I have the unique experience of being a private chef to the wealthiest people in the world, in their many homes, luxury yachts and private jets.
Creatively, I hit the jackpot with unlimited budgets and access to the world’s best ingredients. I found something I loved and am able to create a living around that passion.
I adore cooking.
Great things, magical things actually, happen when you’re cooking for others.
The problem started a few years ago. I would leave 740 Park Avenue, at the time the richest building in New York, and greet the same homeless man.
The extreme wealth, juxtaposed against the extreme poverty.
Profoundly unsettled me and still unsettles me. At the time, living in Bed-Stuy, devastatingly visible was the difference in the quality of life of the members of each of these neighborhoods.
Could things be made different?
The experiences of people of color and poor people are often ignored. I began to formulate a plan; it would involve taking personal, financial and professional risks. Endlessly curious and fascinated by the stories of others, I wanted to find out was happening within those few short miles that impacted life outcomes. Obviously there would be some obstacles to my curiosity such as, how would I get inside their homes, in the projects and section 8 housing; would they be willing to show me what they ate; could I teach them how to cook well on their budget; and would they be committed to joining an investigative journey to discover whether or not good food was rapidly becoming a privilege instead of a necessity?
While the families are the focus of the film, it briefly touches on my own journey in finding and building trust with them and allowing our journey to be filmed. The film also exposes my own profound ignorance, as I learn what issues these families face day to day.
Resilience – these people have it in spades.
I am frustrated and often offended by the media’s and politics ́obsession with the nation’s avoidable lifestyle diseases. Mark Bittman, Michael Pollan and Dr. Hyman all advocate that to cook at home is the single best thing to do for one’s health. It is easy to do that with a large pay check, good education and a killer stove. You have to be a whole lot more creative and a much better to cook to pull it off on the cheap.