One of the first things I ever tried to cook from scratch was a soup. A beef and vegetable soup. It was not very good and it annoyed my that it wasn’t. I had no knowledge of food science at this point in my life and it annoyed me that it wasn’t good. “What else could I have done?” I had a lot to learn. I have always been inquisitive by nature. I have asked “Why?” about everything for as long as I can remember. The idea of knowing why something is the way it is, to me, holds untold amounts of information that are very exciting. This constant searching and learning has led me to all types of jobs, friends, places and ways of thinking. My friends and family know me as someone who changes their mind a lot, but what they fail to see is that I change my mind because I have come across new information that has led me down a new path. To me, stagnation is death. There is no learning without change. Without change there is no growth.
My first job was a dishwasher in a restaurant. It was just a place I worked at and I had ZERO interest in cooking. I moved up in the restaurant world and did some lien cooking but it was just a job. When I moved out on my own I had to eat so I would make simple things. I would play at cooking when I was bored. I would get a steak and make it and eat it. I’d make a soup for that week. I didn’t take it seriously. I’m not exactly sure when, but I began to watch a lot of food shows. Cooking competitions and so on. But the more food I saw and the various ingredients caused me to look more into it. Instead of the competition shows I began to seek out food documentaries. I got books on food. The more I learned the more I became fascinated. But it was still just for fun.
Eventually, my interest was so much that I re-joined the restaurant business and started cooking again. And I did that for awhile. But it wasn’t enough. Cooking at most places is not learning so I applied to culinary school. I was accepted and completely joyous. However around that time I was also offered a job at a very prestigious country club. This job is one you get AFTER the schooling, so to be offered that I took that instead of going to school. Working there was an education in itself. I was surrounded by state of the art equipment and some of the finest ingredients. I learned a lot. But restaurants attract people who do don’t have that same passion and the negativity in that place was palpable and not worth it. I stayed a few months before moving on. I worked in more restaurants but the joy I had learning on my own was never matched by the job. I ended up leaving the restaurant industry confused. I loved cooking and loved food but I hated working in restaurants. What was I supposed to do? Years of my life were spent working in an industry that I don’t enjoy. My resume looks great but only if I’m applying for a restaurant job. So, I stopped cooking. Even at home I didn’t enjoy it as much. It was just a reminder that I couldn’t do it as a career. But one day I realized just that- For me to cook as a career I would have to MAKE MY CAREER, open my own restaurant and run it the way I believe they should be run. That’s what I’m working on now.
The reason I don’t enjoy the way most restaurants are ran and how they operate is because my passion for food goes hand in hand with my deepest beliefs. Life is precious. Nature is the most sacred thing on Earth and I have a deep love for nature. I think all life should be respected. Animals and plants that are used as food are used in such a way that the respect for that life is lost. The symbiotic relationship between people and the Earth is summed up on what’s we eat. The quality of food we take from nature is directly related to HOW we take it from nature. Years ago, everyone ate what was growing at that time. We ate with the seasons. Now, crops are grown with chemicals and the time of year and quality of soil do not matter. We are forcing our planet to grow things in an un-natural way. Organic farming doesn’t do that and the taste it shows. Animals raised in inhumane ways, forced to eat terrible things to become fat sooner. On the other hand, you have Kobe beef and other types that live a life of luxury and the taste and quality is so good that they are incredibly expensive. Nature gives us what we give nature. Years ago, my grandpa taught me when hunting that if you stress out the deer while hunting it the meat will be bad. This is the same thing. When we harvest from nature naturally and in a respectful way, organically, seasonally, moderately, we will get much better food. Both in taste and nutrients.
We, as a society, have lost this because we have stopped asking questions, especially, about our food. Where did it live? How did it live? What did our food eat? What we eat is what we fuel our body with and we should only be giving ourselves the best. Having a piece of fruit that is in season and grew organically versus a commercially grown one is almost a religious experience. In France, not too long ago, humane, natural foie gras won versus force-fed foie gras in a blind taste test. The methods used today for our food don’t work except to make more profit for companies that don’t care.
This is why I cook. Because uses ingredients in such a way that almost pays homage to nature and what it has provided is amazing. it is my goal to have a restaurant that shows people how much better food tatses when it is natural, seasonal and humane. Being humane and gentle on the earth and our food sources is not only great for those plants and animals but also for us. We have got to start thinking about what is best for us. The Earth will give us everything we need and more. We just need to return the favor.