“Everyone Else Is Taken”- Finding Identity in the Kitchen

I absolutely cannot, under any circumstances, tell you who you are. You really shouldn’t want me to anyway. Brighter minds than mine have peeled apart the notions of “self” and “identity” for centuries (if not millenia) and even they tend to wind up shrugging and going “I dunno… it’s personal I guess.”

A portrait of Oscar Wilde in grayscale with the quote "Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."

And it is. I wrote a few weeks back about how to find your “culinary voice”– which ultimately came down to an elaborate rephrasing of “garbage in, garbage out.” That’s figuring out how to best tell your story though… finding out who you are takes people their entire lives, and is often subject to change.

So this post isn’t a “how-to”- it’s more of an exploration of the question, and especially what it means for us cooks- whether we are brand new and trying to find a place to fit in, or old hands getting flexed out of an industry that we can’t continue in and survive. Both groups- all of us, really- wind up looking at themselves in the mirror and asking, “Who are you?”

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