From Maria Navarro: Restaurants – The Museums of Chefs

Before you start pulling out your holiday decorations this year, there’s one very special day in the hospitality industry that we can’t miss. It has to do with every holiday’s favorite part. Did you guess what I’m talking about?

Food! On October 20th, we celebrate the people behind every plate.

Since 2004, thanks to the late Chef Dr. Bill Gallagher, we celebrate International Chef’s Day.

And as I’m getting ready to prepare for this holiday season, I thought of this humble but amazing profession in a different way.

Have you ever been to a museum? It’s one of the things that’s always on my bucket list for any trip I make. It’s like going through someone’s mind. You get to learn the story behind a painting. You see the artist’s personality and style. You get a sense of what inspired someone to create something.

Well, I think restaurants are the museums of chefs.

When you go to a restaurant, you’re stepping into someone’s home. It’s the place where they spend most of their time. Where they create and prepare an entire experience for us.

Eating in a restaurant can transport you into a different time and place. Why? because you use all five senses. Have you thought about that?!

You get to see how all the different ingredients came together. You feel different textures with every bite. You smell all kinds of flavors. You hear the people and the music around you, and you taste someone’s creation in the form of food. Our five senses come to life.

I once asked a very talented chef what was the reason he got into cooking and decided to become a chef. Besides his love for food and bringing people together, he said: “When I’m in the kitchen, time goes by differently. I can feel my heart beating. I feel alive. It’s a combination of adrenaline and passion for what you do.”

What better way to get to know someone without actually meeting them than by recognizing what they do?

Behind every plate, there’s a story. There’s a reason why someone thought of those ingredients and decided to put them together. There’s a creative process behind every dish that’s waiting for us to discover.

Behind every plate, there’s a pair of hands that most likely have a couple of burns and one or two scars. There’s a team on their feet listening to that one voice that guides them through every service.

Behind every plate, there are previous tastings that made your dish what it is today. There are stories, feelings, and experiences that come together as one dish.

Communicating through food is one of the most powerful ways there is to connect with people. You don’t even need to see the person but you feel like you know them because of what they do.

When you go to a museum you put yourself in the shoes of the artist right? You imagine what life was like when they made that sculpture or painted that painting. You wonder how they were able to express themselves in such beautiful ways. You become empathic. You get to see the same piece of art with a different set of eyes.

Well, when you go to a restaurant it’s not that different. You wonder the same things about the person behind the dish. The only difference is, that restaurants and chefs bring people together. They create experiences that we can enjoy by ourselves but most of the time, with the people that we love.

Think about it. We go out to eat on special occasions. We go out to celebrate, to reunite, to come together, to feel at home.

We don’t always need to go to a restaurant to live this experience. Why? Because where there’s a chef, there’s a way

Take our CEO for example. Luke Fryer is known for hosting employees, customers, and friends down in our NYC office and preparing them a meal. He has a herb garden and a fully stocked kitchen ready to be used! His favorite meal to share is linguini with tomato, basil, and burrata. 

Whether you’re enjoying a meal at someone’s home, or at a restaurant, don’t rush through your experience. Take a look around you. Think about all the people in the back working to create an experience for you.

Just as you would do at a museum, stop and wonder. And instead of buying a souvenir, take a moment to appreciate the hands behind every plate.

After all, they’re the artists.

Maria Navarro is a new contributor to Harri. Born and raised in Mexico, Maria moved to the US with big dreams! Though only 27 she has a passion for hospitality and has worked in a variety of management positions for luxury hotels. Now Maria is pursuing her other love––writing and connecting with people ––and has launched her copywriting business, offering services in both English and Spanish. 

You can read more of her work at

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