The French Quarter in New Orleans. (Contributed)

On Cooking: Food is life in so many ways

Go to an area of the world to experience how they live.

One of the biggest influences of my career, and what I enjoy the most, is the inspiration and interaction of people.

To put it simply, we all have taste buds and eat food everyday, so we have a common denominator: we can connect and relate.

However, for me, it goes beyond that. Food is life in so many ways, and I find it brings out the best in people and, thus, gives me a window of opportunity to experience their personalities and what makes them tick.

It is because of this passion I have for people and food that I have become a culinary travel host, along with all the other hats I wear.

Normally my connection with a certain individual is quite short during a cooking class, book signing, or public appearance, so I truly look forward to spending extended time with people. This gives us a chance to broaden our shared passion and our connection with each other.

My next culinary tour is scheduled for October, and gives you have an opportunity to travel with me as we eat our way through Nashville, Memphis, and New Orleans. It is aptly named the Chef Dez “Spoons & Tunes” Culinary Tour because of the vast musical reputation and history of these cities in America.

So many people assume that a culinary tour is just about food and cooking classes, but for me and my tours it is much more than that. My travel consultant and I create adventures that take people to an area of the world to not only celebrate and experience cuisine, but also history, art, architecture, lifestyle and more.

Basically, to sum it up, we go to an area of the world to experience how they live.

With me as their host, we have already taken people to beautiful and historic Savannah, Geogria in 2014, toured the deep-rooted state of Texas in 2015, and submersed ourselves in the cuisine and agriculture of Prince Edward Island in 2016.

The experiences we have had, and the ones to come, fall well into the realms of bucket-list journeys. With the connections that we have in the travel and culinary worlds, we create experiences that you could not do for the same price.

Going on a travel vacation with an organized tour has so many benefits. The research has been done for you, all of the most important details have been taken care of, and you get ample time on your own to explore. This, along with all of the friendships you will form during the process, makes for an unforgettable holiday and life experience.

Whatever way you choose to broaden your gastronomic horizons is a step in the right direction. Even if it is not in your cards to go on a culinary tour, food can be used as a catalyst to enhance people’s lives and enrich relationships in many different ways.

If you’re in a cooking rut, break out of it. Everyone is different and so are our perceptions. Find what inspires you and go after it because chances are you will be cooking and eating food for the rest of your life.

Chef Dez is a chef, writer, and host. Visit him at chefdez.com

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