in our line of work...the professional culinary industry, we move in and out of all kinds of relationships. Some great, some not so great, and some, gone terribly bad. From our first day on the job or in the industry, we start to formulate these relationships without even realizing it. We form them with our cooks and the chef's we work for(with), we make close connections with the "suits" upstairs with whom we work for, or in the case of later on in our careers, as owners, ones we work side by side or in cases, even have working for us. We bond with our guests, the farmers and producers and artisans of the craft as well as other chef's in the business and other industry peers. As we grow and mature in our professional endeavors, we secure relationships with the community and society as a whole, just simply based on who we are and what we do on a daily basis in the public's eye. These relationships are very important to us as professional chefs as they are really a foundation of who we are. They help form and mold ourselves in the way of our personality, our outlook on life, our approach to cooking as a passion, a hobby and as a job. From those unique individuals with whom we meet along the way on our travels, we become more in tune with life and other cultures, other ways of doing things, other means of an approach to cooking and applying our technique and use of ingredients. I have met some of the most profound people along my walk in this lifetime, many of which have left a long-lasting impression on me, and all the while not losing sight of whom I am as a person, or my own identity as a chef. Sure, we can be easily influenced at times, and even so to the point of creating a negative affect on that identity, but if one has a solid vision, and not lose sight of who they are personally, all of those relationships will only enhance and embrace your own views and help filter out the ones that are just bs. Some of my relationships with farmers, fishermen, cheese makers and retailers, artisan wholesalers, and crafters of such, growers, ranchers and many, many people in between, have helped make me who I am as a chef, which I feel to be lucky to have met them. It is always sad when a relationship goes sideways. Sometimes it is for no real reason other than two or more individuals just seem to go their separate way at a juncture in life, but most of the time, it is for a specific reason. I always try to be honest, upfront, realistic and respectful to everyone I meet. That is what I was taught early on, yet from another key personal relationship in my life...my late mother. I truly feel that because of this upbringing, I have been successful in my life. Lately, a farmer relationship that I have had for the last 16 years, has changed. She will not be doing the "restaurant thing" anymore. It is just too tough. Too costly and time consuming. I can't say I blame her. She needs to spend time with her family. I will miss the great, wonderful produce she brought in every week for the last 2/3rds of my professional life, but with this split in the road, the relationship is not gone or done. We will forever be friends. We will just need to now cultivate another relationship for new farm-fresh and labored over from the heart ingredients. That is a part of life and something that will create a new excitement and experience for me and my crew. A journey if you will. So, the moral is, even though something looks like it is a downer, perhaps if we look at it optimistically, the glass just may be half full. In these times of challenge, we all need to be optimistic. Hang on to those relationships that have helped you along the way. Hand down that inspiration and guidance to others. Share the ideas and thoughts with them to build new relationships in the future as they will all most surely have a great effect on your own life, as well as others.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh so very true and very well put. You are truly an inspirational person who has changed who I am and I for one am thankful for that.

Keep being the wonderful person you are!

5:54:00 AM  
Blogger cuisinier said...

hello anon...thank you for your own words of praise and inspiration. It is truly this that I speak of. Even though we have not met, or perhaps we have, your statement alone stands as a testament to the ongoing and neverending need to be focused on those relationships and to stay positive. So...thank you!

11:47:00 AM  

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