Chef: “Hey Dining with Outlaws!”
Me: “Hey chefs! Did we meet before?”
Chef: “Yes the first time we cooked here in 2014.”
Me: “Wait- Doug? Yes that’s me! OMG! Hey!”
It feels really great when the chefs remember you, and it’s especially great when you just vibe with them in the kitchen. The energy flows as it should when you’re having a good time anywhere in life. I looked through the photos of that dinner and realized that was one of my first photography assignments at the Beard House. Oh my, my photos have come a long way since. I’ve been using lighting equipment and props since a few months ago and it’s really taken me to the next level of where I’ve wanted to go creatively.
I’ve been practicing interviewing the chefs in the kitchen since that first day I started taking photos. Now I’m gearing up to start shooting videos, documentary film style and I’m playing around with my shooting style at the moment. Which brings me to wanting to travel to see the chefs in action and spend more time with them, maybe a few days at a time to really document their process. I was intrigued to hear so many chefs if not all from last night’s dinner describe Matt Haley as an extraordinary humanitarian, not just for his contribution to the endless non profit organizations, but for bringing them up, one stepping stone at a time. They all told me the same thing: I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for that guy.
Matt Haley was James Beard Foundation’s 2014 Humanitarian of the Year Award Recipient. Once upon a time, he was once a bad guy, or more of a broken guy. He knew the streets and the streets knew him as well. He was a broken human being, who perhaps through self reflection, pain, sorrow and getting in some trouble, found himself in life and found his true calling. He vowed in his life to make a positive change for others and spent it dedicating his time, energy, and money to help those who are struggling. He helped the poor, he helped the hungry, he helped immigrants, he helped the children who were given up by their parents.
One of the chefs told me he spent his entire life getting in trouble until he met Matt. His mother carried a long unresolved trauma of rejection for the man she married. I don’t know what happened inside their family dynamics but I can only imagine it was very difficult not to have the family support you need and want. We connected through our mutual Korean heritage and the fact we both love Kimchi. Who doesn’t love Kimchi? Everyone should love Kimchi.
When I heard of Matt’s passing away last night, I felt somber and I felt chills. I also felt this was a human we need to talk about and I want to know more about his life and his journey in transforming himself and others. I wish I had the chance to meet this great person, but in a way- that nostalgia of never seeing him or knowing him will inspire me to tell a better story of his legacy. Great people are worth remembering. Matt Haley was James Beard Foundation’s 2014 Humanitarian of the Year Award Recipient. Thanks for being you, and for raising such outstanding chefs! Cheers to you big buy wherever you are!
And the dinner was the Bomb! I didn’t get to eat the dessert, ran out of time! It gives me a good excuse to visit all the chefs!
For more infö about SoDel Concepts and the many restaurants started by Matt Haley, click here.
For the full James Beard Foundation dinner information, click here: