I like Food Network Star . The show has gotten to me good and this season, well, the best person won. I've been a little more interested in the people behind these on-screen personas and was pretty happy to listen to a recent Alton Brown Podcast wherein Alton spoke with all three of the finalists.
But while I'd like to tell you how much I'm looking forward to Damaris's show, that's not my point today. No, I'm here to talk about Rodney Henry. Rodney's thing is pie - he owns pie shops and makes pie out of everything.
During the Alton Brown interview, Rodney talked about pie of course but then he revealed what he's really passionate about is rock music. The guy loves music, loves playing it. It's his thing. And he said something really profound towards the end of the episode when Alton was talking with the trio about how the show changed them. Rodney said:
The best thing about [the show experience] is being able to stay true to myself and my vision in the first place, and that is to support music through pie.
On the surface this may sound a little funny because it is. But it also stuck with me. Rodney loves music and he loves pie, and he doesn't see those as mutually exclusive. Rather he sees one love supporting the other, and helping the other become realized. He recognizes, clearly, that there is a ton of work that goes into having multiple (!) restaurants. It is a lot of work. But, notably, it brings in enough money to the point that he can play music and excel at both things.
Coffee with your pie?
I have a hypothesis on how my last job came to have such poor coffee.
The coffee quality surprised me because it was while it was dispensed from a Flavia machine (expectations were low) the coffee was from Alterra - a great roasting company out of Milwaukee (expectations were high). I got to talking with a coworker about how Alterra could put their name on something so not good, given their in-house coffee is in fact very very good.
I saw this in a new light. Alterra likely knew that the giant conglomerate Mars would offer them a ton of cash and, in turn, distribute middling coffee with their name on it. And at some point, maybe, Alterra said, "That's fine. We'll take that money and use it to do the thing we're really good at." They knew it'd be a risk but they dealt with it. And their new coffee shops are pretty beautiful, and they still make great coffee. They even opened up a shop in Madison.
I felt validated when Alterra's shops gained new names last month: Colectivo. They're now separate entities. Alterra is now fully a Mars thing, and that's fine. From the outside it looks very much like Alterra got what it needed: a big bunch of cash to support what it truly loves.
Do the thing, support the thing
I see this as transcending money, although that's what I've focused on here. To me it's more interesting to see people hold multiple interests and activities together, and naturally allow one to fuel the others. There may be a time when Rodney finds that pie is no longer able to support his music. Or, it may flip! He might find the music is the big thing for him. Or maybe he'll branch out into hats. Possible.
If we pigeonhole ourselves into just one thing, just one possibility, then we're not being true to ourselves - our lovely, diverse selves.
Now I need some pie.