We’ve been visiting restaurants this last week, it is something I always put aside as a special perk, until I realize how much value even the briefest time is to our students. Both chefs, Laurence Jossell of NOPA and Alexander Ong of Betelnut, reminded us again of that word: source. Getting the flavor right demands having a connection to the original ingredient, the source. Even to know what a good carrot tastes like, as Laurence puts it, becomes important. And the pairing of flavors at Alex’s restaurant obviously share that sentiment.
The flavor of an ingredient may sound trivial to some, but what we heard was the connection to that flavor. Which made me think even more about the actual process of connecting to what we do.
So much of what we deal with in daily life is surface oriented. Getting to this text, getting to that email (or if you are an educator, there are a host of acronym-filled tasks to choose from) — real connection to our lives, drifts off. We see this in our students when we ask them about planning for their future. In the race to get that diploma, what happens afterwards can become a thought that easily drifts away.
What I love about our class is that our students make a connection to what it feels like to work under pressure, to accomplish a delicious achievement, to connect to a variety of new experiences using all of their senses, from their hands to their tastebuds. They are starting to know what that kind of carrot “tastes like”, and better yet, they can actually begin to describe it in real, working terms. When students get to that source, that connection and value to their potential, then amazing things can happen.
Thank you Laurence and Alex for your generosity! Time to start planning our next Long Table Dinner.