You know, one of the upsides to aging is that some of the lessons you learned (usually the hard way) when you were younger come back, not as a clunk on the head, but more like a whisper in your ear. Very often, and if we are paying attention, we find that those lessons can teach us volumes about ourselves and how we fit into the big picture.
The field of food and beverage is so incredibly vast. To approach it as a newbie is a lot like running down to the ocean's edge and jumping into the biggest, most intimidating wave with no regard for it's enormous force. It's exciting, yes- but, there is so much to learn and understand, and respect. Mind you, I think it's a great way to get into the business- with gusto and passion. But, with time and a little saltwater in your lungs, you come to understand, this is bigger than you. And, it always will be.
There are a lot of opinions today. The world has found more creative and effective ways to get them out into the world through sites like Facebook, Twitter, online posts, blogs, and just plain pontification in public, if anyone will listen. Hell, this blog is living proof of that, especially if you're reading it! But, there is a very real danger of people just ingesting and numbing to the internet Kool-Aid. It's why I'm a big fan of factcheck.org.
Excuse me, but when did we go from a commonly accepted explanation of "the origins of the bistro" to urban legend? When just about anyone can belly up to the editing table, it seems, we're dealing only in "virtual facts". The encyclopedia, as we know it, has gone the way of the pay phone and typewriter. Obsolete.
The term humility is from the Latin, "humilitas", which depending on how you look at it can mean "humble", something in short supply these days. Or, my preferred definition from "humus", or "earth", meaning "low" or "from the earth", a great allusion to keeping your feet firmly planted or staying "down to earth".
Charlie Trotter had this to say in dedicating his third cookbook, Seafood: "to some of the true giants of the food world, Jean Banchet, James Beard, Paul Bocuse, Julia Child, Fredy Girardet, Fernand Point, Louis Szathmary, and Roger Verge, from whose shoulders many of us enjoy a spectacular view."
Well put, Chef.