Sunday, February 12, 2012

"we"


last week, while richie was making various super yummy homemade pizzas for the super bowl, mrs. hapa ramen + i were pretty much using the event as an opportunity to just hang out since neither of us really cared about the game.


i know that i was there to just hang out for a bit with richie and mrs. hapa ramen in between finishing up a project before i went on a business trip .....and of course, like i'm going to pass up on opportunity to eat whatever richie feels like making.....





during the hanging out, i mentioned to mrs. hapa ramen that marcia had recommended that i take the goddaughter to foreign cinema which sounded cool....and i had never been before. yeah, i know....it is very odd that i've never been to foreign cinema. anyway, mrs. hapa ramen mentioned that we should all go there for brunch....so fast forward a week later and there we were having brunch once i returned from a recent business trip.

as this was my first time, i had no idea what to expect. when i walked down the dark corridor to the host station, i remember thinking "ummm, this is dark and should be interesting"....like interesting in a twin peaks creepy kind of way. however, when actually entering the restaurant .....it is extremely different. i was relieved. during the hours we were there i found it to be airy, bright, well worn wood accents, comfortable, casual, and so not what i would typically expect for a restaurant in the mission.

it was lovely to just relax, do a bit of catch up, and some noshing (see top pic as well).

i missed out on market yesterday so i asked richie a bit about it. as we all discussed the saturday farmers market at the ferry building.....it reminded me that i hadn't told mrs. hapa ramen how after i did a short stint working FOH a long time ago.....and very soon after i did that particular stint.... i was shopping during a saturday market and folks were asking me "are you guys at the market today?" and my immediate response without really thinking about it was "no, we aren't at the market today.".....in other words....no, hapa did not have a presence at the saturday market that day.

i know that both sus and richie got a big kick of it when i told them pretty soon after it happened. i think mrs. hapa ramen got a kick out of it during brunch as well.

after we finished up brunch and i headed home, i started thinking more about the whole "we" thing.

that time at the market, i really didn't think about what i was saying. i suppose if i had really thought about it, i would have responded with "no, hapa isn't at the market today." but i didn't....because i didn't think about it...i just responded.

these days....when i am helping out with hapa, i use the royal "we" a lot when talking to clients and the public. because it makes sense in that context. when i'm in the stand or at an event, there is a switch that gets flipped and i'm in hapa mode. i can speak with confidence regarding the food providence, the quality of the ingredients, the farms and farmers, the flavor profiles, the intentions behind the food, and the passions of those cooking the food.

because i have seen it. because i have tasted it. because i have been listening....for well over a year now.

so when i am helping out with hapa, i feel like i'm representing them, their efforts, their intentions, and their passions. it is important to me that the clients feel good, happily nourished, and if they ask....(which they often do in the san francisco bay area) that they obtain an accurate glimpse of the people and ingredients behind what they are eating.

yet, when i am not physically helping out with hapa and folks associate me with hapa....i usually indicate that i only help out occasionally. it isn't because i don't care about them or want to distance myself.....anyone that thinks i don't care about them or seeking to distance myself is severely lacking in reading comprehension skills....also, given that i have a very good job that has some crazy ass hours....i wouldn't help out if i didn't believe in what they were trying to achieve. i think that is pretty obvious.

if i don't refer to myself as a member of hapa it is because i don't want to de-value the amount of work the hapa team puts in. in terms of hours, the time i put in to help out is incredibly minuscule in comparison to the amount of work that the individual team members put in. relatively speaking, if the amount of work that a core member of hapa puts in is the size of the universe....the time i put in isn't even the size of an atom.

i really don't think everyday folks truly understand the amount of prep and work goes into the food.

admittedly, i have...quite frankly....given certain members (who shall remain nameless) a wee bit of a hard time for not publicly touting the kinds of techniques they use....and how they are constantly and continually doing research to learn/experiment/innovate....and the amount of sheer fucking work that goes into breaking down 300 pound riverdog farm pigs, the in-house charcuterie, the multitude of pantry items made from scratch, some of the lovely dishes at the private events, and a hella lot more that reflects what it REALLY means to cook food with good intentions.

yet, i can also understand their perspective.

they often think the food on the plate or bowl should speak for itself and that they shouldn't need to talk about the other stuff.

sigh.

i guess what i'm trying to say is that the whole "we" thing is complicated. not in a bad way though. it just isn't as black and white as it may seem.

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