We’re shaking things up a bit here this month with Recess, travel edition!
As you might imagine of someone who chooses to cook professionally, a lot of my time and energy while travelling is devoted to exploring, learning (and eating!) through new culinary landscapes. I’m fresh off the plane from San Francisco and points North, and my trip inspired me to share with you some do’s and dont’s for travelling like a chef.
Find a farmer’s market (or two). A highlight for me on any trip is finding a farmer’s market to explore. It’s a great way to meet some of the locals and to get some insider tips on places to eat, drink and be merry. Especially if your trip involves any driving, it is the perfect place to pick up some snacks for the road. My go-tos are always a nice loaf of bread, some local cheese and a snackable fruit or veggie. Farmer’s markets are also usually a great place to sample some of the best street food and local fare if all that shopping makes you hungry!
Have some good coffee plans. The multi-tasking habit dies hard and cramming as many experiences as possible into one trip takes some caffeine. Take advantage of the wifi to snag a reservation at that hip spot the lady selling strawberries at the farmer’s market was telling you about (see above), or to plan your next move!
Take notes (and photos). The cool thing about working in food is that any meal, snack, or menu you peek at is applicable to the creative process - the best part about the job! The downside is that you want to enjoy it in the moment, maybe with a glass of wine or a craft cocktail, and won’t have the sharpest memory later. I document obsessively so that I can look back later and jog my memory about techniques, flavors, and palettes that sparked my interest.
Make reservations and plans for every meal. Make reservations for the few, can't-miss spots that are the highlight of your trip, but leave room for spontaneity. The internet doesn’t know everything, and you might find that your favorite bite or experience of the trip is something you stumble on by accident.
Limit yourself - “hobbit”. Can’t decide where to eat? Don’t be afraid to have it all - I love “hobbiting,” have a few small plates at several restaurants instead of committing to a full meal at just one. Doing a lot of walking or sticking to your workout routine will help prevent over-indulgence.
Pack some essentials (flake salt, pocket knife) - your beachside/mountaintop/poolside picnic will be the envy-inspiring insta-moment of the trip.