Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sharing the LOVE experience

Life offers up opportunity to remember the importance of interconnectedness. Indeed, such opportunity also offers the chance to understand more about self. I find in my relationships, the conversations and the moments of experiences therein give a richness that color life in a whole other way than the vastness of internal beauty and self conversation. I suppose that line, in and of itself, exemplifies how much I like my world, especially the internal one. However, moments with my friends, children and in respect to this moment, my mate, offer up an understanding unique to that person and/or opportunity. A uniqueness of experience and perspective that I may not have come to on my own.

Oftentimes because of the nature of "work", or more so service that my family does, our conversations lead to ideas of love. Love for our service, our creativity, our community, family and self. My mate hip me to the renewed realization of the intimacy of sharing and serving food and food experiences in the manner that I (we) do. It's true, in as personal and private as I am, with my customers, who are really like family members I share a very intimate, close relationship, perhaps unbeknownst to even them. But in each dish, each meal experience, I am tailoring it with my thoughts, my stories, my favorite music. Essentially I am imbuing it with my love. There are glimpses of my romanticism, hints of my sensuality and tenderness. I would like to believe its colored by my creativity and marked by my sense of responsibility and work ethic. I am dedicated and fulfilled in a sense. I am sharing, giving out my love. I am grateful for you who choose to receive. Love.

My Kitchen Sounds Like: "Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" by Nina Simone


Travel is great for the palette. There are tastes from the Caribbean, Dubai and Kenya that have found their way to my plate and in my food memory bank. For those times when travel is not possible in the moment, research is the next best thing. Whenever food is beginning to become "stale", we pick a country, a technique, a food memory, or regional food/dish and hop in the truck and go on a food field trip as I like to call them. Yes, its true, they are not the same as having the authenticity that one may receive from say being in the region, with the atmosphere and people. These opportunities however allow me to have what I choose and still have the open experiences of the chef/restaurant offering up their interpretation of home and what that means to them. I almost exclusively stick to family restaurants, no chains, no fast food joints. When I can, I talk with the Chef, get to know them and if the vibe offers, ask to be taught what I love on their menu. In turn my food experience becomes richer, therefore hopefully ensuring that what I am then able to share is that much more rich and varied.  I am able to share (hopefully) the best parts of my enrichment. The excitement, the textures and colors that stood out, the tastes..oh yeah...the tastes. I can offer my own variation of it all in a way that is familiar and intimate to me. Just last month alone I believe we tried over 60 different dishes and techniques based on our research. In as much as I do this, I live this. And that essentially is my training, a training that only grows. These 2 weeks our "research" has included Southern Indian, Ethiopian, Chinese and Trinidadian. Fun times behind, even more fun times ahead. Love.

My Kitchen Sounds Like: "Around the World In A Day" by Prince                                     

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Yummy Bites/Gursha

Recently I have been exploring food culture and rituals with our children. Connecting ideas of unity, consideration, sharing, community and respect for the importance of the moment. Through personal experience and study, I am constantly reacquainted with the Ethiopian ritual of Gursha. Gursha which translates as "mouthful" is the act of hand feeding another. With a heightened sense of awareness this act of Gursha conveys much more than the seemingly simple act of sharing food. Within this ritual lies principles of trust, thoughtfulness and interconnectedness. What a perfect lesson and experience to teach young children. It is my understanding that the traditional practice of Gursha is a means of expressing openness. In our interactions we are essentially "ingesting", sharing and/or being exposed to one anther's presence, essence, aura, personality, words, etc. In each exchange there is potential for trust, indeed, vulnerability. On one hand, receiving Gursha is to be vulnerable and trusting of the hands and the person that is serving. In exchange, to be the giver expresses trustworthiness, tenderness, selflessness and consideration. The physical manifestation of Gursha is a bridge to connect the subtleties of spirit and senses. to explain that to 2-5 year olds.

Children are, (at least mine are) very aware of what they like. So we start there. Find the yummiest bite on your plate. Make it up, just the way you like it. How you want to see it. What you want it to taste and feel like. Make it the best bite ever. Now before you place it in your mouth, find someone at the table you enjoy sharing with. Now give them your yummy bite. Yeah..give it...its OK. Now, how did that make each of you feel?

These rituals we hold onto and carry forward with the hope that the experiences, the lessons can transcend beyond the dinner table and extend to and influence how we relate to one another in life. Cheers to yummy bites and the sharing thereof. Love

My Kitchen Sounds Like: "Perdido" by Duke Ellington