THE ART OF ITALIAN DINING
We are what we eat, and we cook who we are. – Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
Last week the calendar marked the 1 year anniversary of CULINARY MISCHiEF, the first underground dining
event in Phoenix, two years, since the opening of iL TOCCO, and 10 years since the start of my career.
It made me happy looking at the messages that some of the clients sent us, and I realized that there is nothing I love more than being able to create memories around a dinner table. To see the smiley faces of my clients, the surprise when they get their plates, the looks in their eyes when they first get a bite.
In fact, for those who know food, cooking is not a job, it’s a love affair. It’s not the prestige that brings them to the kitchen, it’s not the corner office, and it’s definitely not the paycheck. But in the hearts and minds of chefs they do have it all. What more is there than to come to your work every day in awe of the creations that come from your hands: to watch magic happen in front of your eyes, to feel nectars flow through your fingertips, to allow yourself to be seduced by every smell that leaves the pan and competes for your attention, to abandon your senses to the absolute beauty that lies before you in the form of food waiting to be transformed?
During travels domestically and throughout the world, I have found that food acts as a cultural ambassador of sorts, connecting us to the land, the seasons, the traditions, the livelihoods, the lifestyles, the art and history of the people. When food customs or recipes are shared, minds and hearts meet simultaneously. The mutual understanding is like owning a golden key to the lives of new people: it opens the door to their greatest devotions; it allows us an intimate peek into coveted family secrets.
Finding opportunities to cook in new places, seeking out food artisans who preserve the heirloom methods of making products, visiting organic farmers’ markets, eating family-style or at least lingering over dinners that last for hours in home or restaurants with local people- all these experiences afford us not only great pleasure, but also the opportunity to embrace diversity.
Every chef is a product of a place and a tradion. No matter where your suitcase of knives and pans takes you, these things can always be sensed in your food. They give it soul.
And this is exactly what I strive to do each time I prepare a dish: To give it soul. To inspire. To create memories.
P.S. a BIG thank you go to all my loyal foodies, who during all this time, became friends rather than clients. Thank you for all your support!