Monday, September 12, 2016

Mon Dieu, it's back to school!

image courtesy of

We often hear plenty of stories about self-made men and women who forgo a higher education and hit the 'real-world' road to success in the workplace. And to them I say congratulations! For the rest of us however, we can't really rely on our less-than developed life skills to navigate the professional world. So what do we do instead? We put on our big-kid clothes and head out to be taught the fundamentals of life in colleges and universities. This September, as the kids head back to the classrooms and schoolyard to learn as much as they can about life, lets also give a warm hand to all the adults who are essentially doing the same thing - heading back to school. Adults that also include me.

Yes, once again, the ever learning life of a hungry man now currently involves expanding his language skills by enrolling in the French Languages certification program at the University of Toronto.

Heading back to the classroom after already obtaining my degree is not new territory for a hungry man. I have returned to the classroom in culinary management program to re-acquaint myself with the world of chefs and kitchens. I've hit the books once more to receive my public relations certification. But despite these achievements (or insanity depending on who you talk to), you may now be thinking, "really?" "Back to school?" "Again?" "Aren't your current educational achievements working for you?" I can honesty answer that with an uncertain yes, but at the moment it's not. So I am ready once more for another challenge - a shake-up so to speak, and learning a new language will definitely fulfill that need. I'll also add that it doesn't hurt to have a bilingual background in our increasingly global work world.

But here's the deal - I'll admit that with this new educational cycle, I find myself increasingly nervous as the first day of classes approaches. My current French skills - other than a few choice phrases here and there, is quite - ok, severely limited. And I'll also admit to being somewhat older than when I first started to learn the language (I was eight years old!), so I wonder just how this ahem 'older' brain is going to handle all this information received in a language that clearly isn't his mother tongue.

Regardless of those fears, I am very eager to see where this will lead, and in preparation for this new journey I've already began to practice and memorize my new motto: "C’est en forgeant qu’on devient forgeron" - translation: we learn by doing (including making mistakes)!

And remember to keep checking the blog as I get deeper in the course - à la prochaine!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Talking Italian in Montreal

image courtesy of

I'll admit that life has been a bit of a blur lately. The winter blahs have left, summer has come and finally, the heat is totally on outside. It has been an incredible summer so far, there is no doubt. Yet, I am admitting to being somewhat MIA, particularly with the blog. I definitely can't blame the summer sun for that. So what exactly has a hungry man been doing since his last posting? Well, besides renovations and re-designing our home with my partner, there has also been the oh so wonderful dealings with personal illness that I am finally starting to feel back to normal again. Ugh, being sick is the worst but nothing that a little rest, relaxation and healing by a pool won't cure. And of course travel, which is something else that can soothe the aching soul - and stomach.

Something else has changed the life and affected the musings and babble of a hungry man blog. It's been almost a year since I have met my significant other and in that blur of time my life has gone through some upheaval - some of it absolutely necessary, some totally unpredictable, all of it needed. He has turned my life completely upside down, inside out, and continually excited to see where this path takes us. He has also introduced me to more family in one year than I ever thought existed outside of TV and films. Oh, have I not mentioned that he is Italian? He is, hence the quite large, or I should say super-large, extended family.

Since the start of us, there has been what seems like an endless (but what I am told is completely normal) parade of family events, and this summer has been no exception with a marked increase in various social gatherings. I have to laugh at myself because I used to think my bi-monthly visits to my parents home was more than enough and now I can't help but feel a little bit guilty about that. Anyway it just came time for us to breath a bit on our own, which is why we are taking off to Montreal for a bit - just the two of us, to enjoy the city and also to celebrate Pride en Français .

What seems to become a habit with us when it comes to travelling (and may I add completely NOT the norm of my usual hyper- planning nature) is that we really didn't have anything planned for this holiday other than our stay (Hello again Le Germaine) and of course hitting the Pride parade and checking out Pride events. I did plan one thing for us, and that's to eat our faces off starting at Garde Mange one evening, and a visit to Au Pied de Cochon which translates to "Pigs Trotter" - yeah I know how it reads but don't turn your nose up just yet, believe me, this place promises and is noted to be a serious gastronomic delight, so much so I am literally salivating with excitement as I type this.

Although I literally won't be parlé(ing) Italiano dans la ville de Montréal as stated in the post headline, I will however, be taking in some serious culture et cuisine de français with the absolute best Italian company.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Tragedy in Orlando: Strength and Solidarity

image by Stephen Wilson

A madman decided that the lives of the LGBTQ2 community in Orlando, some of whom were out on a Saturday night enjoying life on their own terms, should die because of who they are. Someone woke up and decided - that day, that night, that they simply weren't fit to live on this planet, breathing the same air as him. Someone - and he will not be named in this post, made that terrible decision and stuck by it with deadly resolve. This wretched, twisted, sad excuse of a human being, killed and injured people celebrating life in their own space, in the sanctity of their own world. These men and women were not in a public space, they were safe in their world with others just like them. I should rephrase that last paragraph and say that they were 'supposed' to be safe in their world. He took away that safety. As a member of the LGBTQ2 community, you look for that space, you crave that space, that shelter from a (very) hostile world. To be free, with others just like you. The gunman massacred these men and women, and took that safe shelter away from them and so many others.

Thoughts and prayers are not enough. There are not enough words, gestures and actions to help understand just how awful, how horrific this incredibly selfish, evil act of pure, unadulterated hate is, particularly to the LGBTQ2 community. The emotional and physical damage the outcome of this act will do to the community, to families and friends, the shockwaves as it reverberates around the globe, is overwhelming. But it is a reminder that for every victory we in the LGBTQ2 community make in the world, for every step forward we take, there are people who are just as determined, just as vigilant to see that we are pushed back, that want to see us die for who we are, who we fight to be, every single day of our lives.

I am saddened and absolutely heartbroken at the loss of life of my LGBTQ2 brothers and sisters. But for me, I won't be cowed or made to feel afraid to be who I am. He won't win because we are strong, I am strong, and made stronger by the show of love and solidarity both within and outside the community.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

New York: a visual feast for the senses

Just as there are people who would lap this video up, there are individuals out there that would think the sounds and sights of this video are anything but a visual feast. I think that's the point. You can absorb New York, and then you can decide whether the noise, the constant movement, the frenetic energy are things you want to handle, or remove from your system.

I run towards this energy. I soak it up. I want to be in that New York state of mind, and this video is my visual bookmark whenever that state of mind beckons.

Oh, and a suggestion? You must put this video's audio on blast to truly feel the magnificence that is New York!

video by James Mauro and Stephen Wilson

Stay tuned - New York stories and pics on the way!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Escape to New York

image courtesy of Stephen Wilson

It's that time of year again. It's that time to hit the road and partake on an eagerly anticipated journey. It's that time for A Hungry Man to once again leave familiarity and escape to the concrete canyons of New York. Oh, how I relish trips to the Big Apple, almost like a cake lover licking the plate after a particularly delicious strawberry shortcake dessert. Great, now I want cake!

Last year was so much fun being re-introduced to the city that I had sadly lost touch with for over ten years. That is a crazy amount of time away from a city that I love more than my own hometown. Now although it's a reunion of sorts, this year promises to be different, not only with a change of travelling partners (goodbye sister dear and hello there partner Jim!), and there will be more of an emphasis on the theatre side of New York than the culinary, but no need to fret, the opportunity to experience all that is New York food will definitely be covered. Yup, I see you there Eatily and don't you worry, I'm coming to see you too.

Look for posts to come over the next few days, and in the meantime how about you take my hand and we'll take a trip down memory lane with last years visit to New York - click here and here to read all about it!