In most of my interactions, regardless of circumstance, I always try to find common ground. My “philosophy,” if I can be allowed to call it that, is elegantly simple: everyone, without exception, has a story worth telling. And if those I engage in conversation with are willing to shed their guardedness and generously offer me a synopsis of their life, I’ll willingly invest some time listening to them.
Throughout my career, I’ve had the privilege of working for and being engaged by an eclectic array of companies and organizations. This professional diversity has gifted me insights into professions, industries, and businesses that would likely have eluded me otherwise.
Consequently, I love discovering shared experiences with almost everyone I have a conversation with, especially with fellow travelers in transit or at hotels.
And thanks to having worked at several hotels during my 20s and then being hired for film and photography gigs by hospitality companies in my 40s and 50s, it doesn’t take long for me to find common ground with just about anyone working at the hotels I stay at.
Naturally, the more shared ground I uncover with strangers, the keener my interest becomes. And should it unfold that our mutual interests extend to the artistic realm, a casual conversation might even metamorphose into a creative collaboration.
In general, for whatever reason, my propensity often veers toward the narratives of ordinary folks. An inclination that illuminates my preference for dining in unpretentious, family-owned eateries where authenticity flows from within the walls, tables, and chairs. The absence of pretentious embellishments allows the food, unburdened by elaborate culinary theatrics, ostentatious plating, or superfluous decor, to eloquently speak for itself.
It’s in such unassuming locales, exemplified by the photo above captured late last night, where I tend to have the most indelible and gratifying dining experiences. Where the focus remains steadfastly on flavor from authentic, traditional, everyday cooking.
Throughout my six decades, I’ve certainly enjoyed a dozen or so fine-dining experiences in the US, Europe, and Asia. Albeit unquestionably memorable occasions, none of them have left me feeling inspired or influenced my cooking very much. Which might be a tell-tale sign of my inability to adopt new ideas into our kitchen…
My life’s narrative, essentially a chronicle of playing the cards I was dealt as best as I could, often leaves me unreceptive to ostentation. From a purely creative standpoint, I’ve learned that it is within confined boundaries that the truly remarkable emerges. Keep it simple…