Updated: Jan 9
Since the turn of the century I have been a Chef. I have often wondered why, what lead me to this career and passion?
My answers to myself have ranged from, wanting more family meals, wanting to eat like the wealthy and experience abundance, never being "into" what my parents graciously provided for us (we were spoiled in
hindsight)as far as food.
Then moving out at 15 years old, food was much more important and scarce. I was a new Dad and the only way to have enough for my family was to go without food myself and when the opportunity was there, a food pantry at the church we attended and I volunteered at when I wasn't working at Dominick's or the Gas station on Belmont and Kedzie and finally saw food as nourishment, not luxury.
I took the occasional side work, mostly physical- unskilled labor with Ernesto, my daughter's Grandfather. He was a good man at heart and would pull over to give the sandwich from his lunch or the last few dollars in his wallet to homeless people that he always seemed to have an eye out for.
It is inspiring, to do good for others and expect nothing but the deed.
Later (15 years later) on to CHIC at the turn of the century. My crew, my school Le Cordon Bleu Chicago and friends I have to this day. Chef John Byrne was my 101 teacher as well as my Fish and Shellfish teacher. He was another great man, a former homicide officer from NY ended up attending CIA and finished his career as a Chef. He also had a habit of wrapping up our practicals and personally drove them to one of many Chicago homeless shelters.
He would pace behind us fine tuning our attempts while reminding us, "Make it right! We dont want to give somebody a bad meal because they're down on thier luck!"
" Yes Chef!!" we answered in unison.
It seems to me, all things considered that is why I do this and love it. Food plays a significant role in all of our lives. Perspective is everything, without tough times I would have felt entitled or been ungrateful for everything I have been blessed with. The people who exemplify this move me to do more on a continuous basis. My wife, our parents, our mentors and so many others live it.Thanks to all who have assisted, encourage, inspire and bring joy to others.
My purpose is to make a difference in the lives of others, because I choose it. Making sure every unnoticeable detail is not overlooked in my pastry or food. Telling a joke or coming around the corner with a plated dessert or just a good deed in general, to give freely is exhilarating. This career has enabled me to do more good for others than I ever would have imagined (thank you Kitchen Life). It is an honor to be a part of this industry and the many kitchen families I have been fortunate enough to experience as my own.
Be good to each other and if circumstances arise, be great for each other.
Treat yourself well and always Follow Your Bliss ❤️