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St Paul de Vence

My relationship with food did not start easy.  I suppose I was fighting my destiny all along despite powers much greater than all of us continually prepared me.  Perhaps this path gave me the rich appreciation that I so took for granted in my youth...

The Early Years

As a child, I was a very picky eater.  Although born in Dallas, Texas, I grew up overlooking the most beautiful village in the world: St. Paul de Vence, the jewel of Provence in the South of France on the Riviera.  Surrounded by this culture, and a cuisine strongly influenced with French, Italian, North African, and Mediterranean origins, I just didn't get it.  I didn't even like pizza, for Heaven's sake!

Our housekeeper, Flora, in many ways served as my grandmother, given how infrequently we could visit the 'States.  And Flora would frequently fix my few favorites when we would visit, welcoming me with a ten inch stack of crepes, homemade gnocchi or fettuchine, and my ultimate favorite dessert: Isles de Neige.  When babysitting me, she would frequently have me prepare dishes with her.  Fixing the food, it was easier to try new things, but unbeknownst to me at the time, a seed was planted that decades later would show me that the preparation and hosting would take me back to that happy place.

A few years ago, I realized how important that sense of comfort in Flora's kitchen is to me, and how much it pleases me to prepare, offer, and share a good meal with family and friends.

The Growth Spurt

Back in Dallas at nine years of age, I didn't expand my palate, or my desire to do so.  However, once I turned twelve, I started to grow...and grow fast, as boys do sooner or later.  I craved food, if not in variety, at least in volume.  I started to try new things and finally enjoyed pizza.  My family was well conditioned, however, so my experimentation was still very limited.  I did start to cook more meals through high school.

Hop Before You Leap

It was time for college, and I left for Washington D.C., to learn and appreciate more of my nation's culture and history.  I stayed in the D.C. and Baltimore area for nearly 8 years to complete school and work, but from the beginning, my exposure to new things, especially cuisines of the world, grew immensely.  To my surprise, the more I tried, the more I liked.  The melting pots in those big, dense cities provided a wonderful adventure of discovery and enjoyment...but little did I know what was in store for me.

The Big Leap

I returned to Dallas and soon found my career in software taking off.  Working for a British boss for a year, I went from having eaten Indian food twice previously in my life to twice a week--ordering from any restaurant without the menu.

Didier's Shotglass Collection

I also discovered I had a knack for explaining complex things and learned to present to audiences both large and small.  With my multi-cultural upbringing and as a multi-linguist, I comfortably became a software trainer who traveled the world, collecting millions of frequent flyer miles.  I also accumulated an exhaustive shot glass collection from most of the various cities I would visit.  The most enjoyable thing I collected, of course, was the wonderful exposure to great food, drink, and people.  My bar also grew, as I would typically return from my trips with local liqueurs and spirits.

End Game: Enlightenment

A few years ago, I realized how important that sense of comfort in Flora's kitchen is to me, and how much it pleases me to prepare, offer, and share a good meal with family and friends.  I feel I have come full circle to accepting this destiny.  However, the more I learn, the more I realize I have yet to learn...and enjoy!

Thanks to the Internet, I hope others with similar culinary interests, be they lighter or even more intense than mine, may share in this enjoyment and discovery.