Why I teach at Dublin? I just recently had the opportunity to cook for an Assisted Living Community and found the experience very rewarding. I thought seniors would be very inflexible to any kind of new culinary experience, I was completely wrong and happily surprised. It is the goal of every culinary professional to reach his or her audience, too create an experience that is enjoyed, remembered and if you get it just right, transformative.
I grew up in a European household, sit up straight, no elbows on the table, use your napkin not your sleeve, proper dining etiquette. Holidays and special occasions were greeted with lavish plate settings of Royal Copenhagen china, our family’s best silverware and glassware that chimed when toasts of well wishes were made. Out of that experience came an understanding, appreciation and respect for food, dining and the importance of sharing meals with family, friends and sometimes strangers.
Some of the most important times of one’s life are spent at tables dining with people. Your family, friends, first love, your first real job, your first college choice, and of course your next love, job, grad school. My goal is to help our students be confident in social situations involving food. If you are going to get the job, your first college choice or the girl or guy, one stands a much better chance if you are not stabbing at your plate with a fork or chasing the green pea around with a spoon. We try to present dishes from all over the world so that our young people can speak intelligently about food even when the cultural food has to compete with the likes of chicken fingers and mac & cheese, “feeding teenagers”; not an easy task.
I try to imagine what the world will be like when our students approach their forties and fifties, if all goes well there will be 10 billion people on this planet, sustainability, local, eating a diverse diet, are not just catch phrases, they will be an integral part of feeding a planet overflowing with people. I hope to impress upon our young people to become involved, much like recycling was to my generation, sustainability will be part of their life’s work.
I teach at Dublin because in the spring when we plant our vegetable gardens with seeds, I know that this community of young people will be right there next to me getting dirt under their fingernails.