plan to launch Omnipan on Kickstarter shortly. Early backers will receive a special Omnipan set at an exclusive discount and free access to Chef Avenue’s app with delicious recipes specifically created for Omnipan. If you’d like to get an alert when I launch on Kickstarter, please sign up here.

Chef Avenue is a socially and environmentally responsible company. It will support charities that provide medical care to underprivileged communities in the United States and worldwide, continuing a similar mission as my parents.

I know that with the start of Chef Avenue, I’m just beginning to fill those big shoes.




Seema is Founder & CEO of Chef-Avenue, an innovative Cookware Startup in Northern California. She will be debuting Omnipan™ on Kickstarter in the coming months.

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Seema Shenoy

Seema Shenoy

Seema is Founder & CEO of Chef-Avenue, an innovative Cookware Startup in Northern California. She will be debuting Omnipan™ on Kickstarter in the coming months.

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