Two Saturdays ago, after breaking down our market display and loading the truck, I made a detour on the way back to the farm. I’m currently planning a three day pop-up of sorts in early September and needed to meet with some people that are involved. So I hopped in the passenger seat of my friend’s wife’s car and we drove thirty miles to Windham. You might think— since we were headed to a hot rod gathering/pin-up girl contest/psychobilly show in a suburb of Portland, Maine where food trucks and tented stands were slingin’ pulled pork, wood-fired oven pizzas (in a truck, mind you) and booze— that it would be the topic of this post.
I assure you it isn’t.
After spending enough time at the event to get a sunburn and hear a man sing about killing his ex-girlfriend over a slap-driven stand-up bass (don’t fret, he was from Rhode Island… Music is weird there), we decided to depart. I was on the way home when I heard a melody that made me pull over the car.
The words emitted from NPR’s radio waves were by The Lumineers and went like this: “I been down, I been defeated. You’re the message, I will heed it.”
The band has an incredible history that you can read here if you like. However, I’m more interested in something Wesley Schultz said during the interview that was woven through the playing of the song.
The singer was quoted in the NY Times when he was around 8 years old by a reporter who was interviewing kids at a school. He said simply, “I want to be an artist. I like drawing, I’m practicing and getting pretty good at it.” This had no real meaning until he revisited the statement during the NPR interview. Schultz said, looking back on that article, that he felt validated. Immediately I was able to identify with this man I had never met, nor even heard of before that moment.
Some of us spend our entire lives chasing a dream. It’s sometimes difficult not to think to yourself that you could be crazy, stubborn, or worse…selfish. The reality of the matter is the people that achieve their dreams are all of those things. The mountain can be an ugly, steep climb. It can be studded with deterrents and skeptics, but the validation at the top can make the journey down the other side oh-so-sweet.
It’s too often that talent is overlooked due to qualifications. Next hasn’t received a Michelin star, Ideas in Food is often overlooked by educational awards, and cooks gone rogue, well… I hope that one day chefs are seen as equals whether they cook for restaurants, at home for blogs or in an underground setting.
I’d like to end by stating something I hadn’t been proud of until very recently. I’m a high school drop out, and I’m not talking about senior year either. I have zero formal education in cooking or academics. My moment of validation came when I sold my book to Gotham Publishing, and it’s reinforced everyday when I look to my peers and see the talent that I get to work with on a daily basis.
“In the end it boils down to credibility. I had none so I will die with the secrets of the sea.” – The Lumineers