A great tajine from Ainad and my breakfast sandwich of champions with my home-made coriander/garlic mayonnaise. More eats are a coming!
It has taken me some time before being able to sit down and blog. Due to a recent tragic event, I have not been able to make a clear sense of things. Nothing ever prepares you for senselessness. My very dear friend Bernard passed away on February 11, 2010… There are things that are so unexpected and inexplicable in life that no form of analysis can ever resolve or answer the many unanswerable questions. All I can say is that Bernard was an amazingly generous, fun, crazy friend. Someone asked me once if the Personal Fitness Course that I took was a waste of time because I didn’t pursue it as a career in it. I replied: Are you kidding me? I might have found the fitness industry boring, insipid and stupid but I made a great lifelong friend from it. Absolutely no regrets as the choices we make often leads to other possibilities and meanings. Making choices informs you on life and if you are lucky, puts you onto the path of meeting the people that might one day be very important to you. Bernard was one of those very important unique people that I have had the privileged to have met and called a friend.
Bernard and his beautiful wife Carolynn were the best Bon vivants and I wanted to emulate their love of eating great food. drinking amazing wine, and traveling the world. Bernard always found a way to laugh at things when it was going bad and there was always the typical French comment attached to it: “C’est Con!” He always made me laugh.
Eating dinner at their place was always an eventful feast with fantastic food and wine. Each meal was more decadent than the other. Delicious Foie Gras, Cassoulet avec Canard, Fresh raw Oysters on a half shell, Saucisse Boudin (only started to enjoy it at Bernard and Carolynn’s), Fondues, Sushi nights are some of the typical meals with copious amounts wine that was enjoyed at Bernard and Carolynn’s. I always ended stomach full and lying on the couch afterwards while they continued to party on. I admired and continue to admire their endurance and great taste for all the good and simple things in life. Damn, if we could have only eaten and drank our way around the world together! Glad we had a chance to attempt to just that one night in Paris where we met up and ate, drank, and walked as much as we could within a 7 hour period. Didn’t have much time together but boy did we try to fill our stomachs as much as possible with the time that we had together. Man that was so fucking fun and so privileged to have shared it with these two beautiful people. It was extraordinary!
I devote my pursuit in the culinary arts to you Bernard. I will cook with the passion that you have instilled in me to appreciate food, wine, friends, and life to the utmost. Miss you very much my dear friend. Rest In Peace.
You are much loved and appreciated. Your friend, Tony
The making and eating of food has always been a passion and a way of life to me. I love the idea of creating good healthy meals and sharing it with people. I personally prefer the concept of ordering things for the table where everyone eats the same dishes rather than individually ordering a meal for themselves. Coming from an Asian culture, I grew up in an environment and culture where the central social activity was based around eating together. I essentially grew up being around, thinking and talking about food. My family’s social events were all rooted around cooking, eating and drinking. Since I was a child, I always observed the way my parents and other people prepared meals in the kitchen. I realized that I picked up habits by watching how others cooked. It is such a beautiful art form. As an artist in the performing arts, I have always been inventive, creative, daring and curious. I see an uncanny parallel with cooking to dance making. It takes hard work, creativity, passion and a joy in what you are doing to become successful in anything.
I am very familiar and aware that the restaurant business is difficult and entails hard stressful work. My romantic outlook on cooking is balanced equally with a very pragmatic side. My father worked all of his life in restaurants and he had his own restaurant for a number of years in Vancouver. I myself worked in my father’s restaurant along with other eating establishments for years as a cook, busboy, bartender, and waiter to pay my way through school. It is a very competitive milieu and it constantly takes an innovative, fun and fresh approach to be relevant.
TOURNEZ VOTRE REGARD VERS L’INTERIEUR …
Il était une fois une vieille dame qui avait laissé tomber son aiguille à coudre.
Pendant qu’elle la cherchait dans son jardin, un homme qui passait l’aida dans ses recherches.
Après quelque temps, ils n’avaient toujours pas retrouvé l’aiguille. L’homme demanda à la vieille dame l’endroit exact où elle avait laissé tomber l’aiguille.
” Oh, je l’ai laissé tomber à l’intérieur de la maison “, répondit-elle. Etonné, il lui demanda pourquoi diable la cherchait-elle dans le jardin car, bien sûr, elle ne la trouverait jamais !
Elle répondit qu’il faisait trop sombre dans sa maison, et que c’était la raison pour laquelle elle cherchait dehors, où il faisait plus clair.
La plupart d’entre nous sont comme cette vieille femme – nous cherchons notre bonheur perdu à l’extérieur de nous-même.
Nous avons le sentiment qu’il fait clair à l’extérieur, et que c’est là que se situe toute action ! Mais le bonheur ne peut pas être trouvé là.
Il peut être trouvé dans le calme et la tranquillité à l’intérieur de nous-même.
Le bonheur est notre condition naturelle, et la méditation notre état d’esprit naturel.
C’est à nous de découvrir ce qui est déjà à l’intérieur de nous.
I find dining whether in a restaurant, at a friend’s or at home as a complete sensory experience. When it is done right, it will be a memorable event that one talks about for years. If it was done wrong, it could destroy the whole evening and damage a reputation. Dining encompasses many of the theatrical elements involved in putting on a performance; there is the conceptual developmental stage in the kitchen, to the presentation on the floor, along with the company that partakes in the sharing of the food. We all want to experience the ‘wow’ factor when we eat as a form of entertainment. The participation of a fine meal with good wine should be approached as a festivity. One must respect not only the act of cooking itself but also the ingredients used to create a dish such as the meats, the produce, the herbs, and of course the spices. Good quality fresh products are essential to a fantastic meal. Food is essential to sustaining life therefore it should respected, savoured and celebrated to its’ fullest potential. Good eating is equivalent to passionately loving and respecting life and people. The ritual of sharing a meal as a cook or with friends is one of the most important acts of communication and appreciation. Feeding someone is fundamentally an act of love.
My international travels as a dancer has allowed me to taste some of the culinary offerings the world has to offer. One of the most memorable tours was when I travelled to San Sebastien, Spain in between show dates. My palette could not get enough of the fine culinary creations in this small Basque city situated just south of France. With its’ fine affordable but great eating establishments, pinxos (tapas), wine, and beaches, I could only equate my time in San Sebastien as heaven on earth. I can still taste the beautiful ocean in every bite of the mussels that we tossed back with the vast amounts of wine and cider chasing down our throats. We were in a little hole in the wall of a eating establishment that was jammed packed with happy noisy people standing in a sea of shells from the discarded mussels… it was pure hedonistic pleasure.