From the Chef
Hello! I'm Whitney, founder and chef at The Shared Plate. In the words of Maya Angelou, “I’m just someone who likes cooking and for whom sharing food is a form of expression.” Thank you for stopping by.
The Shared Plate is a personal chef and boutique catering company serving Chicagoans healthy, natural food, but it is also much more than that. It is my contribution to a movement that is trying to change the way people nourish themselves.
Many have asked me, why The Shared Plate? If you are interested in learning more about the inspiration behind The Shared Plate, please read on.
So, why The Shared Plate?
Reason #1: A joy shared is a joy doubled
In my family, we live by the belief that a joy shared is a joy doubled. From the food on our plates to our recipes, books, energy, friends, homes and hearts – we share it all.
My joy is cooking creative, fresh, healthy and delicious food and I am thrilled to share this joy with others via The Shared Plate.
Reason #2: Food is meant to be shared (and research shows that sharing food makes you a better person!)
Over the years, I have developed, tested and created more recipes than I can count. And many times those meals were created out of a pure desire to create – not necessarily because I had anyone in particular I was cooking for. And so, I have found myself more than once surrounded by piles of food with no one there to eat it. For a chef, this is heartbreaking. Food just tastes better when eaten with others. This makes sense when we think of the history that human food culture evolved from. In hunter-gatherer times when a large animal was taken down in a hunt, I don't think pre-cleaned, de-boned, 3 oz. portions of that large animal were doled out in individual to-go containers for each person in the tribe to consume by themselves. Rather, the provision of that animal was celebrated with a communal feast where the meat was shared amongst everyone.
Bottom line, when you sit down to share a meal with someone, you are sharing a piece of yourself with them. You are being nourished not only by the food you are consuming, but also through each other's presence. As famous food writer M.F.K Fisher says, "Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly."
And according to this article, sharing food makes you a better person too.
Reason #3: Community & Togetherness
Food is perhaps the greatest connector we have in a time when real connection is seriously waning. We all have to eat, and so we find ourselves sitting down at tables together, sharing food, stories, cultures and traditions. Wherever you go in the world, you can see iterations of this same scene playing out. Walk by my favorite Vietnamese restaurant here in Chicago any day of the week and you will find a line out the door of every race, age, color, gender and nationality anxiously waiting for that first slurp of luscious pho broth to hit their lips. For some, this taste will transport them home. For others, it may be an altogether new experience. Either way, people from all different walks of life are sitting down next to one another experiencing food as a window into each other’s lives. Food gives us the space to transcend our differences and rejoice in the joy and nourishment that food provides.
Reason #4: Education & Awareness
Through my own personal quest for the truth about real food and health and my professional training at Bauman College Holistic Nutrition & Culinary Arts program, I have amassed a lot of valuable knowledge about natural cooking and wellness. It has transformed my life and now I consider it an honor and duty to share what I have learned with others.