All of us have fears. Myself, I fear heights. The fear is very real for myself and sometimes debilitating. Someone like an avid climber or a base jumper would ridicule me for my fear and claim it could easily be conquered.
I also fear snakes. A person who works with snakes and has a passion for them could not understand my fear I am sure. They too would presume that with a little effort my fear of the slimy, creepy crawlers could be conquered.
I am a Chef. I dream and live food day in and day out. It seems to be pumping through my bloodstream, a deep rooted passion for all things food and all things delicious. In my line of work I cook for people, this is what I do. Doing so brings me much satisfaction and reward. Many people I have encountered have had very real "food fears" as I call them.
In a recent interview for a Chef position the owner and I were discussing my idea of food and style of cooking. He looked at my portfolio and listened to my ideas. He then commented "I won't eat anything I don't recognize and sure won't order from a menu that I don't know what it is. " At the time I could not help but think that was a very arrogant comment and narrow frame of mind. But after a little thought I understand that statement, he has food fears.
By engaging our fears we can all find new ways to experience things and the possibility of experiencing something that we really really enjoy is increased dramatically. I still have food fears, I am "afraid" you could say of certain foods that I have not tried; perhaps fried worms or brains, tripe and head cheese. These all sound horrible and are a bit extreme to Americans. However I bet that once I muster the strength to try them all, there will be at least one that I find tastes amazing. Maybe not one of these, but point being that the willingness to continue to try new things will lead to the discovery of many things that are desirable and enjoyable.
My goal and purpose I feel as a Chef is to teach people along the way. I want to serve people new tastes, new flavors, new experiences. I want to teach them not to be afraid of food, because food is so versatile, so fun, so open. A single ingredients can be prepared in a million different ways, a good chance that of those you will like many, even if you are not liking the ingredient. Foods can be manipulated and flavored to be different than what you are used to. I want to show people that they can learn to like something they are afraid of, that they can find something they never thought they liked, that it can be good. I want people to lose their fears of foods and be open minded, travel out of the box and journey through life with a taste for many foods!
If I can do this then I have done my job. After this inspirational lecture, I think I am going to find me a base diver to give me some lessons on the joys of heights! I know I can do it! Happy eating!