MEET OUR ‘ONE PLANET PLATE’ CHEF: PATRICK LOEWEN
When I was a boy, I wanted to be a scientist. I have always had an analytical mind, enjoyed experiments, and always wanted to help people. For some reason, I always assumed that I would be staring down a microscope, cracking the code of the human genome. As it turns out, you don’t always get to choose the tools with which you will change the world. Sometimes, you just have to work with the tools you are given, and decide if you will use them to destroy things, or create them. For a long time, I thought that I was creating, but when I took a step back, and looked at what I was doing, I saw the destruction imposed on the world by what I do. Food services are an immensely destructive force upon the planet when done wrong, but when it is done right, it can bring people together, build communities, cure diseases, and warm peoples hearts. These are the tools I given.
I completed my apprenticeship in Canada, and began my career under Brad Horen, he was the Captain of the Canadian Culinary Team, and I participated in preperations for IKA, Bocuse D’or, and Hotelympia. I competed a lot as a chef, to make the most beautiful plates, with wild Canadian Musk Ox, and Blue Lobsters. I worked in Canada and Ireland, chasing great chefs like a mad man. I have worked as a sous chef for Dylan McGrath, I have cooked for the Emperor of Japan, G8 Summits, XMEN cast parties, and was a personal chef for the CEO of Rolls Royce.
After a decade and a half of sixty hour weeks, 52 weeks a year, I look back and wonder what it was all for. One day, when I have returned to dust, resting in a field under an apple tree, will any of those gorgeous plates matter? Will we still even have apple trees? I think it was having children that made me question my part in life. I can’t leave them my recipes for salmon, if there is no salmon. I can’t give them the raspberry seeds I got from my mothers garden, if we have no soil to plant them in. I love being a chef, it is the finest artform in the world, and the only one to include all of your senses. My art becomes human cells, and strengthens immune systems. It plants fields, and helps farmers. I may be biased, just a little, but I think that food is the most influential force in the world. We walked upright for food, made fire for food, agriculture, irrigation, transportation, refrigeration. Wars and revolutions are on the backs of the starving masses. I’m just a lowly chef, a bit player in this great play, but I dream of the chance to write a verse of my own, a happy ending, where we can continue to experience all of these flavours and textures, in a healthy way, for generations to come.