Simon Majumdar, an author, TV personality and food aficionado who stars in Pure Flix's Simon Says, has made quite a name for himself in recent years in the food and entertainment worlds.
While Majumdar has found major success on Food Network shows such as Iron Chef America and Extreme Chef, his life looked radically different just 10 years ago.
"About 10 or 11 years ago, I was living a totally different life, a very indulgent life in London," he said during a recent appearance on PureFlix.com's Pure Talk, explaining that he once worked as a publisher.
Despite Majumdar's initial success, his life took a negative turn and he found himself struggling with his very existence.
"Sometimes, the world can conspire against you. My mother died of leukemia ... and then the business started to fail that I was running," he said. "I suffered really severe depression, and one night, I was actually standing on the balcony of my apartment in London, getting ready to jump."
It was in those near-fatal moments of desperation, though, that Majumdar experienced something quite profound.
"Luckily for me, the people in the apartment below, who I never met, started cooking and they'd opened their windows and the smell of this beautiful Lebanese food ... came up to me," he said.
Majumdar suddenly found himself "more hungry than suicidal" and came down from the ledge and went inside his apartment to cook a meal for himself. As he prepared his meal that night (later named "Life-Saving Dahl"), he found an old notebook in which he had written a list—a rundown of all of the feats he wanted to accomplish before his 40th birthday.
At the time, he was already past that age, though something stuck out to him amid his stated goals: a four-word proclamation at the bottom that read, "Go everywhere, eat everything." Something about those words struck him at his core, and so the next day he quit his job and started a journey that took him from London to Los Angeles.
Just over a decade later, Majumdar is content, married and living a totally different existence in America.
"Here I am—a guy now in my early 50s and I appear on the Food Network and have become a chef and write books," he said. "I get to do incredible things."
Majumdar said that he's hopeful that his own story will inspire people to realize that there is hope, even amid life's darkest moments.
"I'm absolute proof that when you're in your darkest moments, you can have some of the most amazing things happen to you," he said.
Today, Majumdar spends his time honing his craft via books and TV shows, while also working on a higher calling: helping people discover the profound power that can come from the common practice of cooking and eating together.
"To me, breaking bread is the most powerful thing in the world ... it is the great universal," he said. "You can be of a different faith, you can be of a different political belief ... I'm a great believer, you can't sit at a table and say to someone, 'Well, I hate you because you're 'this,' but can you pass the potatoes?'"
In addition to using food as a great equalizer and conversation starter, Majumdar also volunteers a great deal of his time with Convoy of Hope, a faith-based humanitarian organization that feeds kids, empowers women and helps with agricultural development abroad.
"When you find something like that that is so special ... it makes me feel really, really good to work with them ... it's blessed," he said. "They're incredible people."
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