Meet Chef Lloyd

Meet Chef Lloyd

Saturday mornings are usually pretty hectic at our house. John wants to go to the gym. I want to go to yoga. Someone has to stay with the baby. Plus we need to check on the remodel … to prepare for the next week’s work, to mow the lawn, to water the grass. But yesterday morning, I had other plans.

I’m a member of the Austin chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier.  Les Dames is philanthropic group made up of women who work in the culinary, beverage, or hospitality industry. One of the women in our local chapter, Pamela Nevarez-Fischer, set up an arrangement with Whole Foods Market that works like this:  Every Saturday morning, two members of Les Dames go to Whole Foods to pick up the day-old produce and bakery items. We load that into our cars and then transport it to the kitchens at Caritas (downtown) and the University United Methodist Church (on campus).  The kitchens then incorporate that food into the daily meals that they provide to the hungry and homeless.  I signed up several months ago to be one of the runners this weekend.

At the church kitchen, I met Lloyd.  Although I’m not sure of his official title, Lloyd was clearly the executive chef … and was also handling grill, pantry, and pastry. Amazingly, everything was running smoothly. Even more amazing, despite his limited resources, Lloyd was completely over the moon about every dish he was cooking. My favorite dish was the one he called the “I Don’t Know” Salad. When we asked about the name, this is what he said: “Well I don’t know what you are going to bring me, so I don’t know what is going to go in it.”  “See?” he said with a laugh. “I Don’t Know.”

What I love about Lloyd’s approach is that he is so accepting of uncertainty.  Shouldn’t we all be this way?  Because shouldn’t we all know by now that the only certainty in life is uncertainty?

I’ll admit that I have sort of a love-hate relationship with the unknown. On the one hand, uncertainty about the future is what makes dreaming possible. It’s what made me lie awake at night when John and I were just dating, and dream that we would someday get married. It’s also what makes me hope every day that I will have an opportunity to host another cooking show and write another cookbook.

But then, that same uncertainty can be utterly unnerving in other contexts. Like when Jack was in intensive care shortly after he was born, and I was nearly paralyzed by my fear about the future.

What does one do to live with this uncertainty? (What do you do?) My resolution this week is to be more like Lloyd. Sure, I’ll keep setting my alarm clock and making my to-do lists. But if I can just keep Lloyd in mind, maybe I’ll finally learn to really embrace what I don’t know.

10 Responses to Meet Chef Lloyd

  1. Chelsea July 25, 2011 at 7:14 am #

    The unknown scares me too! But I am pretty confident you will have a show and write another cookbook. You are a great writer and people are drawn to your recipes! Thanks for writing. It is a sweet window into life!

    • Marie H. Saba July 25, 2011 at 10:36 pm #

      Thanks Chelsea! So nice to have discuss this sort of thing with a fellow-lawyer, blogger, cook, wife! Btw, I loved your father’s day pie post! Especially the warning about making the homemade crust (not recommended for perfectionists!).

  2. Vicki Bensinger July 25, 2011 at 7:59 am #

    What a wonderful story and so well written. The unknown can be scary. Hopefully the man upstairs will be watching over us in times of dire need and for other dreams and desires in our lives if we believe in ourselves goods things will eventually come our way. I truly believe that!

    Best wishes to you on your upcoming show and cookbook. Be sure to let us know when they happen.

    • Marie H. Saba July 25, 2011 at 10:33 pm #

      Hi Vicki! Thanks for the sweet comment! You are so right — it is all about faith in the man upstairs. I often get so caught up in the moment that I forget about trusting a higher plan. Thankfully my husband reminds me, often, to pray for what we want and give thanks for what we have. I think I will always need reminders! :) Will keep you posted on my show and book progress…

  3. Bob Voisinet July 25, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    I recommend everyone volunteer to cook for a homeless shelter, at least try it once. I found it very fulfilling, and listening to some of the stories I found its not “us and them” its just us. As secure as we may feel, none of us are far from where the “us” we serve are currently at.

    I want to thank you for this story, its very inspiring!

    • Marie H. Saba July 25, 2011 at 9:31 am #

      Hi Bob – Thanks for the comment! I totally agree with you and appreciate you for articulating this point so well. The experience made me realize that we (all of us) are all human beings. And that we (all of us) need each other. And that we (all of us) need to help each other.

  4. Cecilia July 27, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    Making friends with uncertainty and the unknown is probably the single most liberating thing we can do for ourselves. The best any of us can ever do is move in the direction of our dreams with courage and conviction and then get out of the way when God or the Universe or Fate jumps in to help us reach our destination(s).

    I know Lloyd, Maria, and have worked in that kitchen with him and Les Dames a number of times. He has more energy, optimism and drive than people who have more wordly goods and fewer burdens. He does inspire. Lovely post.

  5. John Robert Elford September 7, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

    Thanks for the great reflections about Loy, Marie. I’m one of the pastors at UUMC, and I’m continually amazed at the miracles that come out of that kitchen!


  1. Meet Chef Lloyd « Cocina Marie « Cocina - July 25, 2011

    […] Enlace : Meet Chef Lloyd « Cocina Marie […]

  2. Do You Believe In Karma? « Cocina Marie - October 12, 2011

    […] for the homeless and hungry at the University United Methodist Church.  I’ve written about Chef Lloyd before.  (If you missed that post, you might want to read it for a little more context.)  Then, […]

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