Posts tagged #Southern Lunch Counters

How Chefs and Hotels Invented Civilization

While the world cheers the release of the journalists held under virtual house arrest in Libya at Tripoli’s esteemed Rixos Al Nasr Hotel, many in the hospitality industry are proud of the heroic professionalism of the staff there.

In addition to having to cross dangerous battle lines each day to even get to work, workers at the Rixos Al Nasr Hotel knew that their ever action to support and serve the trapped journalists was observed and reported to the Gaddafi government by official “minders” and other undercover agents inserted into the Hotel's departments. 

Thankfully, the International Red Cross has been able to intervene as the city moved under newer government control and the journalists have now been allowed to leave the Hotel.

Yet can we be truly surprised that such support for freedom of choice and speech came, not only from Geneva, but also from the cooks and staff at the Hotel. Historically hotels and restaurants have always been a place of gathering where ideas could be freely discussed.

From the independent coffee houses of Vienna to the lunch counters of America’s South, when people can gather together and speak freely, humanity is always well served, along with the cuisine.

So it should come as no surprise that researchers at Harvard University now believe that cooking, rather than weapons, make humans, well, truly human. Dr. Chris Organ, who led the study, believes that “in the big picture, eating cooked food had huge ramifications.”

Not only did cooked food provide a bigger nutritional punch than a raw diet, it also eventually provided a cultural focus point that promoted art, language, farming and trade (something war and violence has never done).

So take pride once again in our industry. Down through history, the creative chef, the welcoming host have been there in both good and bad times making a difference, reminding us all with flavor and flair who we really are as people.

Your Culinary World copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel 2011