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« The San Francisco Chronicle Sens Restaurant Review | Main | Mandarinquats. So many, so little time. »

27 December 2007


It's important, now more than ever, that an authentic voice be heard in the airbrushed din of food overexposure! Those of us that read this blog applaud you for continueing to shine your light on the parts of the process that are so often glossed over. This business is very hard, but so very rewarding....Thanks for speaking to it so eloquently! To directly answer your last question ' can you say true to both crafts?'...Yes you can, you already do!

Someone has to say something- even if it is small clear voice. If you don't write something is this small clear voice of reason than the larger population won't think about the bigger picture of the whole food business- the farmers, the farmworkers, the wholesale distributors, the dishwashers, the cooks, the chefs, the food servers etc. . .
And when you write great stuff and get people to at least think someone is going to act and that action is what makes a big difference. Keep writing, your voice is not as small as you think. The words you have written will start the ball rolling, people thinking, talking and then doing something.

First, are the celebrity chefs really saying what they think or do they have other influences feeding them information? I take a Bill Hicksian approach to that: when you see one being a spokeswh*re for a product, everything they say will now be tainted, I don't care how positive it is, they're getting paid to say certain things and I will not listen.

What are the roles you speak of that are historically enemied? Cooks and writers or celebrity chefs and the rest of us?

Just because someone's famous doesn't mean the words that come out of their face hold any more importance than before they had the money and fame. Society likes to make us THINK it does, but it doesn't. Sometimes I wonder if the celebrities wonder what it was once like to be the "little guy" and could they do it again if they had to? Are certain jobs beneath them now? Will they not pick up a knife for less than $10,000 a day? Celebrity really effs things up. It does not make anything better; I couldn't live in a fishbowl under a microscope and don't care who thinks they can.

I write like nobody's reading. I always have. This world is so huge but has been made so small with this internet that you don't know who is reading you. And if they don't like what you have to say, they need to re-evaluate who THEY are to have the audacity to get mad at anything anyone says.

Hi Shuna,

I read your blog because I know it's an honest, personal expression. I think you're actually really brave in your personal disclosures and vulnerabilities. I really don't think we need any more "sweetened" contributions to the marketing machinery that endlessly tries to dictate to us how our lives should be or how idyllic that perfect restaurant meal will make our life experience. Honestly, I'd rather read a real person's epiphany about how to boil an egg than a glossy, stylized magazine article by a celebrity chef. Why? Because it's a real experience, not some trumped up, glamourized, perfectly marketed, make-uped experience. Don't give me a glossed version of reality - give me the real thing!
Of course you can stay true to both crafts. Tell it how it is.
You may thing of yourself as a "small voice", but I value that voice, and I read you more than any celebrity chef. It's pretty easy to tell what's heartfelt.


I recently gave out cookie boxes for the holidays--in original made boxes with custom labels and every cookie made from scratch. Some of the recipients said, "You should really get into this business" and all I could think of was your blog and how much work and sweat and sacrifice is involved with any food industry effort.

I've never quite dreamed of being a baker or a restaurant owner-chef; I knew I was a writer at 10 years old and have tried to stick with that. I know that the commitment I made to writing as a child was the kind of commitment I would need to give food--and while I love food, experimentation and the delight on the faces of people who eat my food, your words and insight refuse to allow me to dream naively. This is not a critique, but a grateful "Thank you" for revealing the truth of the industry and giving me a "backstage pass" of sorts.

Perhaps one day I'll be okay with turning my life upside-down and seeing where food takes me. But I would do so with open eyes and for that alone I feel that your role as a chef-writer is valuable. As a writer myself, I believe in the power of truth, truth-as-fiction, story and storytelling. You are only offering your truth, which is all any writer can offer, but every story is important and now, when I let myself dream a little about diving into the industry, I dream of hands that are scarred and feet that are tired, a brain that has stretched its creativity and a sense of satisfied exhaustion.

Never question your purpose--imagine others like me who REALLY want to know, who aren't interested in the glitz of TV-Land but in the truth, the underbelly--and continue to write, continue to share.

Being a chef and a writer are both creative and artistic pursuits--it doesn't surprise me at all that there are strong voices in the chef community. So keep writing. Seems there are quite a few people interested...

Your last paragraph upsets me. It's frankly unfair to hide behind a minimized value of your words' power. I have hurt people with my words, both written and spoken, but I accept and admit that. When you write, you affect people, either directly or indirectly and you have to accept's the responsibility of writing where people can read your words. However, you don't have to worry about you? It's laughable that you'd say so publicly that you've always written like no one else was reading when in fact your blog has recently been closed to all but invited readers. I don't care what you feel like you need to say or who you need to say it to, but don't hide behind a screen of innocence, a denial or your true intentions, and a misconception of the power of language.

everyone has something to say. we have found your blog and read it for whatever reason. some of us return to read more. voices like yours count. it takes a special someone to maintain both, but it can be done.

First of all -- Shuna, I totally apologize that this is going on in your comments. I think it is unnecessary but necessary at the same time.

The reason my blog is locked is for professional reasons, Brother Aaron. I live in Las Vegas and have been talking MASS GARBAGE about a celebrity chef here. Not good for employment. They blacklist cooks/chefs here. This is the first time in my seven years of blogging that I've had to do this. I don't like it, but to be honest, I don't think more than ten people read my blog to begin with and that's a generous estimate. I know my scope and my appeal. It is very limited. I like it that way.

And trust me, nothing that I say will bother anybody (unless your name is Mr. Celebrity Chef). But when someone does take issue with what someone else says, don't you think they SHOULD think about why they're getting upset instead of being a baby and being all "you hurt my feelings, anonymous internet blogger!" Words are words, I can't control how they make a person feel and that is not my intention. You say my last paragraph bothered you. What do you want me to do about it? I don't know you, you don't know me, what's the problem? What do I owe you? Are we now living in an age of being perpetually offended at words? How did I know you'd be hurt at what I said? How did I know you exist and read Shuna's blog?

See what I'm saying?

I can not censor myself on the off chance one dude in millions and billions might be bothered. How can I be true to myself if I am worried about how others take what I say? Would you live your life like that? Should I? Should any of us? How is that fair?

I minimize the importance of my words and opinions because I am nothing more than another human being on this planet trying to get through this life.

There is a reason Shuna has me linked under the category "Not For the Meek". When I unlock my blog, you might realize why. I can sound ghetto-ignorant (something I picked up in chef school) but I know how to get a point across. And usually, I will make a body laugh doing it.

But... if you are being paid for writing a blog, you should be more careful. There is a new level of influence that comes with more exposure (and $$$). You're put under a microscope even more with people who might not have a clue what you go through every day calling the shots and molding you to a specific form they are requiring. I think that is highly unfortunate. I would hate to be controlled by something I have such disrespect for, but that's me and I am not important. I'd like to know how you think I am.

I think you are a ball of contradictions.
On one hand, you say practically no one reads your blog, but you are worried about the chance that certain individuals do. On one hand you say you don't intend to affect people with your words, but on the other you recognize your power to make them laugh. On one hand, you say personal censorship isn't fair, but you've locked your blog and censored it to the vast majority of the world.
I'm not saying you should worry about hurting the anonymous stranger. I only ask that you recognize your power to do so, the power words have in a public forum, and the validity of that response from a reader, a fellow human being.
As for asking me "how you think I am," I think you are discontented, dissatisfied and too scared to do anything about it. For the same reason you've locked your blog, you've locked your've frozen yourself from changing a situation you know is awful and unsatisfying.
I can't be certain, but dear Raspil, your words have let me in on a bit of your personality.
Think that's an unfair assessment? Well, those are just words, I can't help how an anonymous "dude" will respond.

We read because it reminds us of the real, the heat, the life. The bobbing heads on the food network do the world a disservice when culinary schools are flooded with applicants because of something they were inspired by from the great dumb box. I have deferred more than one person to your "culinary school" and other postings because they tell the truth.
Thanks. Don't stop.

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