Foodportunity: Forging friendships through food

Foodportunity (n.) – An opportunity in food means the possibility to fluently speak the native language – food – no matter where you are in the world.

My foodportunity started from humble beginnings to grow into the business of finding the most authentic tastes to share with my newfound global family of adventurers.

We, as a collection of individuals, are constantly exploring and creating our own fusion cuisines, and along the way, gaining cultural lessons without even realizing it.

My first real foodportunity was a semester abroad in Turkey during university. This was my first experience out of the country and it proved to be not only a time of cultural exchange, but of food exchange as well. Eating fresh figs, spiced lamb, and Turkish yogurt became a joy because it was it was both new and different, but the real joy was dining in local restaurants and the homes of my host friends and their families. To this day, one of my most memorable experiences was a casual dinner with some local families and other American students. The 15 of us melded traditional American grilling techniques with traditional Turkish seasonings and spices. As the sun set over the Bosphorus River, these simple cooking traditions forged lifetime friendships.

Much less far-flung, the next big foodportunity started when I moved to Seattle. One word: Salmon (and a second: Halibut). I can say, with certainty, that the Pacific Northwest has access to some of the best fish and seafood in the world. Sadly, I arrived at the peak of Copper River Salmon season. I say “sadly” because when that’s the first salmon you’re introduced to here, the rest of the year feels like a bit of a let-down; truth be told, I do love Yukon River Salmon, as well. As a new arrival, I went to different salmon tasting events and met people who had been doing this for more than 20 years. In Seattle, as elsewhere, new friends are never hard to find when great food is plentiful.

These days, I am living in both Singapore and Seattle. In my time spent in Singapore, I’ve had the foodportunity to travel to Osaka for ramen, Thailand for curries and India for Punjabi and Tamil food.  In all of these experiences (also including Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia), what I’ve seen can best be described as deeply shared food cultures – The ability to eat local, but create new fusion dishes that take elements from all over the world to cook up rich experiences and new friends for life.

Seattle, south to Portland and north to Vancouver, creates a Pacific corridor of amazing, fresh, local ingredients that hunger for an international twist. Oregon has truffles, strawberries and blueberries. Washington has crab, geoduck, oysters and apples. Vancouver has halibut, salmon and clams, not to mention the countless bakeries, smokehouses and miles and miles of farmland.

The Pacific Northwest is the perfect place to find, or create, new fusion dishes that will take the world by storm. MIEW’s Foodportunity is just beginning, but our success will be determined by how much we can honor the food cultures we are bringing together.

Eat well,
Chris

What’s your Foodportunity? We share ours on Twitter @MiewFoodsLLC

This post is both a view into the inspiration behind MIEW and an entry in Keren Brown’s Foodportunity 2013 contest to describe “what does an opportunity in food look like to you?” Join us to talk (& taste) food at Foodportunity on Oct. 28 >> Details here