Do you know how difficult it is to start one of these things? It’s a perfect representation of how I feel about anything I do; if it doesn’t begin perfectly, it won’t end perfectly, and if that’s the case, what’s the point? Why begin at all, why stress about it? Just trash it before it hits the starting line and stay put. It’s safer that way, far less of a chance of humiliation, and discovery of utter idiocy.
That’s how it’s gotten to be about five months since I’ve put any effort into this blog period, and much longer than I originally intended to start work on another pop up dinner. Here’s the thing, my dinners started out as a form of desperate, much needed expression. I love my job whole heartedly, but I’m not ashamed to say that my heart lies in traditional dinner service, with pretentiously plated tiny courses, and lots of unnecessary tweezer work. So when I began these dinners, they sort of…poured out of me, an unstoppable spigot of creativity, passion, exuberance, and imagination. The technique was definitely flawed, and left a lot to be desired, but at least I had that little thing called heart, right?
As they went on, the technique and performance aspect definitely became the focus, and rightly so. They went from being an exercise in creative liberty, to an intensive HIIT workout of trial and error technique. I’m unimaginably grateful for this; I was gifted an entire handful of dream job opportunities all bundled into one – a day job doing what I love, with people I love, learning more than you would ever expect to from flipping omelets; a “side-hustle” (if you will), to sprint across the field of flashy and invigorating fine cuisine, all based in my home town, surrounded by family and friends, with the chance to enrich the community I grew up in.
Don’t worry, I pinch myself a lot.
Somehow, the dinners gained some traction. I’m not entirely sure how, but I don’t think there has been a year past where I’ve squealed quite so much in excitement and happiness. Unfortunately, I’m a fully fledged perfectionist, so once something becomes more than just a fantasy inside my little food obsessed brain, I become hyper critical of everything, but most intensely of myself. Every action that I put out now, in regards to In Whites, has to be curated. Pruned, polished, and covered in a professionally photographed veneer. What started out as a blog in which I wanted to connect, and share experiences of a “20-something cook figuring out what it means to be a chef” became a marketing tool for me to bring in the 26-45 year old market.
Even when the concepts behind each dinner are acutely personal, and stem from a place of deep emotion, there was no longer any real sharing happening. As a creature that thrives off of human to human connection, sentimentality, and empathy, that became draining. But I kept going, doing more dinners, finding more enthusiasm for food than I’ve ever experienced, and becoming intoxicated by the idea of putting more and more of myself out there on a plate and giving it to the people who wanted it. By the end of it, it sometimes felt like I was literally cutting a part of myself out little by little and throwing it out for consumption and observation.
Fast forward a little bit, and here we are. All of the above, settled into the atmosphere of a mid-20’s girl, with no idea where she’s supposed to go next, feeling behind the curve career wise, and a sprinkling of every bill you can think of, and we have me. A girl tearing her hair out, driving her beloved long term boyfriend probably insane, and just in general going a little bit crazy.
Or a lot. A lot crazy. There’s lots of very dramatic, emotional scream-singing in my car in the middle of target parking lots (not proud of it, but also highly recommend as a cathartic practice).
Slowly, as I regain hearing after said car sessions, I am becoming aware of where I really am. A mid-20’s girl, with no idea where she’s supposed to go next, but surrounded by support for wherever that next is. I’m also becoming aware of the fact that even if I never get a sterling, shiny job in a big city, with a fancy restaurant that cares about stars, as long as I have connection, and food, I will be ok. I will be more than ok, I’ll be happy.
So, as the new year approaches (how very appropriately cliche for this self-describing basic b) I want to return to the OG motive behind all of the chaotic …stuff, I’ve put out as In Whites. Less perfect, less pressure, more pursuing. People and places and experiences and chances to give what I have.
If you’re reading this, I have no idea why, but thank you. I really do hope you’ll stay with me for a while, share some good food and better wine, and maybe we’ll all come out ok in the end.
See you on the Line