I’ve had Vin et Grub for quite some time now, and while I haven’t always been the best blogger in the world, I’ve enjoyed my ramblings in the food world. When I started this blog, I had a very basic knowledge of food, where it came from, and the culture around it. Three years later, I have found my passion in due part to the discovery and creation of this blog.
Get on With Your Point…
I have been pushed to work in the restaurant industry, in the front of the house and in the back of the house, as an expeditor, as a pastry chef, as a line cook, and as a hostess. I’ve been pushed to out eat myself, to further my education in the culinary world. I’ve found myself in the past three years sitting at tables in some of the best restaurants in the United States. I’ve found myself responding to emails from strangers regarding where to eat in Portland. I’ve found myself surrounded by talented industry workers, and two of the most influential chefs (Krista Desjarlais & Nicholas Nappi) I’ve encountered thus far. In all truth, I’ve found what I want for the rest of my life.
I’ve created and launched Cloak & Dagger Underground Dinner Club (by far the most DIY in Maine). As a result, I’ve found myself in Manhattan along with my best friend and favorite chef, cooking a 9 course meal to celebrate a year of trying dinner services. I’ve found myself developing new ideas every day. Slowly, my first restaurant is being built every day. And from now on, everything I do is to get to that point.
I have found my eyes glued to food literature– Lucky Peach, Gastronomica, Saveur, alongside Eater National, Portland Food Map, and Grub Street. I’ve met great friends from Portland, Boston, New York, Chicago, and San Fransisco. I’ve had the desire to learn more about one subject (despite the fact that there are a million parts) than ever.
And now, it’s all changing. The next step in my journey is to find the roots of my obsession. To understand it and live it. That’s why I’m moving on. I’m hoping on a flight and making my way to Europe to see how and where food is produced. I’m going to farm and pickle, and jam, and stage, and find the roots to make this picture slightly more vivid. Sweden, Greece, Denmark, Italy, France. And an extended stay in Vietnam. I need to see my passion elsewhere in the world. So it’s when I leave that Vin et Grub is no more. Instead, I’ll be writing a new blog Not in my Rice Bowl Bitch, which promises to be a little more adult, a little more wry, a little more serious, and a little more unpredictable than Vin et Grub ever was.
Stay tuned for information on Portland’s last ever Cloak & Dagger and other updates before I leave. I promise I will post these things soon.
And this is the post-script that I’ve wanted to leave for quite some time now:
Perhaps the only thing that has disappointed me in the past three years is simply the ego that comes with this industry. From pompous line cooks, to cowards hiding behind their computer screens, the amount of unhealthy competition and sabotage that goes on is disturbing. I was recently asked by a friend who doesn’t work in the industry to give me a snap shot of the Portland restaurant scene. Do you know what I told him? I said, “It’s odd. Right now there are three generations cooking in this town- there are people like Rob Evans and Sam Hayward, legends, and the creators of the Portland food scene, that are part of the first generation. The second generation seems to be geared towards current chef de cuisines, and the 30-something year old line cooks. And then, well, there’s my generation, which is perhaps the more difficult generation to be part of. We’re caught between our chef owners and chef de cuisines, not to mention influences from outside of Portland.” It’s three generations working in the same kitchens, but not necessarily working together. What I hope to find is a real sense of camaraderie, not the pseudo-team vibe that restaurants in Maine seem to specialize in. We’re all in it for one similar reason (this is not to say it’s our only reason), that is the love of food. So here’s a plea. Let’s drop the egos. Let’s drop the anonymous craigslist ads bashing incoming chefs from larger cities. Let’s drop the nameless comments on Eater Maine and Portland Food Map. Let’s stop with the fake reviews on Yelp, Urbanspoon, and OpenTable. Let’s cut the shit and do what we’re supposed to do. Cook. Create. Let’s do our fucking jobs. If you can’t do your fucking job, then you should get another one. I hope to find Portland in a better place when I return than when I left it.