Dearly Beloved, We are gathered here today to mourn the absence of the strange, hippy-dippy farmers’ markets, so frequent in Santa Monica that Taipei has not.
Full of flourescent cruciferous creatures inviting hallucinatory inspection, raw honey as varied in flavours as the very flowers that exist, roses, freshly-plucked and of raucous colour, dripping dewy sweetness, dates, soft, nutty, thick, pasty, sweet, delicious and best of all; people: multi-coloured, squat, fat, thin, tall, short, petite, brusque, eye contact, eye contact, eye contact. I was quenched.
My favourite memory of the early morning market in Santa Monica was the sight of a beautiful, large Rastafarian vendor who would accuse me of being scared and shy when I did not want to enter his stall. Burning incense of strange form and colour, draped in African kaftans, his determined eyes finally begged my entry. Good thing too, since his natural creams solved a skin problem for my boyfriend.
Aside from the lovely Rastafarian and strange young foot fetishist who courted my boyfriend’s feet a few times on the beach, Santa Monica was a life-changing experience. I attended “Food and Wine”‘s best-rated plant-based cuisine academy in the world and honestly loved every moment of it. Matthew Kenney Cuisine Academy is a student’s dream and the restaurant attached to the academy, a healthy eater’s necessity. The course was a month-long, 5 days a week, 6 hours a day. We were gifted beautiful Japanese chef’s knives on the first day, handed to us in what looked to be rifle bags which we had to sling across our backs, making us feel like chef ninjas. Ok. Maybe it was just me, but I felt fierce. I met the most down to earth, friendly, knowledgeable people whom I now consider to be new friends.
The month flew by and I learned a lot of how to set up mise en place and to communicate with people in a kitchen. The recipes were pretty basic but it was great to learn different ways of doing what I already have learned. Even though I had prior knowledge, it was still beneficial.
All the teachers were great, each giving every student individual attention and pushing us where we needed to be pushed, very encouraging, whacky and fun! I am definitely going back for the advanced course and look forwrad to sharing what I learn, too.