I keep talking myself out of this. I suppose it’s my fear of the unknown, and that things can change so quickly. But I want to talk about my future in food. I also want to get into the conversation of food and place.
More so, the shift of food cultures.
I guess I’ve been afraid of comparing one place to another. There are layers of history and terrain and economics. While cooking in Portland, I grew to understand a lot of the growing seasons.
I guess I worry about making one place look better than the other. It would be unfair of me to do such a thing. We all have our homes and our sweet spots. There are some ways Portland really works, and I’d love to see those same things where I live as well. You get used to a certain quality of life, it is hard to move downward, in a way.
As a cook, and especially as a cook who cares about where his food comes from, being aware of the surroundings is one of the most important things you can do. What is it that people respond to? Where is there a need? What do people want?
I struggle with the lack of a local food movement. Or if there is one, it isn’t being promoted as much as it should. I suppose in Portland, you can be out picking up your dog’s crap and run into a farmer’s market. It’s easy to be spoiled in a place like Portland.
I dream about having my own place one day.
I know, I know.
Go ahead and talk me out of it. Tell me to do something better and easier with my life. I’m really trying to see it that way. Trust me. I’d love to move on and work on a different career where I didn’t have to work every weekend and night and miss out of things. Because that seems to be what people miss the most.
But there are lots of ways to do what you want to do. I feel like I’ve talked about this before.
I don’t feel like I’ll be shaking this off any time soon.
It’s not even that I want to be famous. Trust me, I like to be small, even though I am a big dude. I want to give people something better.
Look, it’s not that southern food here isn’t good. It’s some of the best. We have a built a truly unique food culture in the South. But there’s so much more. At the risk of sounding ridiculous, it could be so much cooler.
There’s a shift that might take some time. Price and product. Quality over quantity.
I want people to get into it.
I want people to get nerdy.
I want people to care.
I get excited at the idea.
I know what kind of napkins I want to use,
or what I want to hang on the walls.
I’m already to the point where I’m not going to be staging in a Michelin rated kitchen. Culinary school is still bleak, and I’m just not interested in it any more for the price.
There is certainly a lot to gain from working under super talented chefs in kitchens all over the world.
I suppose my head is swimming with ideas. Things that I want to do. Things I want to cook. I want to give people, like so many others do, something honest, simple and good.
It’s what I think about going to sleep at night, and I’m willing to sacrifice a lot to get there.
Why am I writing this? Because it’s important to me, and it’s important for me to connect with people. I want to feed them and I want them to feel taken care of. I want to give them the kind of experience that hooked me in.
If I have a gift for this, I want to give it away.
I am assuring myself, that things might change when I have less energy, but even then, it is meaningful work. It’s something I’m going to work towards, as well. I owe that to the place I call home, and wherever it is I end up digging deep.
A poem somewhere said to beware of the ones who dream while they are awake.
I am dreaming.
And though it is late, I am very much awake.