Pairing Friends and Food
While attending a conference in New York for culinary professionals I was surrounded by food writers, chefs, cooking instructors, food photographers, food travelers, and many other occupations involving food. Over the course of three days I was often asked the question “what do you do?”. For most people it’s an easy question to answer, but every time I answered “I’m a cooking teacher” I didn’t feel like it was a complete answer. I mean, I do a lot of things (just like most people), but it occurred to me that I should consider what I do that gives me the most satisfaction and affects others the most positively.
What truly gets me excited is connecting people through food. While teaching cooking is enjoyable, watching people in my classes interact, laugh, exchange phone numbers, and eventually becoming friends is really what gives me the most joy. Since I love to entertain and throw parties, I’ve learned that inviting people from different social groups is so effective in creating new relationships. Because I love to share my home with people, whether it’s a class, jewelry show, meeting, party, or just gathering of girlfriends, there’s always food, and somehow people find common interests amongst each other and form new friendships. At one of my jewelry shows I introduced my Pilates instructor to a friend who was considering starting Pilates. My friend started taking the classes, and the two became dear friends. Another friend who is a farmer came to a dinner party and met a chef who now uses her meat and eggs.
A couple years ago I had the idea to throw a dinner party at my house, and invited chefs and people in the food industry. Because I’m not a restaurant chef, I didn’t know many chefs well. I knew they would be puzzled by an invitation from someone they didn’t know, but thirty people showed up, and we had a wonderful party. People who were competitive in the industry, or didn’t know each other were brought together in a neutral environment where I fed them food from my kitchen. The evening was magical and so many friendships were made. I’ve made this event an annual event, and each time more friendships are made and new business relationships are formed.
While pairing wine with food is a pleasure to do, I’ve found that pairing Friends With Food is extremely rewarding and often life-changing. I’m not sure people will understand the answer “I pair people with food” when they ask me “what I do”, but I know that I’m glad I’ve been given the gift of pairing two of the best things on this earth!