For some strange reason my trip back to my hometown this time around was like starring in an episode of the Twilight Zone. I was literally in a time warp witnessing life rapidly advanced before my very eyes – suddenly transported or pushed into the future. In fact my flight was more of a time travel that brought me years ahead into the future rather than being my simple annual visit to see my family. Everyone that I have had a chance to see here has in some form physically changed from the last time I’ve encountered them. How could this have happened so quickly and how have I’ve never ever noticed it before? Within a span of two years, everyone and everything has physically gone through a noticeable aging process which means that I too must have aged dramatically in the eyes of others… and that sudden realization has hit me hard. I am no longer the person who I thought I was while instead I’ve become myself in the future. That means that I too must have grown up and have become older…. much older. Why is this so shocking? I guess I’ve always continued to view myself and everyone else around me as the youthful, energetic, starry-eyed, idealistic 20 year olds. Now does that mean that I should wake up a face reality? The aging process is sometimes still a surprising reality for me. I have subconsciously tried to ignore it but obviously can no longer avoid it.
Today I overheard (perhaps eavesdropping is the proper word but it was definitely not intentional) a conversation between two strangers while leaving the gym this morning. I caught portions of a dialogue between a man and a woman in a very private conversation in a public environment – it was exactly like a scene within a movie. What caught me was the frank emptiness leaking from the male figure’s voice and in his physical demeanor while the consoling female tried to provide a bit of advice in order to alleviate him from his disposition. The brief dialogue went somewhat like this:
Female: Is it because you are lonely?
Male: ….uh… yeah I don’t know what to do.. about… this…
Female: You should really definitely think of social clubs or activities with other people like you.
Male: ….. Can’t get this feeling out of myself… maybe should…. I’ve stopped taking the ant-depressants you know….
Female: … okay… maybe you should….
Male: maybe should….
That was basically the entire moment that I was able to witness and yet it struck me kind powerful. It was not a huge conversation but it was the sparseness of it which added to the moment. It was the placement of these two bodies in that tight space that intrigued me as well. Even though they were in a rather intimate conversation, there was a huge distance between the two. They were definitely not in the same place in their lives. The tin-like tone along with the time it took the male to deliver his words molded his whole being. The intense sadness of loneliness was coming out of that man and it was clear he that was losing himself somewhere within. He was void of who he was and could not find the path of getting back to himself. He seemed to be drowning in his sense of nothingness. It was a very quiet and soft cry for rescue that was heard loud and clear by only a few.
I am back again reflecting about what I want to achieve for the next 40 or could it be 50? years of my life. There are so many possibilities and projects that I still need to see realized. Dance is still a strong and uncanny passion that will never be abandoned from my being. There is much more that I NEED to say therefore I am planning to get back into the studio very soon. I already have a few projects that are swirling around my head/heart/stomach and loins just waiting to get out. I’ve missed the creative environment in the studio with crazy courageous dancers and collaborators. The craziness in the kitchen is intense and fun however I do miss a certain sense of magic. Still have a deep appreciation and love of cooking but I am looking for ways to balance these two things that I do in my life. I have come to realize that I am able to achieve anything that I want to if it peaks my curiosity to learn. I guess that is the answer…. I need have to have fun, continue to learn, and to make art. BALANCE of the practical and the impractical will always make me happy…. makes sense doesn’t?
While walking around just recently, I had a sudden realization of how much love I have for Montreal (my adopted home for the last 17 years! – nuts). This city is remarkable with all of its history, politics, architecture, and language issues. It truly is the most fascinating, contradictory, passionate, artistic, and sexy place in North America… and it is where I call home! My neighbourhood is a melting pot of nations, styles, incomes, and professions. There is an incredible Montrealer and Quebecers pride that one doesn’t find anywhere else in Canada. The people are as diverse as they are the same. They are beautiful, ugly. pleasant. rude, aggressive. fun but not apathetic to their beliefs. Aesthetics, politics, and lifestyles may differ however the majority of us sing, scream, laugh, dance, drink, and fuck with all of their souls! Now that is what I call the spirit of living – Nous sommes vraiment les Bons Vivants. I am proud and happy to be part of and to share this wonderful place with my fantastic friends, family and fellow Montréalers!
The days are counting down. Cooking school is almost over and now I must face what the restaurant world has to offer and what it is that I have to give to the food universe. Even though I am so ready to bolt out of school right now, I know this is only the beginning of my journey. Like many things, being in school is the easy part, the test begins in a month and a half when I will be looking for work in the best kitchens in the city.
Just read an excerpt from Anthony Bourdain’s new book and he said that if you are at least 34 years of age and are thinking of a career in the kitchen…. it would be best to forget about it cause you are just too damn old! Forget about it? Are you kidding me? Holy shit, I’m a decade older than this suggested age limit and I find myself in the middle of embarking into this crazy career. Is he really serious? Am I out of my mind? Am I past my prime to be cooking? Really? Well he must’ve been talking about your average joes in this world and that my friends, I’m definitely not part of that gang. Yes of course, I am probably truly out of my mind so… Fuck it – that is my motto. I’ve started and there is no looking back now! I know that I’m still physically fit enough to work in this demanding environment and I’m creative enough to make great tasting food. Very passionate, inspired and continually to be motivated to the making and eating of amazingly tasty food. I gather at least that makes me ahead of the curve.
Autumn is definitely knocking on the door today. The wind and skies are churning with a mix of chill along with pinches of rain. Very intense and so exciting. It is brewing into something thick and rich. The summer has been incredible here with the sunny hot days and bountiful food and drinks with friends and loved ones.
Here are a few images of some of the food that I’ve been eating. There are plenty of more but these are from the restaurant Latitude and a Shanghai place called Lucky Time.