Slow food for the soul

Be in the mo­ment and en­joy the con­ver­sa­tion you’re hav­ing

Life & Style Weekend - - MIND - WITH Nick Ben­nett

That is tak­ing the time to be to­tally present in ap­pre­ci­a­tion for an­other’s story...

AS PART of my rather con­vo­luted past I spent part of my early life in restau­rants and kitchens, learn­ing from and work­ing with some fan­tas­tic chefs as we de­vel­oped and built suc­cess­ful teams ed­u­cat­ing in food de­sign, menu con­struc­tion and the or­gan­is­ing prin­ci­ples that make restau­rants great.

As you would recog­nise from watch­ing cook­ing pro­grams on tele­vi­sion it is in­cred­i­bly de­mand­ing, ex­tremely chal­leng­ing and won­der­fully sat­is­fy­ing when you get it right.

It is soul de­stroy­ing when you do not.

Those days are long gone and thank­fully so, although the lessons (and some of the recipes) are with me still.

I would de­scribe my ap­proach to cook­ing these days as “slow food”. What does that mean to you?

For many it is passed off as an­other fad as peo­ple get on with their busy lives burn­ing en­ergy and time.

I love food. I en­joy pre­par­ing it, cook­ing it, and shar­ing it with friends and fam­ily as part of a so­cial con­nec­tion where the food is part of the rit­ual of re­la­tion­ship and com­mu­nity.

To me it is a time for re­laxed fo­cus on creat­ing a culi­nary and sen­sory ex­pe­ri­ence in slow mo­tion.

I want to cook to eat well and with real en­joy­ment for the sim­ple plea­sure of what has been grown by oth­ers and en­hanced by me for the well­be­ing of any­one at the ta­ble.

What I am de­scrib­ing is the op­por­tu­nity the slow food ap­proach in cook­ing gives us to be to­tally present in the ex­pe­ri­ence of trans­form­ing the in­gre­di­ents through love and ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the pro­duce into some­thing nour­ish­ing and en­rich­ing. And that ap­proach crosses over to ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to en­gage with an­other per­son.

That’s when it moves beyond slow food and gets into “slow con­ver­sa­tion”.

That is tak­ing the time to be to­tally present in ap­pre­ci­a­tion for an­other’s story, view, map of the world and the de­sire to meet them with love, com­pas­sion and care so that the en­counter is some­thing that is nour­ish­ing and en­rich­ing to the well­be­ing of ev­ery­one.

Many of our con­ver­sa­tions are trans­ac­tional and moved past so quickly that there is no thought for the en­gage­ment, re­la­tion­ship or im­pact on the other per­son. That’s why I like the idea of slow­ing things down to re­ally en­joy the mo­ment.

What’s your ap­proach? Why don’t you slow down and find out?

Nick Ben­nett is a fa­cil­i­ta­tor, per­for­mance coach and part­ner of Minds Aligned: www.mind­


The the­o­ries be­hind the slow cook­ing move­ment can also ap­ply to other parts of life – slow down and have a mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tion once in a while.

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