I’ll admit that I was nervous to turn something I’ve considered a personal hobby into a professional career. I’ve always been of the mind-set that if one turns a personal passion into work then the initial appeal would disappear and soon one might start resenting the very thing he/she loved. Up until this year, I prided myself on keeping work and pleasure compartmentalized. It may be too soon to tell if taking the culinary path will, eventually, fall into this category but I can say that the journey, this far, has already been eye opening.
The more time I have spent researching the food industry over the years the more I find it hard to swallow the mainstream practices in mass production. As most of us are well informed, in order to feed the masses and reap huge financial benefits, short cuts occur which not only affect our physical health but radically deplete our resources and hurt the environment as well. From a producer’s perspective, it’s not easy to make quality products in a space where the marketing voice across the nation comes from Tyson Foods, Monsanto and Smithfield Foods.
This week I watched Vegucated, an insightful documentary addressing common practices in our farm animal industry and meat processing. The perspective is from a vegan who selects three devoted meat eaters in New York and has them follow a vegan diet for a few weeks while educating them on the US meat industry during that time. I chose to watch it as I’m on a food learning binge for Eat Seattle’s educational side. I have no intention of being a devoted vegan or vegetarian but I’m certainly moved to avoid mass industry meat as much as possible. And it isn’t easy…with this in mind I decided to come up with a moist and flavorful veggie burger recipe.
A few weeks ago, I was chatting with one of Eat Seattle’s produce vendors when a chef in his 60’s wearing his black chef’s coat assertively joined into our conversation; eager to know more about the Eat Seattle culinary experience. His name is Brendan. To sum it up as concisely as possible, Brendan is an accomplished hockey player (originally Canadian), ex-lawyer, army vet, publisher of the cookbook “Brothers in the Kitchen”, French culinary graduate, world traveler, business consultant and teacher with over 25 year of culinary experience. It’s no wonder why he joins random conversations in the street as he has a lot to say. In any case, it was easy to like Brendan…we could relate to our ice skating adventures, our Canadian background, time spent in France and, of course, food.