Charlottesville and its foodways
I am inspired by its history. I am amazed at the
generations of families that have lived here for over a hundred years. I
embrace the local traditions and admire the local’s knowledge. Of course, I’ll
never be a ‘local’ no matter how long I live here and I respect that. I really
love the sense of community, the common goals of promoting our culinary history.
It’s very comforting to me. I am very committed to my small town and I feel small
acts are appreciated. I want to step up to the plate and be a good neighbor/
friend….I strive to be an asset to my wonderful small town. As a chef – food
and its preparation can help with that idea.
But how to go about it?
The advice I like to give young chefs, or really anybody
who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for
amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for
the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are
not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the
process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re
sitting around trying to dream up a great idea about food, you can sit there a
long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will
occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you
reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely
unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea
before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case. Get
started and set a course for yourself.
Perhaps plant a garden. Or visit the farmers market and see
what our neighbors are growing. Try and
prepare some at home. Or Dine in one of
many of the wonderful restaurants in town that are actively participating in
our wonderful heratige. The local food movement may be just the ticket to save
food traditions and plant varieties that are on the brink of becoming a museum
piece. As people shift their focus back to their specific region and place,
they rediscover the foods that grow specifically and sometimes exclusively in
that particular area, foods that their predecessors knew well. Recovering food
sources goes hand in hand with recovering food traditions: old methods of
growing foods, recipes, folklore, festivals, and other ways to honor local,
whole food and culture.