How friendships are made…
Our founder, Crystal, met Karina and Adriano, the creators of Food n’ Road, during one of her speaking events in Bali. This enterprising Brazilian couple were at the start of creating their own project — one to use food tourism as a way to sustain local food traditions found during their travels — and soon, a coffee date was made to compare notes of each others’ experiences!
The interview between Crystal and Food n’ Road was recently published on their website. Below is a preview of the interview. To read it in full, click here.
About Asli Food Project
Why did you create this project?
As a chef, it is important for me to connect with food beyond the kitchen, and I recognized, while living in Indonesia, that regional ingredients and cuisine are woefully unrecognized and neglected. I wanted Asli Food Project to fill that gap, as well as boost my own personal understanding of the relationships between food and people.
How is the perception from local people about your project?
Surprise, shock, excitement and pride — in that order. Everyone I meet cannot believe I chose to be there and learn from them — an American chef in their corner of the world. By the time I leave, they are proud to have been the ones to teach me about their culture and cuisine, and that Asli Food Project will be the one to share it with the rest of the world.
What does food mean to you?
Food is a gateway for me to explore the many curiosities I have in life—chemistry, art, business, social issues, geography, anthropology—and on and on. That’s why I see working in the food industry as more than just a job where I simply make food and serve it. It allows me opportunities — if one can recognize them — to continually engage my brain, and I am thankful that food is the lens I get to use to view the world with.
For your research, most of the time you are traveling solo and exploring places off the beaten track. How do you feel about? Did you have any concerns in the beginning?
I am absolutely anxious before the start of each trip — it doesn’t matter how many of them I’ve done. A bit of doubt creeps in, and I worry, “Will people be nice to me? Will people help me? What if I get sick? What if I get lost?” I can imagine a thousand scenarios of what could go wrong. But the best way to counter my anxiety is to take care of each situation as it arises, if it arises. With this kind of travel, it takes too much energy to worry about what could happen. Deal with it when it does. In the meantime, I live in the moment and explore like I set out to.