On July 4th of this year I was given the opportunity to help cook lunch for an event honoring His Holiness the Dalai Lama who was on a world-tour promoting peace for his 80th birthday...
When my friend Kerry Brown mentioned he was helping to organize the event all I could think was "how do I get in on this...??" Kerry in turn put me in touch with Michael Hebb, culinary provocateur and joiner-togetherer of awesome peoples who amassed the team. With Chef Jesse Barber at the healm, and Brendan McGill, Jeffrey Zurofsky, Mikaela Reuben, and myself as co-conspiritors, an incredible vegan menu was conceived. A bounty of 25 different types of vegetables that came in from Apricot Lane Farms and Archi's Acres formed the base of what truly became a feast for the 150 guests; vibrant tomatillos, summer squash, spring onions, leeks, a rainbow of peppers, creamy flagolet beans, tiny strawberries so perfect and ripe you could eat them greens and all.
We used Custom flameware ceramic dutch oven pots created with love and intention by Travis McFlynn of Sara Mc Design (cera-mic, get it?), the likes of which can be used over open flame, stovetops, and wood burning ovens... not to mention they can withstand temperatures up to 1100 degrees, and then be plunged into a snowbank. Genius.
The true reward of the day however came when lunch was over and we were able to sit in the presence of the man himself. Compassion, love, peace, and a sweet tenacious laugh radiated off of His Holiness who led the crowd in a group meditation and delivered a message so simple yet profound you couldn't help but believe that 7 billion people could learn to love one another. We left humbled, beaming, drunk on joy.
Perhaps if the world could sit down for just one day... share a simple meal, and entertain the possibility that we are all one, each a tiny moving part in a vast and magnificent universe; that our life's purpose is to be happy and to cultivate happiness in others, we could take a step closer to the Dalai Lama's vision of global unity and love.
Peace... it's what's for dinner.