An Olympian and his daughter

When you look back at your childhood or high school friends, how many times are you able to say, “I knew that person when?” My husband has a friend who has certainly taken the road less traveled, mainly because he is an elite athlete who competes against the world’s best.  John Nunn is a two-time Olympic race walker who recently gave me the run-down of how he balances training, and the hobby-turned-side-job cookie business with his daughter, Ella.John didn’t fall into race walking for a lack of speed.  He ran a 4:34 mile in high school that earned him a college scholarship which he then transformed into a full time race walking career.  He now walks around 100 miles a week, and holds the American record for the mile walk in 5:49.  He can walk a marathon in under 3:30:00 and a half under 1:40:00.  This is pretty impressive considering one foot must always be on the ground, and the leg above the foot on the ground must remain straight for the duration.  His training regimen can be quite painful, and injuries are not uncommon, so John frequents the doctor and chiropractor and gets regular massages to make sure he stays strong and healthy.

john and ella
john and ella

John has made two Olympic teams (2004, 2012) and has set a goal to make next year’s World Championship Team in Beijing followed by the 2016 games in Rio.  The highlight of his career so far has been the 2012 Olympics in London when his daughter, Ella, was old enough to join him and partake in the festivities.

This brings me to Ella’s Cookies.  John has always found being in the kitchen very relaxing, and Ella’s interest in the kitchen started when she was just three years old.  So, they started baking together.  This hobby has evolved into a fun part time job, and special bonding time for the busy Olympian and his daughter.  Ella’s Cookie Company is primarily an on-line company but has gotten into some of the local San Diego restaurants, as well.  And the creative mind of a ten-year-old girl doesn’t hurt!  John says Ella comes home from school with new cookie ideas all the time with ingredients that include popcorn, potato chips, apples and various candies.  John’s favorite is the Chocolate Chunk Toffee Cookie.  Ella’s? Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip.  Another intriguing combination is the “Let’s Go To The Movies” cookie, made with popcorn, Whoppers, toffee and Reese’s Pieces. 

I just love this story and find John and Ella’s father-daughter relationship so inspiring.  Even at our busiest, we can all find time to create with our children. And Ella’s creativity has become a driving force in their enterprise!

John and Ella have agreed to send a batch of 30 cookies, chosen by the winner of our Twitter raffle.  Tweet what you think looks like the most delicious Ella’s Cookie Company recipe to @thecityskinny and @ellascookieco, and we will randomly select a lucky winner by the end of the week. Not on Twitter?  Share your favorite recipe in comments below, or share and like us on Facebook.  If you are going to indulge in milk and cookies, won’t it taste better along with a good story?  Enjoy a homemade batch made with love by this father daughter pair.  You won’t be disappointed!