I’ve been asked that question a lot lately. Why a blog? Why social media? Why Twitter? Are you looking for a new job? Why are you doing this? When do you have time? What are you trying to accomplish?
I’m 57 years old and I grew up in Northern Italy near the border of what was then Yugoslavia. I grew up where politics were very black and white with no shades of grey, and if you didn’t agree totally one way or another, you were labeled, vilified, given a hard time. I am a man of reason, one who tries to see both sides of the story and yet, when I would try to explain these things to classmates or co-workers, I was told I was something I wasn’t. I hated that and so I dreamed of America…where I could be free to voice my thoughts, where it wasn’t unheard of to see both sides to a story.
My mother and father deeply influenced me and my cooking, especially my mother Adelia. She had stories to tell too. Stories that weren’t happy ones, but tales of war, repression, hunger and anxiety. Since my youngest days, I feel I’ve lived 100 lives. I’ve traveled to Egypt and all over Italy. I moved my family across an ocean and over mountains to reside in first Scottsdale, Arizona and ending up in Los Angeles, where I’ve remained for many years.
I think I have some stories to tell and so I started the blog. I don’t write often and when I do, it is in Italian or badly spelled English with atrocities of grammar that I know are wrong. Those written sketches are run through my iPhone’s translator, then sent to my daughter to fix because I won’t trouble anyone with anything less that what is correct. My daughter Chiara takes a first pass, checking the grammar, the English and punctuation. After that, my friend Gina goes through it and with her writer’s eye, changes the order of words or reminds me of something I told her that might make it better or stronger. At the end, it comes back to me, by email then it is read aloud to me so that I truly am ok with what gets posted up. A collaborative effort yes, but still 100% me. It is difficult and time-consuming but I feel it is important. I have stories to tell, food to share, people to talk to.
My life has been spent in the kitchens of some of the greatest restaurants. It can be a lonely life, tucked away in the kitchen with my focus solely on the dishes I create. As much as I love what I do; I truly love cooking – it is my all-consuming passion, it does somewhat cut me off from the normal world. A chef’s hours are starting when other people are finishing. Our weekends are not for rest, they are for work. Holidays? Those are the busiest of work days.
I think social media is a marvel that brings the world to my kitchen. I can have all those friendly relationships that I would love to have if I weren’t so busy cooking and so tired when I get home. I don’t have to worry about my heavily accented English or whether or not someone understands me because it is all there in the photos of my food, the videos enhanced with another friend’s (Alan Ishii) musical compositions. I know that the relationships I create online are real and it gives me a chance to know the world around me. It is another way to share my passion for food.
So why a blog? Why social? Because I have stories to tell, plates to share and friends to make.