I just heard a politician say that he is reintroducing himself. (He had recently been released from prison.) “What a good idea!,” I thought.
I’ll do the same thing: the introducing part, not the prison bit.
To begin at the beginning, my name is not Ilona Chompers. It is Irena Chalmers.
I began my professional life as a British nurse and have been caring about the food and the people who eat it or need it for many years.
I’ve worked in and around restaurants, and recreational and professional cooking schools for what seems like forever.
I’ve had the good fortune to see many of the other workings of the food world at first hand. I’ve visited sheep farmers in Colorado, and traveled to Alaska to get my feet nearly frozen in salmon and halibut fishing boats. I’ve seen catfish aquaculture farms in Mississippi, apple orchards in Washington State, berry fields in Oregon and citrus groves in Fresno.
I’ve visited the vast Canadian prairies when canola is grown and traveled to Plains, Georgia to talk to the peanut growers (and have lunch with President Carter).
I’ve visited palm oil plantations in Malayasia and wineries in Australia and France. I’ve walked among ancient olive groves in Puglia, Italy, and looked with interest at new irrigation methods in gigantic farming operations.
I’ve talked to organic growers operating small family farms and attended many meetings of those speaking FOR and AGAINST food and agricultural biotechnology.
I’ve met many visionaries, who inspired the evolution of the American Food Revolution. Some you know. Some I will introduce to you as I’ve decided: Now is the time to tell a few food tales and scatter many crumbs.
I welcome you to my table and hope you will share your stories too.