At the beginning of this year, the discovery of social enterprises like Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh led me to learn more about the people behind the scenes.
Through the kind invitation of Soon Huat's owner, I was given access to not only talk to, but to become friends with some of the staff that used to be ex-offenders.
It was during this time that we got to hear some of the most heartbreaking and heartwarming stories of 2014. And in the process, we got to learn a bit more about humanity and humility.
As the year progressed, I was fortunate to make new acquaintances in the food community. This has been the main component that continues to fuel this blog. For food is nothing without the people behind that are making it, people at the eateries that eating it, people behind keyboards writing and talking about it.
I have stressed this point many times, and sadly, sometimes this never seems to get across. A majority of folks still fret, fuss and even argue over which is the best chicken rice, who is the best cook etc. I still firmly believe that this is totally missing the point when it comes to our appreciation and passion of enjoying food.
2014 has its usual ups and downs, and the negatives include faux bloggers, juvenile spats over trivia issues and name calling antics that can be both bemusing and frustrating. In the end, I have come to accept that this is just part and parcel of our food community.
For better or worse, there will always be some bad eggs in the sgfoodies basket. My advice is to simply ignore such misguided people. For this is what they crave for the most - Attention. By depriving them of the very attention seeking oxygen that fuels their waking moments, it will also enable the rest of the genuine community to focus on what is important.
And that is to discover, share and write about the various food experiences in and around town. And throughout 2014, there has been more positive discoveries in this regard than dealing with pesky attention seekers. Which is a good sign.
Thankfully, as I have discovered this year, the majority of the food community in Singapore are very nice and genuine people. And a number of them are very humble too, and very talented in their own right. It has been my utmost pleasure and privilege to meet all these acquaintances. UKnowWhoUR :)
I have no obligatory year-end list this time round, nor even a best of food moments compilation either. For there is no reason to rank the many great moments of this year. And it has been an exemplary and satisfying year for me personally.
Besides the many new friendships that have been forged (and some lost, too) this year within the community and industry, there have also been many activities and events that have brought a lot of us together. Meeting Jabez and seeing what he is doing for the yellow ribbon people is not only inspiring, but humbling at the same time.
Talking to chefs and restaurant/cafe owners and hawkers alike has given me new perspectives on the difficulty (and satisfaction) of working in the food and beverage industry. Nothing is easy, but when you have the right attitude and motivation, it can really pay off too.
And of course, there was the Ultimate Hawker Fest 2014. If I have to single out one thing that means the most, it is this event. It is not only doing charity, but the fact that this single event brought together so many people. All for a good cause.
It is awe-inspiring to see the amount of support from everyone, from bloggers to media to hawkers to restaurants to friends and even strangers. Despite the bad stuff that has been going on in the world this year, it is heartwarming and enlightening to see that at least for one day in 2014, everyone put aside their egos and came together to help everyone else.
So, as we look towards 2015, this is the message that I want to say to everyone out there. Be a positive person for the new year. Stop whining and complaining all the time as this achieves nothing.
Be a person that accomplishes things, be it big or small. This may be about food, but apply this philosophy to everything else in life. Achieve something in 2015 that you can be proud of and feel that you have done something positive and significant.
Food brings people together, as it has shown in 2014. But likewise, food has also torn people apart this year. Maybe that cannot be remedied, as what is in the past cannot be altered.
The future is for us to shape and we can all be optimistic and make the best out of our future that is ahead of us. Enjoy the process of cooking or tasting food if it pleases you, whether you are a cook or a diner.
There are more important things in life than just bitching about what is the best mee siam out there, or how eggs are supposed to be cooked. Food is just a platform for the human spirit. And that essence of what makes us human is so extraordinary that it extends beyond compiling a top 10 best Singapore food list to compare and argue about.
This same human spirit is what empowers us to look forward in developing new ideas and creative inspirations for the next generation of amazing dishes and recipes. So embrace change and be open to new ideas and new areas of discovery in 2015.
With that, The Silver Chef would like to wish everyone a Happy 2015!
And yeah, the new year should be more than just about food. Get another hobby too, besides eating ... *wink*