Wednesday, May 25, 2011

FROM PLATE TO PAGE

They may forget what you said, but they will never forget the way you made them feel.
- Carl Buechner

Passion is a curious thing. “Great enthusiasm, the object of this; strong emotion,” defines my Oxford American Dictionary. But simply “great enthusiasm” sounds rather bland and everyday, these words carefully chosen and written in black on white in my much thumbed, beloved book belie the exuberance, fail to capture the energy and enthusiasm bespoke in this one word. Passion inspires a rapturous, unadulterated exhilaration, pure pleasure bordering on madness, a willingness to forget all else when once the object of said passion is encountered, even an earnest readiness to bare one’s soul prompted by the hungry craving to indulge in one’s own passion. “Strong emotion” transforms into frenzy, an incredibly intense devotion, Pygmalion’s passionate love for his sculpture.

Photo courtesy of Jenn of Jenn Cuisine


One year carved out of our lives, Jeanne, Ilva, Meeta and I, chipping away at the hard surface of time and place, searching for the beauty that lies beneath in our own passionate attempt to create something that meant so much to us, giving birth to our own Galatea, wrapping her sensuous marble nakedness in silk and draping pearls and rubies around her elegant neck. As the days flew by and the planning moved from mellow, thoughtful movements to a frenzied dance, as the time approached and our pick and hammer began hacking desperately at the surface in our desire to reveal her perfect proportions, to run our fingers over the smooth, cool surface of the finished product, to embrace our creation in all of her glory, our passion was blended and tempered by the fear of imperfection, our wavering self-confidence breathing hesitation and doubt into our days. Yet there was no turning back, and we would never have even considered it! Our desire, growing larger and deeper each day, was overwhelming and we knew that From Plate to Page just had to be created. So with the final click of metal on marble, as the last swipes of the cloth burnished and polished the surface to perfection, we packed our bags, boarded planes and trains and were whisked off to that land unknown, ready – or not – to unveil our chef d’oeuvre to a waiting public.


Follow your heart, but be quiet for a while first. Ask questions, then feel the answer. Learn to trust your heart.
- Anonymous

Passion is a curious thing. What forms this connection to, this desperate urge for one object? For some it is sport, for others shoes, for yet others something more esoteric and ethereal. It can be selfish, the yearning to claim something for one’s own, sheltered from all prying eyes or grasping fingers. It can be overwhelming, pervasive, all-encompassing in its total exclusion of all else until exhaustion leads to total downfall. Or it can be intoxicating, stimulating creativity, inspiring a generosity to share, the hunger to learn, igniting a fire that is infectious causing giddy laughter, zealous chatter and the loosening of all timidity or fear of exposure and ridicule.


For a truly passionate lover of words such as I, there is no better word to describe our first From Plate to Page workshop than passion. Once the first (and second, not to mention third) round of hugs was given to each attendee as they arrived, amid the screeches and giggles as of a first day at camp, we felt the enthusiasm bubble up to the surface and spill over into every movement, every sentence uttered. The activities began immediately, sharing ideas and provoking thought and discussion, handing out exercises like candy to eager children. Yes, yes, there was a fair share of groans and rolled eyes as the first test of their power was handed to them on pink post-it notes. Scratched heads, the occasional burst of laughter, the mumblings of doubt and grumblings of not enough time, but in a matter of seconds the passion kicked in and the room was soon filled with the heady haze of creativity. And as the weekend rolled by, amid the clatter of forks and knives, the clicking of cameras, the scraping of pen on paper or the clickety-clack of fingers rushing along keyboard, the love of food, images and words, the overwhelming urge to learn and improve, the appetite to share rose like beauty from a clump of earth and our common passion brought us together in perfect rhythm and unison. The fragrance of roasting lamb and fresh, sweet strawberries, the tickle of bubbles of sparkling white wine and the intensity of cured meats and sharp cheeses, the groans of pleasure of 16 food bloggers while biting into warm, buttery kouignettes enjoyed late in the afternoon or the rambunctious sing-along to ABBA blasted from laptops, the cracking of crab shells and ticking of wine glasses lifted in toast after toast illuminated a truly enjoyable, animated, intense weekend.


Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.
-Angela Monet

Ilva and Meeta working on food styling with Mona and Jasmine

Jeanne, Ilva, Meeta and I were amazed at this passion bordering on obsession, thrilled with the flow of positive energy from each participant. Our every wish was granted when we experienced such harmony, the dynamics between the group whether working together as a group, in pairs or individually was like some perfect creation. We feared Frankenstein and we ended up with My Fair Lady.

I took so much home with me, my baggage filled to overflowing with not only inspiration and ideas but memories and friendships strong and lasting. That common bond, that shared passion brought us together and infused the entire weekend with laughter and song, great food and industry. It fed my own passion and my vision and it has convinced me of the power of community.

Simone and me

And now as the words begin to flow again, I can’t but help think of more and more that are so fitting to the Plate to Page weekend and all that the participants exuded: dedication, devotion to their craft, honesty in their work and in their friendship, spirit with a touch of moxie thrown in for good measure, zeal tempered with humility, motivation and persistence to hone their skills and create something of quality, something to be proud of. Not to forget generosity and goodness as well as unbounded glee and wit bordering at times on buffoonery.

Simone and Ken

I don't know how but I suddenly lose control
There's a fire within my soul
Just one look and I can hear a bell ring
One more look and I forget everything, w-o-o-o-oh
- ABBA

Mona working with Julia

Just a quick word of thanks to our amazing sponsors: our main sponsor Bord Bia (The Irish Food Board), Wines of South Africa, Hotel Chocolat, Prokit UK, Maison Georges Larnicol, OXO, Ergo Chef Knives, Sweet Pete’s and the lovely Paula Walters. Their amazing generosity allowed us not only to offer superb gifts to our participants, but they helped make this fantastic weekend possible and much more tasty and fun!

Photo courtesy of Simone of Junglefrog

And a warm fuzzy thanks to my colleagues and sisters, Ilva, Meeta and Jeanne (my stunning co-wordsmith and writing instructor); where would I be without you three? xo

39 comments:

Ilva said...

all i can say is: a giga MWHA to you

Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite said...

Looks like such a wonderful weekend Jamie. One of these days it won't be impossible for me to attend a weekend event in Europe, I am hoping....

chefpandita.com said...

Seems you all had a lot of fun, wish I could have been there! I sure need help with my photos and writing... I got a new camera and started a photography class this week. You all inspire me to be a better writer/photographer :) xoxo

Junglefrog said...

There is only one person who can express the feeling of Plate to Page so well as you Jamie! I cannot begin to tell you how much it all meant to me and how much I enjoyed and loved getting to know you bunch of crazy ladies!

Astrid Rauscher said...

thanks for making this weekend so very special for all of us!

Jeanne said...

MAMMA MIA - here we go again! I am still living in a bubble of memories from the weekend - Ilva's fuzzy dance, the Pirates of the Caribbean, "Oi!", and the Pink Post-its of Doom. Can't believe it was over so soon - we literally did have the time of our lives! You're a great co-conspirator and co-presenter & it's always a pleasure doing business with you ;)

Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen said...

The four of your ladies look so radiant in that first and last picture, you can truly see the bond between you and the mutual passion that brought you all together.

polkadotcupcake said...

Sigh.. these and all the photos and other posts floating about have me sighing and sad that I wasn't there.. what an amazing weekend you all had, how very privileged we are to be witness to this amazing passion!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

It seems that you had a blast in Weimar! Oh, how I would have loved to have been there with you all and met you in person...

Cheers,

Rosa

Sam said...

It looked like such a fabulous week end. Im glad it was everything you wanted it to be.
sam x

WiseMóna said...

Wow - you sure do have a way with words.....thanks Jamie for such a wonderful life-changing experience. The head is still reeling from everything I have learned and my heart is longing for the next workshop!

Móna xxxxx

Barbara Bakes said...

It sounds like an amazing event. How I would love to have been there with you.

Debugcooking said...

Wow...such a lovely post Jamie..im glad i gotto spend a lot of time in the train and the airport with ya!!And how can I forget out ABBA Karaoke??? I have learnt a lot from all the 4 of you and will hopefully be able to improve my posts...

Lana said...

I am so happy that your Galatea turned out so perfect! I became very close to some people in Atlanta, but such a small group as P2P must have felt like family! Great post and wonderful photos.

kellypea said...

What an amazing opportunity for you all. It's definitely something I'd love the chance to do and much different than attending a big todo such as BlogHer Food. I enjoyed your descriptions of all the sensory aspects of you time together. Truly wonderful.

thepickyeater said...

i had to listen to mamma mia after reading this post :D lovely pics...there is so much passion in every word you write

Robin said...

You have all created something so special and I really feel the passion, love and artistry all the way over here! I have a similar vibe going with my styling classes at FIT in NYC but believe it or not some students are forced to take the class as part of their major and aren't really into it!! When someone chooses to be a part of this creative fusion they get the most out of it, and wow! Your people travelled from all over to be with you, so congratulations on giving birth to this beautiful baby!! Can't wait to see more photos and stories.

Meeta K. Wolff said...

What was created with true passion has ended with a strong respect and extreme pride that we not only pulled the 1st WORKshop off but proud to have had such great and motivated participants. I am all geared for the next one already.

Sarah James said...

It looks like such a wonderful, passion filled weekend. I can only imagine the creativity and love that was felt.
Thank you for sharing this - it helps me remember my passion for food, writing, and sharing it with the world.

Shulie said...

You ladies seems so genuine and so caring. I followed your top notch conference via twitter. I wish I were there. So grounded so passionate and it sure shows it transcended!! Job well done Jaime and Meeta and though I don't know the other two ladies I see why a friendship was forged! :)

Anh said...

a huge congrats on the team! i know you guys would be awesome. i just KNOW! :)

5 Star Foodie said...

Looks like such a fun meetup with great friends!

Sally - My Custard Pie said...

Passion for food and sharing food (whether cooking or blogging it) seems to appeal to generous people. I've never met a food blogger I didn't like and it's opened a world of wonderful friendships. Really enjoyed your account and it sounds like you've achieved a pretty special event here. Now really excited about my first ever food blogger conference in August (FBC11).

Jenn said...

Awww such wonderful memories!!! And I totally agree, passion was definitely the theme of the weekend - thanks so much for all of your hard work and making this workshop a reality - and lots and lots and lots of hugs!

Alessio said...

Even if for only 1 day and 1 night I got a share of the thrill and buzz that permeated this workshop.
How can anything go wrong when such wonderful Ladies are those in charge???
Nicely written Jamie, the classical atmosphere echoes very well the bucolic venue of Plate 2 Page.

Cathy said...

What a fantastic experience. I loved all your photos, Jamie. It sounds like you had a grand time.

Anna Johnston said...

What a brilliant weekend, it looked like so much fun. I love the pic with all you girls in your aprons..... Soooooooo cool. :)

Jasmine said...

"They may forget what you said, but they will never forget the way you made them feel."

I will never forget our special weekend full stop! None of it is ever going to be forgotten! :)
Thank you for all your inspiring lessons and for the good times we shared.

xoxo

Jasmine

A Thought For Food said...

Oh the trouble we would have gotten into if I were there! I'm so jealous of this gathering. Looks like you all had a fantastic time!

Deeba PAB said...

Oh the quotes, the words, the emotions....abso-blooming fantastic Jamie. I am green with ENVY...and I so wish I had been there too. WOW... Humming with Abba as I read the post {again}... just wonderful!!

Neil Butterfield said...

Beautiful post.

gastroanthropologist said...

Always love reading your beautiful words and sounds like a wonderful time shared with a few wonderful and talented people. It's been a little while - how have you been? From the blog it appears as if you have been quite well and enjoying life!

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

How fabulous Jamie. Everyone should experience something like this. Blogging is such fun, n'est pas?
Sam

Kim said...

A picture says a thousand words. What a beautiful, beautiful gathering of like-minded fellows. :-)

[K]

Sarah said...

I'm proud of you that you took your love of blogging, writing and photography and used that to become an entrepreneur. And together with such wonderful friends. Good work!

Barbara | Creative Culinary said...

One day. That's all I can say. You, Meeta, Jenn and others. A big hug.

Cake Duchess said...

I'm with Brian...Oh the trouble had we been there;)This looks and sounds like it was a perfect weekend. I would have loved to have shared some moments with all of you. You all rock!:)

Ken│hungry rabbit said...

Reading this post 4 weeks later brought back the fond memories. I'm so glad we finally met and in such a wonderful Workshop that you and the ladies have created. Congrats on the success and all the best to future workshops. I wish I could attend every single one.

asiangrrl said...

This is just amazing, Jamie. Congrats to you and all the wonderful people who participated!

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