Feeling as though you have finally found your place in the world, yet at the same time, feeling as though you are completely out of your league. That is how I feel when attending the International Association of Culinary Professionals conference each year. I love the ease of being around people who share your similar passion for food, and who are not at all miffed when you stop to take pictures of all of the plates on the table before eating a meal. You can plan for dinner, while still eating lunch. Exchanging business’s cards and ideas, as well as learning from experts. That is what the days are filled with at this event.
The experts are the ones, that initially made me feel as though I was totally out of my league. As a relative newcomer to the professional food world, sitting in the same room with Thomas Keller, Maxime Bilet and Joyce Goldstein is utterly amazing. Not to diminish any of these people’s accomplishments, but when they begin to speak, you realize that your commonality far outweigh your differences. To hear an accomplished chef, speak with the enthusiasm of a small child on Christmas morning, when describing the freshness of the pea juice he extracted from the vegetable with a centrifuge, made me smile. I know that feeling. I get it often in the kitchen when something tastes especially wonderful or looks spectacularly beautiful. I get it! The passion for your craft, the discovery of new techniques and flavors. It is what binds us all together, despite the kitchen in which we are cooking.
Needless to say, the trip was fantastic, the scenery, food and camaraderie were unmatched. I also gained a new found respect for the people of the Bay Area. There passion for freshness and quality in the food they prepare and consume is inspiring. I hope to implement these new ideas in my own kitchen, moving forward.
I hope you will enjoy the small sampling of the photographs I took while on my trip to the west coast. Each of these pictures moves and inspires me in their own special way. Enjoy, and remember to always make every plate something to be passionate about!