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Chris Sherrill in Cape VerdeBy Chris Sherrill
 
July 29, 2017 - Orange Beach, AL (OBA) - I've been thinking lately...I've been thinking about stress, life, the pursuit of happiness...Ive been thinking about all the World's problems. As many of you know I returned from an amazing trip to Africa. I was on a beautiful string of islands called Cape Verde. It was in the Middle Northwest quadrant off the coast of Senegal. I never touched the mainland of Africa.

I grew as a person while I was in Africa. I saw some amazing and rather life changing things. I saw a beautiful group of people that yielded to one another as they drove thru the city. I met people that were truly happy to be who they were. These incredible people made the best with what they had at hand and they enjoyed life. They lived by a rule in what Jim Hagengruber calls "What the spirit moves you"... I was moved....

I learned something else to...rather I solidified a belief I knew all along but never had the courage to talk about... for now lets call it Culinary Diplomacy....
 
You see folks, food is the most common language in the world. You can be anywhere at anytime, pat your stomach or put your fingers to your mouth and someone will help you find food. Food breaks barriers....rather if we allow it, food COULD break barriers. I saw no racial tension in this beautiful country. I was welcomed with open arms into other stranger's homes. I was given every convenience that they could offer. Thru Culinary Diplomacy, I met lifelong new friends and left a small part of my heart in a Country I had never even heard of or could identify on a map just 1 month ago.

I met some amazing Chefs from China. I could not speak Mandarin and they could not speak English. Thru Culinary Diplomacy, we were able to put aside our World Leaders problems and we were able to solve our own problems and show our host Country solidarity...thru food!

My new friends from China inspired me. I mean if we can work thru barriers like that then why can't more of life problems be solved with a well prepared but simple meal?

It is no secret that the restaurant business is a last effort for some to have a career. We see all walks of life thru the "Back of House"...
one thing is an absolute fact:
 
It doesn't matter if you are black, white, straight, gay, lesbian, mixed, heterosexual, transsexual, or from ANY NATIONALITY in the WORLD...if you can cook you are welcome to join a group of deranged people that find pleasure in almost controlled chaos on a Friday night during the dinner rush...in my line of work you are judged on skill and not the color of your skins, the nature of your sexual preference or the native language you speak...

Im telling you, Culinary Diplomacy can shatter all of those barriers! I witnessed it for myself just recently and it left me dumbfounded and "born again".

I have a mission. I am going to change the World...Yes I know it is ambitious....but I am going to change the World for the better. If we can mold a next generation to appreciate themselves, to work hard and to embrace Culinary Diplomacy, then maybe other people will see that the language we speak is sending out a pretty amazing message!