It has been an incredible experience after getting past the first month and I’m looking forward to what’s coming in Spring. Recently, I have been talking with Kyle Pattison of Hazelwood Farms and we have collaborated on a restaurant-driven CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) to tailor the menu and introduce a few heirloom varieties we have picked from Baker’s Creek Seed Company. This is definitely ground-breaking and the first step towards a chef driven menu that will allow me to play with ingredients and influence flavors that I have been theorizing in my head for quite some time now. I’ve never done anything like this on my own and I’m really thrilled to see how it unfolds. There’re a lot of unique produce that some small-scale farmers have been growing but none of those seem to be “shelf-worthy” for the conglomerate food stores in the city. Often times, these are the heirlooms that are more substantial for our consumption. We need to diversify our choices and invigorate our appetites! It’s about time we look into our own land and live a symbiotic relationship with it. Hopefully, we would like to see this project jump-off to where we can offer the public a different kind of CSA in which Aubergine Bistro can influence the contents of the shares. The thrilling part of this is the discovery of a new ingredient, it’s the best part of what I do! Most of the dishes I create always start from an ingredient rather than a recipe.
I’ve been trying to be vigilant about food insecurities and awareness because it’s an underlying problem in our society. I want to be able to transpose what I learn from this experience unto a platform for the public to better themselves with what they eat. I’ll be honest though, we all fall from the wagon sometimes. I’ve learned that certain compromises must be made in order to get my business where it should be and closer to what I dream of it to be after. It might not be socially driven but in the grand scheme of things it really justifies itself eventually. I like to dream big, and someday I want to see my restaurant on a farm where people feel welcomed and invited. This is the place where food is the focal point. An ingredient is just as important as our lifestyle and the choices that we impose on it. It’s time we better ourselves with the food we eat and raise the awareness to a wider audience.
This is just the tip of an iceberg. the grand scheme of things is to connect the dots between the farmer and the consumer. Our generation is adapting slowly to the constant changes in our food systems; and quite honestly, I think we still have a lot of work to do. My recent involvement with Project Lunch Tray, an after school program that raises awareness to healthy eating in our public school systems, gave me a glimpse of what to expect from the next generation. They will be facing more diseases and illnesses that we can ever enumerate, more allergens that we have to identify and avoid. This is truly saddening if you really think about it. It doesn't sound enjoyable to be eating in this lifetime anymore if we can't even appreciate the most basic of our needs, food! The change starts in us and the choices that we make. We truly are what we eat.