Chef's Blog

November 3, 2017

Travel Enhances Your Life...And Your Cooking

from Chef Orlando Apodaca, Jr.

Travel and great food have been my two strongest passions in life. Years ago I found the correlation of these two beautiful combinations.

Much like a glass of wine complements a great meal, traveling helps you create your own food story. As a Chef I have had the privilege to travel extensively—to experience differences between fresh fish from the northern waters of Alaska, all the way to the ‘down under’ of Australia. I remember the first time I tried escargot in Paris and “chips” in London (not to be confused with the Frito-Lay variety here in the U.S.) Being abroad has taught me one thing:

“Travel is the only thing you can purchase that will enrich your life.”

There is something magical about being immersed in a culture. To eat the food and see the mysteries of each adventure you create. Oftentimes a great story begins over a great meal with friends— whether it’s a new acquaintance you just met on the train to Spain, or trying haggis for the first time at a pub in Scotland with a lifelong friend. These are the memories that you’ll be able to cherish for the rest of your life; and they’ll leave an imprint on your cooking style, too.

One of my favorite food stories happened while I was working on the island of Lānaʻi, Hawaii. I would get phone calls early in the morning from the local fishermen asking if we wanted to purchase any of their catch of fresh mahi mahi or spiny lobsters. As always, we were happy to purchase as much of their haul as we could. I learned a lot from those daily calls—about the species they caught and the ecosystem they were harvested from. I learned about their fishing techniques and which catches were the most prized— knowledge passed down from generation to generation. It was a Chef’s dream to be able to have access to such amazing people and ingredients.

One piece of advice I like to pass on: to truly understand the history of a dish and create a great version of your own you must travel. Touch the earth that the produce was grown in; taste the bounty from the ocean; experience the culture; and most importantly live life.

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