For the last two years, Uncouth Gourmands has been my life. For the last year and a half, I have shared my Uncouth Gourmand adventures with you. Josie and I were inseparable and I still cannot go to any event in LA without people asking where my other half or partner is. It is a role that I have loved because I have met so many great people in the food, restaurant, PR, blogosphere and Twitterazzi worlds. I have lived in LA for the last 6 years, long enough for me to attend both college and grad school and really only since my time as a UG did this monstrosity of a city, LA, feel like a home to me. I felt as though I knew all 88 cities and the food and the culture belonged to me. However, my problem is that I love getting lost and the idea of being a Foursquare Mayor of anywhere frightens me. I want to explore something new and am moving on to a new chapter. There are three people in the food world that I have met or digitally talked to that have greatly changed my direction in the last few months. They are my idols and I am going to share what I learned from them and how they shaped my new San Francisco life.
Photo Credit to NY Magazine
1. Gael Greene is a woman who I greatly admire. At one point, Josie and I were getting a comic book made called “The Insatiables” and it wasn’t til a few months later that I realized that Gael Greene already authored a book called “Insatiable.” She embraced her sexuality along with her insatiable appetite for food. As someone who is a die-hard feminist and foodie, I appreciate her on a very personal level. Her chapter on having sex with Elvis Presley in the 50′s was the most exciting thing I have ever read. While all of the girl’s were down below on the street level of his hotel screaming his name she was actually getting him although she has a better memory of the exact sandwich she ordered him after the deed. I remember writing something to her on Twitter saying how much I admire her and Ruth Reichl and she responded to me saying, “Perhaps you are becoming a more couth gourmand.” I didn’t believe it then but it is true. The way Josie and I branded this company was she was the more uncouth and I was the more gourmand one. I am champagne and Josie is beer. I really want to learn more about the food and shed some of my uncouth ways. I will probably always sit with my leg up at any restaurant and not hold a knife and fork correctly but I want to learn wine and cooking and the process. That is where my new interest lies.
2. Thomas Keller is considered one of the best chefs in this country and when I met him a few months ago at a book signing he wrote something very profound on the inscription. I am sure he wrote this to everyone but this had particular resonance with me. It IS all about family. My family is small and exceptionally tight and for the last 6 years I have lived away from them. I always stayed in the same state but I want to be closer to my Santa Cruz roots and my family tree branches. San Francisco is a 70 mile drive to my mom’s home in Santa Cruz where my 9 year old brother and my 90 year old grandfather are and I want to be near both of those gentlemen and my mama. I think my friend Hanh said it best, “You will never regret a decision that favors on the side of family”
3. Ruth Reichl: I met Ruth at a celebration for Gourmet Magazine in January and I really felt as though she changed my life. I come from a family of writers and was always under the impression that I wanted something much more serious for my life. After all, I just got an MBA and business was my form of rebelling. I learned from her that writing, even writing about food, is extremely serious and she really made me want to be a much better food writer. I realized at this point that writing for the rest of my life would make me the happiest person in the world. Prior to this, I used writing more as a means to promote the brand that was Uncouth Gourmands. I wanted to head a lifestyle brand and, in order for people to understand that lifestyle, I shared my life. This became my favorite part of UG and through this I ended up finding my voice and what is that I want to do. In April, I headed up north to see my family and spend some time in San Francisco. The first night of this trip, my mom bought me Garlic & Sapphires after I heard from Gastronomyblog and Glutser that it changed their lives. I devoured the book by Ruth Reichl during the trip and while driving into San Francisco I did that trick that I sometimes do on dates where I say “Please don’t let me fall in love. Please don’t let me fall in love” I tend to have some restraint on dates but on this trip I fell in love. I knew driving back to LA that I would end up moving to SF and even wrote a post entitled, “I left my footprint in San Francisco” What I learned from Ruth and her book is that there is a certain inspiration that can only come when you are discovering a new city. She was from NYC but after years in LA she was in no rush to return. LA is cozy and beautiful and at one point in the book she describes it as the silk coffin because it is hard to escape. However, rediscovering NYC provided her with some great writing and especially when you write about restaurants half the fun is the first second you walk in to a new place and your first bite.
It’s official, sometime this month I will be moving to San Francisco and I will be leaving UG behind. I will always be an Uncouth Gourmand, after all I added the “Gourmand” part to the name but I don’t know how well I fit the brand anymore. It is LA based and that is where the UG Global Headquarters is and where the “magic” happens. Have no fear, Josie and I are still friends but our identities aren’t as enmeshed as they once were. People change, businesses grow, and as Josie and I (perpetual singletons) know all too well relationships don’t end up being what you imagine them to be in the beginning. The picture above was us volunteering at our favorite LA food event, Taste of the Nation LA, and we will be doing it again this year. It features some of the best food, the who’s who of the LA food world, and it all goes to help a great cause. If you are sad about this news and wanna see the OG UG girls together again then buy your tickets ASAP and we will see you on Sunday! If you can’t make it you can still find Josie on @UncouthGourmand and you can follow me @CarinaOst on Twitter.
Thank you all for everything and I hope to see you in SF or in my second home LA. Spork on, Uncouthies!