Hugh Amano, the Food on the Dole blogging chef, is no longer on the dole, as it were.
You may remember Amano from our story on how to throw a dinner party for six with $18, or you may know him via the thoughtful prose on his blog.
Amano got to blogging after being laid off as sous chef at Uncommon Ground. Well, since about May -- and unbeknownst to me and followers of his blog -- he's been working as a chef-instructor at the Chopping Block.
It never occurred to the supremely mellow Amano to make some big announcement on his blog, like, 'Hey, guess what, I got a job!" because, as he says, it "just never seemed to matter too much." Really, it would've been out of character.
The Chopping Block gig has worked out beyond his expectations. He'd initially interviewed for an event coordinator position. The school didn't end up filling that job, but a week after meeting him, asked if he wanted to come aboard to teach.
Amano teaches 4 to 5 classes a week. The chefs rotate so everyone gets a chance to teach a variety of classes. One day it could be pasta making, his favorite; another day it could be the intense Culinary Boot Camp.
Amano is taking it all in with a keen, honest and slightly irreverent eye.
"There hasn't been one class where I don't feel like I haven't reached at least one person," he says. "We do private parties with instruction, too, and those are more difficult. Most people are just there to get drunk. But there's always someone that gets something about what I'm saying.
"And that was always my m.o. With Food on the Dole, to demystify food. And now I get to do that in person. Engaging people on this romantic level with food, to show them this is why you don't go to McDonald's."
His schedule affords him time on the side to cook for private dinners, something he happily reports the school encourages. And it hasn't pulled him away from his blogging mission, either.
Tomorrow, Amano is hosting about a dozen people at his Edgewater apartment for a lamb dinner, along the lines of his earlier potluck and pie-off. Most of his guests tomorrow were, early in the year, perfect strangers who took him up on his potluck offer. Now -- not surprisingly -- they're his friends.
(A housekeeping note: Amano had to limit the number of guests for tomorrow's dinner because it's at his apartment and, well, it's a small apartment. Suffice it to say, it's closed to the public now. But there will be others. Check back on his blog.)