Yesterday I was shown genuine kindness. I was allowed to stage at Ben Ford’s Kitchen at Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City. I was more than a little intimidated but Chef Ford and his staff were so kind and welcoming that after a few minutes, I forgot that I was afraid! The word that kept popping into my head was symphony. Yesterday I felt like I was standing in the middle of a symphony performance. Not in the audience but among the musicians. The chefs were at times slow, fast and certainly fast/dance-like. I was awestruck. Removing the stems from kale was a privilege and so was trimming cauliflower. The piece de resistance? Cleaning squid. Was it gross? Absolutely. Necessary? You bet your swiss chard! I was painfully aware that every piece of food I touched would eventually be served to a customer so I didn’t take any of it lightly. To be quite honest, I was honored to be given the chance to observe and participate on such an intimate level.
Chef Ford was gracious enough to thank me for helping and said that I was very brave to jump in the way I did. Perhaps it is, but in my opinion it is even more courageous to show such kindness to a complete stranger. I am not interning for a culinary school or a friend of a friend. I’m just a mom who sent an email asking for a chance. I don’t know if that is brave or not – I certainly didn’t feel that way when I wrote it. I was scared and desperate and did not expect a response. I only knew that I had to try. This dream of working in the culinary industry has been locked inside me for so long that I didn’t know how I felt about it anymore. I wanted to get it out of my system – to try it and realize that it wasn’t all I was imagining it to be. That didn’t happen. What happened is that I am absolutely certain working with food is something that I am enamored with.
As a mother, I can only hope that my pursuit is providing a good example for my boys. My wish for them is to always do what inspires them. Today’s minecraft fiend might be the next Frank Gehry or Frank Stephenson. I didn’t pursue this dream when I was younger, but I’ve been given a second chance and I’m going to make the most of it. While I love Martha Stewart and Ina Garten my dream isn’t to become the next recipe or home maven. My dream is to find my place in the culinary industry – my home. I have a ways to go, but yesterday was another step on the right direction. I felt at home in that kitchen with squid guts under my fingernails. The past didn’t matter because the present was good. It is good. I’m finding my way home…
Special thank you to Ben Ford and all of the staff at Ford’s Filling Station. You were inspiring, kind, and brilliant at what you do.
If you’re ever in Culver City, check them out and get the Fish Tacos or the Curry Shrimp! http://www.fordsfillingstation.net