Our connections to food are deep. They can instantaneously transport us across time and space, weaving us through memories of childhood, love, and even loss.
For me one of the most profound food memories comes from somewhere deep inside. A place I'm still discovering. Not too many people know that I'm half Thai, but it's a huge part of what makes me ... well me.
I look the way I do because of it, and I also cook the way I do because of it. I lived in Thailand for the first 3 years of my life, of which I remember virtually nothing. I can look at pictures, close my eyes and strain with all my might, but as hard as I try I cannot remember those days.
On the other hand, if I walk into any Thai restaurant, I'm almost instantly transported back "home." Somehow, the combination of aromas, tapestries, and music can instantly create a nostalgia so powerful my soul aches. The undeniable feeling that makes you feel right at home.
This is the very essence of food, and as chefs, we are constantly trying to harness this power. The power to prepare a meal that creates a food memory. A memory so powerful that for the rest of your life you take it with you.
A recent trip to the Thai Temple here in Tampa was the perfect reminder of who I was, am, and will always be. A series of small wonderful moments that combine to create a lasting memory. To harness these powerful moments, and recreate them in food is beyond measure. Its what drives us as chefs. Its these moments that define us. I'm always looking for a way to create a bite that completely encapsulates these moments in life; one that captures a moment so singularly significant that it remains for a lifetime. A food memory we are always looking to reconnect with again and again.