Road Map to Exceptional – Part Two
Last week, I wrote about two of the presenters who spoke at Terroir’s “The Road Map to Exceptional.” Today I’ll fill you in on what we learned from the other speakers at that session, Ivy Knight and Aman Dosanj. Their presentations shared two common themes: food is a commonality that connects people everywhere; and if you know those people’s food stories, you’ll have an insight into who they are.
Aman Dosanj, Founder The Paisley Notebook
Aman Dosanj is a British ex-pat who is now a proud resident of, and ambassador for, the Okanagan Valley. She describes it as being “a beautiful place, and a delicious life,” and is thrilled to live so close to her source of food.
Her website, The Paisley Notebook, is filled with stories of travelling around the world feeding people, including her food memories project, “Say It Like You Eat It.” For the latter, she interviews people she meets and asks about their memories of food, then shares them “in bite-sized pieces.” They range from Yao in Thailand, who talks about growing up eating meals sitting on the kitchen floor, to Jorge, who described the importance of growing up with food he identified with – in his case, Peru’s quinoa. When asked what inspires her, Aman says “People!” Through this project, she hope to show how everyone is connected through food.
She says the basis of working in a restaurant is looking after people. One of the ways you can do that is by helping them realize the value of food. “When you see how much food we waste, you realize the disconnect between our food and how we value it,” she says. And as her interviews reinforce, people are what they eat, and nourishing them is practically spiritual. Referring to recipes and food stories, she warns, “If we don’t start sharing and passing them down, we’ll lose our culture.”
Ivy Knight, writer
Ivy Knight is a Toronto-based food writer, who initiated a new feature in Vice: “In the Belly of America.” This series focusses on the food and eating habits of regular people. “Everyone eats, and everyone has stories about food,” she says. Like Dosanj, she loves connecting with people in her travels, and believes the food they eat is a large part of who they are.
“I used to care a lot about a Canadian food identity,” she says. But she doesn’t search for it anymore, since she believes it’s too diverse a country to pinpoint one type of food as national. Like in her “In the Belly of America” stories, the food you serve can be a starting point to understanding the people you serve it to.