Recently I have found myself thinking back on the 7 years since Food n’ Focus began, and how amazing this time has been, but also reflecting on how much hard work and effort has gone into getting to the point where I find myself today. Now that I’m less than 2 weeks away from the beautiful country of France becoming my intermediate home, all of the lessons I have learned and the experiences I have been able to take part in, are working together to see me off to my biggest adventure yet.
It’s difficult to think back to a time before Food n’ Focus was part of my life, in a way it must be like a parent trying to remember what life was like before having children – however if I take my mind back in time to ask myself if I thought I’d ever be packing my bags and heading off to France to chase a dream of being a food photographer, I wouldn’t have thought it was in the cards. I had been interested in cooking and photography since an early age, but it wasn’t until a serendipitous trip to Paris in 2011 where the adventure began, and my love of food and photography combined to form a dream of becoming a food photographer.
Over the better part of a decade I’ve worked to advance my skills and prefect the craft of food styling and photography. While it hasn’t been easy, the lessons that I learn on a daily basis are what keep me progressing, Food n’ Focus moving forward, and ultimately provides confirmation that starting Food n’ Focus has been one of the best things I have ever done. As a result, I no longer have to say that I have a “dream” of becoming a food photographer, I can confidently say that I am one. With a dream as my reality I’m only a few short days from arriving in France, immersing myself in new cultures, and also providing a platform for Food n’ Focus to become more global. Think of it as a homecoming for Food n’ Focus.
There are so many exciting things that I have been planning over the past few months, for example I have an incredible road trip through Provence planned in the middle of September. I’ve been researching the cities to be explored, markets to be strolled through, and the vineyards to be photographed. Even with so many Provincial wonders to choose from, I can easily say at the top of my list is an early morning hike to experience the magic of the sunrise over rolling hills of lavender fields. I can’t wait to share the stories and images from this road trip with everyone on Food n’ Focus, the challenge being writing about topics that might otherwise be beyond words.
Throughout the process of moving to France I have tried to think about breaking up the trip into seasons, much like I do with my quarterly cookbook CUISINE: Recipes for the Season. What I’ve found is that if you allow the seasons to be your guide in cooking or travel, you are able to capture the events, spices, and recipes at their peak. Along this line, if you’ve ever had winter truffles you know that they are only available for an abbreviated period, and they are also one of the most magnificent things on the planet. The bottom line is that they are something everyone should try, and your timing needs to be perfect if you are going to indulge in one of the most sought after ingredients in the world.
Luckily, I’ve penciled in a trip to the Dordogne-Périgord region of France which is home to arguably the best truffles in the world, the winter black Périgord truffle. Hunting down these truffles with a dog’s keen sense of smell is an adventure all on its own, however I hope to chase the adventure all the way though the dinner coarse where these “black diamonds” top everything culinary during the fleeting season of these insanely expensive fungi.
While France will be where I spend most of my time, it would be a shame to miss out on the culture and cuisine of neighboring countries, which is why I’m going to do my best to see as much as possible, while still traveling slowly enough to acquire currently unknown culinary techniques and form new friendships along the way. Those of you who have been following the developments of my move may have already seen that I’m planning 7 weeks in Tuscany, this extended stay in Italy provides me an opportunity to expand my pasta making knowledge and discover new recipes to share with you – I’m already working with individuals in Italy who are eager to bring their local stories to the Food n’ Focus family.
This next year is about adventure, I don’t know what all will be in store for me over the coming year, but that’s what adventure is, setting off on a coarse with an idea of where you are going, but without a complete plan. I know that part of my plan includes being inspirational for those of you who are looking for encouragement to take that next big leap. I want my adventure to become your adventure as well, whether that’s through enjoying my stories along the way, or using my experiences as encouragement to turn your own dreams into reality.
Thank you for reading Food n’ Focus, and helping turn my dream into a reality.