In the cafeteria of Randolph Macon Academy, an Air Force, JROTC*, military-boarding school, I began occupationally cooking alongside of my studies. A few years down the road, I took my High School Diploma from that school. It is situated an hour west of Washington DC and rests in the foothills of the Shenandoah and Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia. My experiences there were far from ordinary. It was an unusual situation with a mix of unlikely and international characters who made up my class. I could say that my time spent there wasn’t terribly bad either. (in retrospect); it was early mornings and marching around in our crisp outfit of navy blues. I was assigned the the only paid position granted for students, The Captain of the Mess! Fancy, eh?
Well, besides that it was a rather good experience for my young self; On top of my drilling and marching duties, I managed a squad of bussers and servers, prepared food, and at the occasional formal function or alumni event I’d assist with setting up the galas or banquets.
I graduated with a merit from the National Honor Society with a core emphasis in Spanish language and advanced English honors. However, I did not choose a future in the armed services like some of my peers; the first thing on my mind was to just hit the road like a wild animal shaking off this starched domesticity.
The summer of graduation, I travelled to California where I took to cooking at a local pizza chain in Oceanside, California. Afterwards, in late August, I travelled to Oahu, Hawai’i at 19 to enroll in University studies. At that stage of my life, it was a thinly veiled pretext of furthering my education. That pretext gave way after a few semesters of brutal Japanese and Chinese language classes to the different ambition of seeing the world. I wanted to dig into the open earth and mature my person through the pursuit of my passions: food, literature and adventure.
I travelled and took cooking jobs that presented themselves to me and it was during these foreign sojourns that I honed my skills and fueled my lust for life. While I lived in Oahu on University Ave., there was a tiny Greek kitchen where I worked. (You’ll find an excerpt about it in my writing, Old Major, and it is in this writing the reason why I am remiss to call the restaurant by name.) When I dropped off the college scene, I took a flight to Dublin on St. Patricks day, 2007. I became a chef for a month for a household in Pimlico, cooking mostly dinners and lunches on a fixed daily stipend. When I decided to return to the contiguous States after that several month stint in Europe, I lived in a suburb of Northern Virginia and also Georgetown of Washington D.C. and began to reapply myself by attending a local College. While studying in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, I worked at an An Irish bistro around Dupont Circle called James Hobans.
On a most recent note, I returned to Europe in 2012 where I lived in Munich for 8 months. I took a position at Bachmaier Hofbräu as the sous de patisserie and garde manger in Munich’s popular, Münchner Freheit district; I prepared the typical food of the Bavarian region which majorly consists of rustic meats, brown savory sauces, dumplings and cheeses. While in Europe I took time to experience the culture and increase the repertoire of my palette.
That is a loose list of my chef work experience but It goes deeper. I take every opportunity to create, invent and astonish as the world of cooking is my passion. I specialize in limited resource cooking**, roasts, and vegetable based dishes.
Beyond food, eating and these such, stuffing, experiences, I have found myself a writer and a reader, rapt in an old-time of history, spanning a thousand years from the unswerving courage of Roland in the classic, The Song of Roland, to the chivalry of The Round Table and its Arthurian Romances- the heart-break of Isolde and Tristram, the fidelity and courage of Sir Gawain! These centuries of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Wales, Scotland and France are where I find most of my inspirations for reading and writing.
In the more recent years, (perhaps not so recent) I have enjoyed diving into historical fictions from authors such as Sir Walter Scott, especially, Waverley to the pomp and gaiety of Dumas’ in his D’Artagnan Romances. (I’m most proud of finishing the entire series. I’ve shared some highlights in the French Romanticism section of my menu.)
For poetry, I enjoy the French and the English with works such as Gunga Din, from the man who personified the last generation of the much dramatized era of English colonialism, Rudyard Kipling, to the dawning ages and blunder of modern warfare with the Charge of the Light Brigade by Lord Tennyson and even still to the loud-mouthed 19th century French Baudelaire, in his stirring and heavily criticized series of poems, Fleurs du Mal!
If you have any thoughts or comments, I would be delighted for you to share them. I am also more than happy to offer my critique, or suggestions likewise. Please note that all links I have chosen myself and are all reputable and interesting diversions!
You can find my inspirations on all corners of the web too: click through some of my sibling sites like Imgur, a glimpse into some European encounters, to Flickr, that reveals wonderful food pictures such as my pillage of Vegas; eating my way through the Mirage Casino and equally my shout-outs on Twitter. You may also wish to visit and follow me on Instagram or Tumblr; a more personal look at the combination of my global adventures, interests, foods and romances.
Don’t Forget to stop in and link up over at ForeignSojourn on Facebook.
Yours in utmost sincerity, wishing happiness and health to all,
If you are interested in reproducing my works or hiring my talents please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
**JROTC: Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps
*Limited resource cooking is my way of describing the art of cooking with what you have available to you; unlike finding a recipe then buying the ingredients for that recipe specifically you must make do with what is free, in the pantry or fridge.