July 2023 ACI Newsletter: From the Executive Chef

July 2023 ACI Newsletter: From the Executive Chef

Hello, and Happy Summer, everyone!

I hope this newsletter finds you well. The topic of this installment is travel, learning, and trying new things. I can’t speak for everyone, but as someone who has been in the hospitality industry since 14 years old, I am still so excited for the opportunity to learn and try new things. That’s probably one of the reasons why after 28 years in the business, I’m still not even a little bit bored. Wherever I go, I try to research foods that an area is particularly well known for, whether that’s just a different region of the US or somewhere out of the country.

Recently my family was lucky enough to go on a little vacation abroad. We ended up spending a few days in Barcelona. During our time there, every bite of food we had was delicious. The whole food scene felt motivated and excited. It was fun to go to different restaurants and order dishes off the menu the area is known for and compare each restaurant’s version of that dish. It was very rewarding to see my kids (and wife) step outside their comfort zones and try foods they had never eaten before.

It was truly special to dive into the world of Iberico Ham and learn about this luxury ingredient. And, as an adventurous eater, find the thing on the menu you’ve never tried before… say for instance, when a menu features “pig nipples,” you gotta order the pig nipples! Yes, they really were pig’s nipples. It’s easy to get comfortable in our little window of familiarity, which makes it easy to forget that there is a whole world out there of foods we’ve never tried before, and flavors we’ve never experienced before.

Leave the comfort zone. Try the weird thing. Even if it teaches you a lesson about things, you never want to eat again, at least you’ll know. You’ll have a story. You’ll have an experience. And you’ll come back home to your comfort zone as a more knowledgeable and well-rounded cook. I love you guys. See ya next time.