Even though I’m quite possibly the furthest you can get from being Japanese. There is just something about ramen that makes me feel like I’m home. It’s like a warming of the soul in a lot of ways. Nothing too overly dramatic and romantic, but simple and loving, like nostalgia. It takes me back to the smell of my grandma’s house and the warmth and care of chicken broth simmering on her stove.
Recently at Ipuddo, one of my favorite places to go for ramen, I realized the true connection that I have with it. Because even in the midst of the zoo like atmosphere, where you have hundreds of people flying past you in the blink of a two hour wait, it becomes clear that it’s really just all about the soup. It’s the heat, steam, and aromas of the broth. The texture of the noodles and from the start of the first bite all the way through to the finish of the last slurp, it’s about the feeling it gives me. It’s about how even in the middle of a cultural collision from two very opposite sides of the spectrum; I am able to find this connection. I am able to find, quite simply, the love that gets put into ramen soup that makes it great! And why every time I dip my senses into a bowl of it, I’m always left with the feeling of satisfaction and home.
Why am I here talking about how I live food? I think it's because I need an outlet to express my food experiences. Because, after 14 years of working in the industry as a cook and chef, in restaurants like Tabla, Morimoto and Eleven Madison Park, I have gained tremendous experience and perspective when it comes to food and how people interact with it. Not just with regard to the preparation and the rigorous psychotic ballet that cooking on a NYC line develops, but more importantly, I have gained perspective on how food interacts with people. That exchange, is what food in general is all about. It's about the process of experiencing food from start to finish and from culture to culture. And I think that is the story I want to tell with regard to how I live food. That it's not just about the cooking or the eating or even just the place that you call home... It's about the entire process, and the entire process on a global scale.
That is the relationship I want to focus on, because that relationship is how I live and interact with food. Its why I wake up every day and put on my chef whites, its the same reason I go to farmers markets, experience different restaurants around New York City and even travel abroad to places like China and Costa Rica. All of those things are a part of how I live food and that is the story I want to tell.