One evening at a private dinner party in 2005 I met Lou Rosenblate. Instantly we connected; discussed food, molecular gastronomy and the sensation for anything that stimulates our receptors in varied – or unusual combinations. Through Lou’s daily inspirations, I dived back behind the home stove, re-enacted old tricks and unfolded buried old recipe sheets hidden between cookbooks. “You’re the best…!”
He would encourage the devil in me (culinarially), showed up for dinners with new findings, recipes he clipped, stories of discoveries and openings. Foremost, he was a delightful dinner guest for a chef: He salivated, raved, aaah’d and complimented sauces and nuisances over pretty much everything I prepared for his delightful cravings. He would inquire every bit of food I had in a day, curios if I enjoyed or just ate. Lou never learned to cook with an odd adversity to baking.
One day he confessed he was HIV positive and since I had an extensive knowledge about health-food and Traditional Chinese Medicine he asked if I could help him with a healthy diet. Surprised, I found myself lacking sufficient knowledge but comforted him that his passion for food, regardless of calories or fat was a soul-pleasing aspect and mind-curing life-style. I promised to study the specifics first. “You do that, chef – you’re the best…!”
We planned a culinary trip to South Africa after my return from work in Asia. The planning of this seven-day trip required us to eat five times a day not to miss any of the spectacular restaurants and local specialties. It was all about food!
It was utterly shocking when I received a message from his twin sister that Lou had died in his sleep. Just like that. Dead at 48, gone. With that a friendship erased, a support vanished, meals uncooked; I boxed away cookbooks.
I still feel this awkward empty pain when thinking about him: When a market stores Quince Jelly next to aged cheese, when a food Magazine raves about Chilli laced Cheescake, a cocktail waiter entices Rum soaked Goosberries with Goatcheese or when someone asks if I’d tasted dark chocolate with bacon pieces… Yes, Lou introduced me to it. He was merely a gourmet connection and he still pops in my mind and shows his presence. Nobody should die nowadays of HIV infections: it’s absurd. But – people do. For weeks I was angry and confused.
I’m participating for the 2nd time in ALC 10 (Aids Ride California). To play along in the spirit of Lou’s obsession and because it’s funny as a chef to observe absurd realities – I will post daily a detailed list of my food and drink intake between June 4th – 11th 2011 to share with you what it takes to burn 5000 calories a day bicycling 545 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Our 7 day journey will raise money and awareness in support of Centers in both cities in their fight to end AIDS.
I rely on your generous support in raising at least $3000 to participate. Please, become a donor and within connected to a cause that will prevent future friendships and families from being early interrupted. There is still a general lack for compassion and much need for research and medicines.
We all share a common ground on earth, live in one short cycle of actions and must allow ourselves to make donations and share wealth, as this is direly needed in the midst of the political chaos and aid-strangulations we experience. Thank You from the bottom of my heart and in the name of Lou’s family and all his friends.
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You’re the best!
Chef Raphael Gamon www.AidsLifeCycle.org go to donation and JUST DO IT!