Whether dining at a tea house in Nepal, or a top restaurant in Paris, there's an un-breakable thread that weaves itself around the world and connects every single one of us here on earth. That is the food we grow, nurture, create and inspire with. I also can't forget to mention the joy of eating it, but in each of those actions we are sharing a love of life and the fuel that we all need to make it through another day.
This kind of love and the passion that comes along with it is so much more than the movies have led us to believe it is. With food it begins each spring as a farmer prepares their fertile earth to receive this years seeds and a rancher preparing to birth their calves in the summer. It's the knowledge that people around the world depend on you for nourishment and that you have dedicated your entire life to making sure that they receive it. It's a small dairy creating magical triple cream cheeses that glaze your tongue with that delightfully sinful layer of fat and heavenly cream that lingers tantalizingly before your next sip of wine, or even the winemaker bottling that vintage the year before.
Food can be something transcendent that creates an unbreakable web that binds complete strangers who may never meet one another in a way that forever changes them and the way they see the world from that moment forwards. That instant that you discover a new range of full, new and exciting flavors that you can't wait to try again and share with your loved ones.
Food has become like the fashion runways of New York or London. So full of fashion, politics, criticisms and ego that at times it's hard to remember why we are all here in the first place. And, just like clothing fashion, there are items that most people get right away, others that very few understand and some that maybe just the creators themselves truly get. The greatest part of it all is that someone was brave enough to try something new, to combine flavors that at first might seem strange and in the end might one day be something as accepted as peanut butter and jelly.
That's one of the most fascinating parts of going out to eat out at a new restaurant or to try a new cuisine you might be completely unfamiliar with. That personal expression of creativity present in every kitchen that comes from a chefs' love of cooking and feeding others. The long hours, the inherent danger, and (until recently) very little prestige were not what kept a chef in their kitchen, it was their passion.
That's one of the most fascinating parts of going out to eat out at a new restaurant or to try a new cuisine you might be completely unfamiliar with. That personal expression of creativity present in every kitchen that comes from a chefs' love of cooking and feeding others. The long hours, the inherent danger, and (until recently) very little prestige were not what kept a chef in their kitchen, it was their passion. A drive to create beautiful things for you and others to eat. Whether the menu was created that night, or took months to perfect: different styles, philosophies, ingredients and locations are all based on that warm fuzzy feeling that first drove them into their first kitchen to learn to create beautiful food.
Even with so many reality shows documenting what happens behind the kitchen doors (obviously not usually in the most realistic sense) it can feel like there is actually a black hole where the suddenly completed dish appeared from. The kitchen is a sanctuary, a place that many guests rarely frequent, and when they do, it's for the briefest glimpse of the men and women behind the scenes.
During a meal all of the literal blood sweat and tears that happens behind the closed doors is forgotten the moment something doesn't meet an expectation. Of course we all go out to eat for pleasure, to be decadent, to spoil ourselves. Otherwise we could just make a chicken breast and some steamed veggies at home that night. We go out to eat because we want to see magic happen. We want to be treated, taken care of, and we expect perfection.
So what do you do in a world that is imperfect, where sometimes an awesome restaurant has a bad night, or where the menu just didn't do it for you? This is the tricky part, especially as the prices go up, price and expectation are closely linked in this case. When more money is being spent, it can sometimes feel the sky high expectations can never be met. This is where a shared love of food should be remembered. You are there because you love food and want to dine well, and the Chef is there because they want to share beautiful delicious creations with you. They want everything to be perfect maybe even more than you do, trust me. And if it's not, they truly do want to bend over backwards to make sure that you are having a blast with your husband, wife, lover, best friends or business partners.
It can be easy to lose sight of the months or maybe even years of preparation that went into the sequence of events that led you into that dining room on that particular night. And while usually everything will go according to plan, just remember that if it doesn't a little bit of love headed in the kitchens direction will go a long way for everyone involved. Remembering the love that began when the vegetables were planted, the pasta was made, the fish were caught, the sauce was made and the multiple iterations of a dish that were sampled before it finally got approved by chef for the menu is a part of completing that circle of love that began when the first seeds were covered by dark earth.