This post is based on a talk I did last month at the DC Food Forum put together by the DC Office of Planning at Galluadet University. It was in PowerPoint, as all good presentations should be in this town…
EatsPlace is opening this year because I love eating and drinking. It’s a multifaceted vision – restaurant, cooking school, artisanal marketplace, event space where I curate chef residences and guest chefs pop-up their restaurants at EatsPlace.
I made Artisanal Soy kimchee. I come to food from being an artist. I once did a residency at a museum of contemporary art where I swam in a pool of milk. Even then, it was extremely important to me that the milk came from local, grass-fed cows. It had nothing to do with conceptual art — it was just my concept of how food should be.
Restaurant work has been part of my life for 20 years – between, during, after and instead of going to law school, I worked in restaurants and made food. Ingredients became my medium for creating food and expressing myself.
I made the best pickle in America. That tells you something when kimchee wins the best American pickle award. There’s a sea change happening in the way we approach food and share it with others. I truly believe the greatest chefs in America are in Washington DC now, and they’re not necessary the ones we already know. They’re waiting to be discovered. And that’s why it’s so important to support local business, restaurantuers and producers.
This is my dad, the baba of Baba’s Cooking School. Baba means father in multiple languages. He understands why a lawyer has to cook, because he was an engineer who had the same calling. He survived a famine and came to America and opened restaurants. He didn’t know a lot of English but used food as a way to communicate. He went from starving and having no food to to sharing his food with so many people. Never forget that food is extremely powerful. In the case of famine, lack of food is a weapon of mass destruction. Food is also the glue that binds us together, forming community.
Food can be a catalyst to sustain people, the environment, and our local economy and culture. An architect who lives in Shaw, Greg Upwall, is designing EatsPlace using green building practices and reusing as much of the 100-year old building as possible.
We’re taking what once was a vacant building, transforming the blight into a business, activating the streetscape and removing barriers of entry to those who want to share and sell food. We’re transforming a dump…
…into dumplings. I’ll make dumpling at EatsPlace at Baba’s Cooking School. Handmade new school and new school dumplings.
EatsPlace will be a gathering place for events and tastings. We’re really interested promoting an intrinsic way of eating: seasonally, locally, with your community,
(liveback recipe: 1 jigger of whiskey + live fermented pickle juice chaser)
And sharing experiences and knowledge with others, working together to make EatsPlace your place.