Learning to love food

Published in FSD Update

My new self challenges for a new city.

This past month has provided—well, forced might be a more accurate word—time for serious self-reflection. It’s amazing all the things you find when you have to pack up all of your belongings to move to another city. (I recently moved to Chicago, where FoodService Director’s editorial offices are now located.)

One of my most treasured possessions is a plaque that has a quote from Abraham Lincoln embossed on it—“Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” The plaque hung in my grandmother’s doorway for years, and after her passing, it was something I asked to have.

As I was packing up the plaque I thought, “If grandma were to find out I was the editor of a publication about food, she would be laughing right now.” As a child I was an incredibly picky eater. I ate foods covered in cheese—I still love a good mac and cheese recipe (see p. 62 for some ideas)—and that was about it. If there was meat in something, good luck trying to get me to try it.

All of this must have frustrated my grandma, though she would never let me know. You see, my grandma was a celebrity chef. Well, sort of. Back in the ’50s my grandma had a cooking show on the local PBS station in Oklahoma. It was a program put on by the local gas company called Looking and Cooking. My grandma wasn’t a chef by any means, but she knew her way around a kitchen and her cooking was often the center of our family gatherings. 

I’ve grown up a lot in my food repertoire in the past 15 years, something I’m sure my grandma thought would never come. And yes, just in case you’re wondering, I do eat meat. I’ve tried all kinds of food that the 10-year-old version of myself would never have swallowed, but it was recently pointed out to me that even with that progress, I still had a lot to learn about food. Which leads me back to my self-reflection project. 

I lived in New York City for six years. Looking back, I didn’t take full advantage of the city’s culinary offerings. It wasn’t that I didn’t eat out often—or as often as a recent graduate student with student loans could afford. I simply found my favorite spots and kept going back. And I’d often order the same thing. I’ve decided that in my new city, that needs to change. So I’m going to challenge myself to try new places and order new dishes. I’ll keep you posted on my culinary challenge on my Twitter page (@bschilling_FSD).  And if you have suggestions of places I should try out, shoot me an email at bschilling@cspnet.com. If you happen to be in Chicago some day, let me know and you can join me on my adventure. Just don’t ask me to cook—that’s something even my grandma would tell me just wasn’t within my talent pool.  

Keywords: 
new concepts

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
ticket stubs

Every week, our cooks pick an experimental kitchen project to expand their skills, culminating in a Friday contest where they cook a new dish that puts them out of their comfort zone. The winner of the weekly contest is awarded points and prizes. The cook with the most points at the end of the year receives a free ticket to an annual team gathering in Maine, where staffers bond and gain inspiration from coastal menus.

Managing Your Business
performance review anxiety

For all the most obvious reasons, managers and staff don’t always agree. But both sides can get behind retiring annual performance reviews, according to a January survey from software company Adobe, which quit the practice in 2012. There, 64% of surveyed workers and 62% of supervisors consider yearly evaluations outdated.

“My philosophy is if I have to wait a year to tell you where you stand, it’s a little too late,” says Al Ferrone, senior director of dining services at the University of California at Los Angeles. Ferrone and other operators are reforming the meetings to add real...

Ideas and Innovation
bowling ball pins

We patterned our chef culinary competition after the one pioneered by the University of Massachusetts. This year, 11 teams of college chefs registered. Each team gets the same market basket and has two hours to prepare three dishes. The starting times have to be staggered and nobody wants the 6 a.m. slot, so instead of randomly assigning times, this year we took the teams bowling and used their scores to determine starting times. The two teams with the highest combined bowling score got to pick their time slot first. Going bowling built camaraderie and team spirit before the teams even got...

Ideas and Innovation
woman sick phone bed

Our employees have paid time off, but if they don’t call in at least one hour before their scheduled shift, their PTO will be docked for the day. We also assign points for unapproved absences. Everyone starts with a freebie, and when they get to 4, then we start the disciplinary action process. When a staff member gets to 10 points, that is grounds for termination.

FSD Resources