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Moving Along and Learning to be Better

Moving Along and Learning to be Better

Food & Entertaining | April 27, 2021
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Amid these crazy times, a change in perspective and learning once more how to be kind is what we need. All these and more, as told by JJ Yulo.

Here we are in April of 2021, and let’s be honest: things could be better. To put it mildly. But if there’s a good lesson I’ve learned throughout all these intensely crazy times, it’s that one of the things we really need most is a change in perspective.

We need to see things from a different angle. And while things are most likely going to change for sure, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Why? Because we have in our capacity the power (and hopefully the will!) to make things better.

Appreciating Effort in the F&B Industry

I almost always write about food—about what I’ve discovered, about new players, trends, and what have you. You can say I take this stuff pretty seriously, and I really do. It’s both a passion of mine and something I’m so plugged into. But even so, I recognize that in this area, there are lots of ways to improve the way things work.

As Chris Evans says in his Smart commercial (just how did they do that?), we have the chance to hit the reset button. Opportunities like this don’t come very often, and I’ve spent some time dreaming of good things and a change in the F&B industry.

For one thing, it would be nice to focus on what most eating establishments should really aspire to be: a community center for the neighborhood. A place to nourish, to unwind, to connect.

I hope that we, the food media, see restaurants as more than a place to loudly proclaim that it’s “masarap”—that there’s also merit in a place working hard to be good at what they do. I hope we can change our perpective by celebrating their efforts, too, beyond giving a review based on personal standards.

May we remember that operating a restaurant is really difficult, especially now of all times. Thus, it is important to have some empathy. With the way we do things these days, a few taps on your keyboard can ruin the hopes and dreams of people who worked hard to even open a business. There’s nothing wrong with constructive criticism—but it can be done sensitively and sensibly.

Of Empathy and Kindness

Another thing—and I believe this is across the board—we all actively have to think about each other’s welfare more. I think that the way we were carrying on (and with how the world was run), it’s become every man left to fend for himself. That may have gotten us into trouble. We had forgotten about inclusivity, kindness, compassion, and how to be human to each other.

Perhaps it’s also time to look out more for the workers in the industry—the waitstaff and the back-of-house employees, for example, who work long hours every day in and day out to make sure the whole machinery works. They work hard and yet, get their butts kicked a lot.

Maybe it’s time to look into more support for them—to find a way to check on those with mental health problems, for instance. Restaurant owners can even arrange for a bit of financial aid for those whose backs are really against the wall. I’ve met some restaurateurs who really look out for their people like they were family, as everyone should. After all, without them, there would be no restaurant.

In our periphery, there are many without means for livelihood. Thus, one of the ideas I’ve always admired is the concept of a community kitchen. The premise is simple: set up a kitchen in an area where it’s needed, and allow it to be used by cooks from nearby to prepare their specialties. Then, they can sell it to people. And with a kitchen manager who makes sure things run smoothly, I think this can be an opportunity for a lot of people to keep afloat.

Paying it Forward

My most favorite idea that I’ve come across recently is from Italy. It’s called “suspended coffee”—a beautiful and simple way to show some love for humanity. When you buy yourself a cup of coffee, you can tell them you wish to buy a “suspended” one, too. Anyone who comes by in need of a cup of coffee, for whatever reason, will be given the suspended one.

I can imagine this saving countless people from losing it completely by providing some semblance of dignity, and a way to literally keep warm. But why stop there? Why not offer suspended lugaw, suspended tapsilog, suspended chicken… and so on and so forth? Because if you really think about it, paying it forward need not be burdensome.

Now, I realize all these may be idealistic. Maybe they are. But I’m sure you’ll agree—we gotta start somewhere. The world is in dire need of healing, and our people need hope to see the light at the end of this bleak tunnel. It can begin anywhere if you think about it—this revolution to make things better.

But why not let it begin with us?

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JJ loves and appreciates good things - delicious food, interesting stories, compelling words, entrancing images, beautiful places, groove filled music - and wants to share it with anyone who cares to listen. He is a friendly face whorls happens to be a food enthusiast. If you want to know what to eat and where you should go, JJ is your guy.
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