The past few years I decided to take a step back from everything to really understand what Acquired Taste is. It was 2007 when I first launched our website and 2011 when I decided to move our content offline into print. A few years prior, Anthony Bourdain had released his infamous book, Kitchen Confidential and I realized that there was a part of the culinary world that wasn’t being publicized. There was plenty of press and buzz around the industry, but there wasn’t anything being said from the perspective of those actually working in it. Acquired Taste was essentially born from my own experiences in the industry: as a cook, front-of-house manager, all the odd jobs I had in between – food running, bussing, room service, you name it – and the idea that there were so many untold stories that deserved to be heard.
When you create something, you have a general idea of where you want it to go and how you want it to get there. But similar to having a child, you have no idea what it’s actually going to be when it grows up. All you can do is keep feeding it, teaching it things, and guiding it in the right direction with high hopes that one day it will flour- ish into something amazing and live up to its full potential. Along the way, you might realize that you’ve focused on the wrong things. Maybe you’ve neglected important things and as a result, you have to take a step back to either re-learn everything you thought you knew, or to try and change directions. With regards to the magazine, I had to take a step back – not to destroy everything that we had built up, but to really focus on what Acquired Taste was about and what I wanted it to continue being.
Our “thing” has alway been to focus on the people who help build our food experiences. Whether it be a farmer, winemaker, distiller, restaurateur, barista, roaster, ceramicist, architect or chef, we’ve always aimed to celebrate what we believe is the most important ingredient in food culture – the human ingredient. This is something, I’m proud to say, has never gotten lost along the way. During these past few years, we’ve been blessed with some incredible opportunities that have allowed us to travel around the world and further our knowledge of what makes this industry great. The amount of people we’ve met, the stories we’ve heard and the experiences during this time have been invaluable, and only re-affirmed our belief that the people working in this industry are truly the most important aspect behind food culture.
In this issue we go back to our Canadian roots, touching on a few key players and places that are doing amazing things. One of those places and people are the team at Wolf in the Fog in Tofino, BC, who were recently recognized as one of Canada’s best restaurants. We also had the chance at a very candid interview with Susur Lee, who although internationally known, continues to grow his success in the soil he started out in.
During our hiatus, we also took some time to reflect on ways we could contribute something positive to the people and culture we work so closely with, so we created The Food Runners, a run club comprised of some of our city's most talented chefs. Our hope is that we might be able to inspire and connect chefs from all around the world to make a change and create healthier lives for themselves.
Beyond our Canadian counterparts, we shed light on one of our favourite cities, Portland, Oregon and a few of the influential individuals who sparked the initial buzz around the city and helped it get where it is today. We also honed in on the dedicated community we’ve had the plea- sure of building on social media through The Coffee Project.
I really believe that our time away from producing Acquired Taste was for the best. Not only for our readers, but for us, too. That being said, we appreciate everyone who has been on this wild ride with us and hope that you enjoy reading this issue as much as we enjoyed creating it.
- Chuck Ortiz