As we are settling in Taichung and cooking in my new kitchen since we returned, we have made dozens of friends here with the opportunity of networking myself with my passion for cooking here. Opening a restaurant here would go against everything that we chose for the reasons that we moved here. We don’t want to tie ourselves down here to renting brick and mortar. Economic slowdown has reached Taiwan within the last 12 months now and I have already seen some cafes turnover just within months of opening.
In the interim I have been showcasing different foods by entertaining friends and family while gathering their advice, suggestions and ways of doing business while being able to control our hours and also live the life we chose. Baking donuts is one of those fun experiments while also getting the opportunity to getting to meet new people.
Today marked my very first hosting of a Private Kitchen event with an afternoon lunch and tea with one of my staunch supporters of seeing my passion for food turn into something successful here in Taichung. His name is Robert Lui. I met Robert in the park last Spring while I was walking my dog Mina and he was jogging. Robert stopped to say hello because he found me very interesting – the sight of this tall man walking such a tiny dog. We began to talk and I explained to him why and what I was doing here in Taiwan. That I had lost my job and that since my 2 children were at an age that they could be safe and financially independent, that we made a conscious decision to begin a second life in Taiwan while seeking happiness in the form of my passion for cooking. Robert not only found my story interesting but he invited me as his guest speaker with an English speaking Club that he belongs to in Taichung, called the Toastmasters Club, which has many branches within Taiwan. The Toastmaster’s Club is a periodic gathering where its members promote public English speaking and leadership skills. Robert also felt it was a great opportunity for me to be able to network myself within this club. With the idea of somehow intertwining my passion for cooking within his network of club friends. The idea of maybe being able to have the opportunity to have members gather at my home while I host my private kitchen with whatever food I chose as a menu for the day. It also gives members a chance to engage with me in English and give feedback as to their correct conversation grammar during the private kitchen meal.
I thought it was a great idea and thought how lucky I was to have met Robert by accident in the park. I humbly took Robert’s invitation as a guest speaker in his local Taichung club. It occurred one day last April right before we left to return to NYC for the summer. I had a 30 minute segment where I gave a little biography of myself and how the path led here to Taiwan with Sintty, and what the open road out here is in store for me. I was very appreciative of the opportunity to speak in front of his club members. Robert became a close friend to me and Sintty and we continued to discuss future guest speaking engagements at other local branches while seeking opportunities to host a private kitchen event.
We left for NYC for the summer and when we returned to Taichung in August, Robert and I kept in contact with each other. Robert actually just returned home to Taichung after completing a 1 month long trip around the island of Taiwan by walking and hitchhiking. Circling the island by Taiwan is a very popular thing to do and the method of transportation can be anything from walking, hitching, bicycle or scooter. Today’s private kitchen afternoon lunch and tea paid event was arranged by Robert early this week with 5 of his club members. It was also the first time seeing Robert again since last Spring. From their feedback it was a success. Sintty prepared the fruit and beverages while I prepared home made pizza and baked chicken rolls stuffed with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese, and sugar glazed baked blueberry donuts for dessert. I am slowly getting my feet wet here while making so many friends of which I am so grateful and blessed. And Robert is one of them. I don’t know where this leads to but I’m having a hell of a fun time while I’m at it.