What is a Food Philosophy?
“Food philosophy is a collection of ideas and principles I hope to use to maximize my success as a person and as a chef. There are three core sections of the food philosophy: individual growth, responsibilities as a chef and food ethic. The first section focuses on a firm set of guidelines that I believe will make me a better person. The next section identifies a series of “parameters” that have tremendous value to me as a chef. Some of these concepts were shared by co-workers. Others, I came to recognize as significant on my own. Finally, the last section identifies a group of beliefs that I believe wholeheartedly. Additionally, it is a verbal pledge to practice and live this food philosophy through my life. I made these realizations over the course of my career.”
Nathan J Buckley
Motivation and Composition of the Food Philosophy
“I created the food philosophy for guidance. It became evident that I was constantly in the same state, both in my life and in the kitchen. There was no growth or change. In fact, I was consistently employing the same methods. At the same time, frequently making the same mistakes. It was time for a change. I had a general idea of my guiding principles for individual growth. Even so, I never determined them. I had neglected personal satisfaction for many years prior to the creation of the food philosophy; at the time of its creation, determining what felt fulfilling was the most important. Likewise, so was determining how to get there. I didn’t even fully understand what I thought was important. As a result, this was the last section created. Although, placing it first ultimately made more sense because my first ‘occupation’ is living as a person.”
Nathan J Buckley
Responsibilities as a Chef
“Many of the principles from individual growth applied to being successful as a chef. With this section, I wanted to still recognize who I was as a person but also the things I find important as a chef. Initially, responsibilities as a chef and food ethic were one section. Thanks to the edits and discussions with David, I was able to identify two separate sections and begin to refine each point. Many of the components of responsibilities as a chef were derived from respect for food. As a chef I feel it is my job to be accountable for everything I do. For me, disrespecting food was one of the most egregious acts of a chef.”
Nathan J Buckley
“Finally, I wanted to develop tenants under which to operate. I found these ideas essential and inviolable. While some of these could fall under the category of responsibilities of a chef, I felt as if they were stronger statements that deserved their own category. The unique thing about this section was that I believe these components were always part of my interest and reverance towards food. The act of sitting down and actually writing them out gave them the substance, but they were always with me from the start.”
Nathan J Buckley
Food is life.
In order to grow as an individual I must strive to:
– Experience and share genuine hospitality in all forms as a means to achieve personal happiness and satisfaction.
– Maintain a strong desire to learn in order to avoid ignorance and stagnation.
– Do my absolute best even when facing adversity because I can do anything as long as I try.
– Demolish my limitations and recognize the mind as one of them.
– Manage sacrifices because life is demanding.
– Avoid compromise if the net gain outweighs the cost.
– Never become complacent, as it is ultimately destructive to my growth.
– Observe, respect, participate in, and propagate the flow of the natural universe.
I commit to use these parameters as a responsible and perceptive chef to:
– Respect food at all levels from its living origins to its processing.
– Condemn waste as unsustainable and unnecessary.
– Maintain and open mind toward the myriad possibilities of all food.
– Focus on the big picture in order to make appropriate decisions in any situation.
– Understand the compexity of individual instructions in order to maintain the integrity of the final results.
– Respect cause and effect in all actions and processes.
– Recognize that food transcends the barriers of space, time, culture and language.
Develop and maintain a strong food ethic that includes:
– Acknowledging bioregionality and seasonality as proponents of natural products
– Identifying creativity and authenticity as keys to enjoyable food.
– Avoiding participation in the industrial food system.
– Understanding that great food and memorable experiences will innately draw attention.
– Recognizing food as sustenance for the mind and spirit as well as the body.
– Celebrating the sacredness of producing and enjoying food and the experience of dining through all the senses.
– Proliferating the ideology that everyone is entitled to good food.
– Maintaining that recipes and the information that surround food are not intellectual property, but deserve to be shared.
– Devotion to creating a healthy, knowledgeable, compassionate and sustainable future by teaching the people, especially the youth about food, horticulture, culinary arts and conscious consumption.