I’ve been having a crisis of faith, recently.
Not about this week, with Passover and Easter coming – though there is some angst there that is in tomorrow’s post (lucky you!)
But about the value in what I do.
I write, mostly about food. I interview people and build recipes and am a part of the pop culture world that partly gives me the willies. I was never the one to know what restaurant was hot and worth going to. I’m still not, really, other than that I now know about 50 chefs who are creating amazing food. I don’t like going out to eat to be seen. And did you know that chef groupies are a thing now? Quelle horreur!
I want the work I do to have value. I want to be a part of something because it contributes, because it helps give our world shape, and because it connects people on a visceral level. And while food does that in intimate and beautiful ways, it’s also become such an eye-rolling point of focus in New York that I want to yawn and pour a whiskey and watch Frasier or something.
That is, until I actually sit down and work.
I’ve always been interested in studying what makes people tick, and how they live with passion, which is why I studied acting, and teach children, and traveled to Ireland to make a pitch documentary on street performers there, and produced shows, and now write about people who make food. I don’t see myself as a creator as much as an observer or editor, and I want to be a mirror for people to lift up so that they know their work has value.
So when I transcribe and edit down these interviews, I’m reminded that there is a reason why I want to continue doing what I’m doing. I write about people who make food not because it’s trendy; my honest dream would be to travel and report on what’s happening on family tables in the most remote corners of the globe. But I live in New York, and until I publish my first collection or ghost-write for a chef I admire or land that first big, non-digital magazine spread, I’m going to have to keep chugging along…
And with what I get to do, that’s not hard.
My past three interviews were all special ones: Amanda Cohen is not only the chef/owner of veggie-focused Dirt Candy, but she’s also written a stellar cookbook and has a sharp, incredibly amusing voice on her blog. Chef/owner Will Horowitz of Ducks Eatery works alongside his younger sister, is a practicing Buddhist and is fascinated by travel, trade and heritage techniques, so naturally I felt a chill vibe in his place. And chef/owner Masaharu Morimoto is surprisingly easy to speak with, and much more humorous than his cross-armed Iron Chef persona.
I’m so lucky to do what I get to do.
Check out these recent interviews by clicking their names, above, or on their images, below. And go to my profile on Serious Eats for links to the 50+ chefs Brent and I have worked with thus far.