Love for Local. MK Culinary Belfast: Summer 2016
Johanna Penry is a Summer 2016 student of Level 1 Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine in Belfast, Maine. Upon graduating from Pace University with a BA in Advertising, she adopted a vegan lifestyle while working in the NYC digital media industry. She quickly realized that the West Coast was the promised land of cheaper produce and veg-lover acceptance, and heeded its beckon. Her migration to Los Angeles led to embracing plant-based food as more than just a diet. She wanted to prepare it herself, and so she has been working as a personal chef in Los Angeles. Originally from Connecticut, she is excited to be enjoying the scenery and produce of the rural east coast once again.
Although I grew up in Connecticut, I had never been to Maine prior to this program. I flew into Portland, snagged one of the last rental cars, and immediately forgot my jet lag as I turned onto the highway and faced a stretch of highway that can only be described as an ethereal water color painting. I knew in that moment that this experience, this place, would change my life.
Fast forward to day one of our class. We visited Ararat Farm, a local supplier of both PlantLab and Arata- Matthew Kenney’s newest concept restaurant here in Belfast. It wasn’t my first visit to a farm, but it was the first one I had visited since deciding to make plant-based food my career. We walked along rows of kale and cilantro, hung out with some of the farm animals, and I thought about how few people visit the places their food is sourced from. How few people even know enough to care about such a thing.