Food for Healing, Food for Life

As a person who has spent the last year and a half working in a bakery making soups I find it only appropriate that my goal is purely to bring joy and nourishment to others. However I also have to admit I also cook for myself. Not just in the way that I make my own meals but because the kitchen is where I find fulfilment. I was a musician for a long time thinking it was my calling and I had many peers and teachers to validate that. I decided to follow my friend and attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston and ended up in a pattern of obsession-burnout-regret that ultimately ended with me leaving the school. Before I applied there I considered culinary school. I even took control and contacted Cordon Bleu myself instead of waiting on the opinions of others. But in the end I fell to the pressure of my colleagues (not by their fault but my own for not sticking to my guns). It was 5 years after the hurt of that failure that I decided to move to New Orleans to search for myself. Within 3 weeks I found myself in Breads on Oak, an artisan bakery in Uptown Nola. It was there that I found my now career and lifelong desire to share my love with the world.

This is my home in New Orleans. I’ve failed and triumphed here. I’ve grown and learned a lot since I first started.
It turns out that my pattern of obsession and burnout has been around for a while in all shapes and sizes. It became more apparent when I was challenged by my partner to approach my insecurities and figure out why I would defend and make excuses for my unhealthy/destructive habits. We discovered that I have some childhood trauma that I’ve allowed to fester and it has infinitely harmed my self-worth. Being in the kitchen and building myself up has allowed me to heal from that somewhat before I even was aware that it existed. Now I can focus it as a way to heal and it will help that much more.

Beethoven once said “Only the pure of heart can make a good soup” and now I think I understand that. My trauma filled me with shame but somehow my soups did not suffer so I suppose I’m not a bad person after all. It also seems a commonly accepted idea that it is good for the soul as well and I plan to use that. I will always want to be remembered as the soup guy because I can use it to heal and to heal others. Now I know why I want to be a chef and why the desire was always there, waiting to be released: because that is precisely who I am and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

-The Soup Guy

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