The wine arrived. Alex and Taylor had visited the vineyard up in Northern Virginia the previous weekend. This particular wine had become a quick favorite. (All wine and beer in the restaurant is Virginian. Great draft beer selection. -yhn)
Alex: To new friends!
All: Here, here. Happy days! I’ll drink to that. Look out lips … glasses clinking.
Taylor: OK, I have to ask. The little mini-kitchen off to the side of the main kitchen? Looks more like a TV studio with all that media stuff over there. Microphones. Lighting.
Lee: That’s exactly what it is! Well, not TV per se, but we video a lot of what goes on over there. All of it delicious, by the way! Ah, some of the incredible dishes we’ve enjoyed!
The area is compact, at the corner of the restaurant and the end of the kitchen proper. Just beyond the tall glass doors is the Chef’s Garden. Pretty common to see someone from the kitchen go out and pick tonight’s salad. Tonight, the studio sits idle, although several people are sitting on barstools around the perimeter of the little kitchen; enjoying drinks.
Lee: Where to begin? Well, first off, those folks sitting there could be just sitting there. May be waiting for a cooking class (offered through Centresa Educational, by the way -yhn) on anything from vegetarian cooking to Captain Ron’s Seafaring Chili. May be someone booked the space for a special occasion where the family cooks for friends (video of your event available in the lobby -yhn). One of our friends invites us every year for Passover Seder.
Casey: Really something special about learning and appreciating the traditions of your friends and neighbors. The kids love it!
Lee: Lots of great regional and ethnic dishes too. And of course, always learning and teaching, it’s linked with discussions and workshops on nutrition, food deserts, sustainable farm practices. Whatever someone knows, and someone else wants to know, we create a workshop, make a film, blog a discussion, whatever. In a world of crazy, our Colleagues keep informed and get organized on their issues and interests via Centresa Media. But I’m getting waaaaay ahead of myself …
Casey: I’ll say you are! Look, think of it as a community center. With workshops on any crazy thing someone wants to organize. That leads to more workshops, book clubs, dinner clubs, drinking clubs … (Lee: here, here) … maybe get us involved with City Hall to change something … (Lee: booo, hiss, City Hall) … organizing the community …
Lee: Casey’s right, it’s what we do. The community center analogy is a great one. Someone has an idea, we figure out if we have the people and resources to have a good chance on completing it and well, if we do, we jump . Always a couple of hoops to jump through … finance and legal, of course, maybe government … but creative takes the lead around here. Legal and finance are here to enable.
Casey: Oh, and a couple of our friends do an online vegan cooking show; cooking from the Little Kitchen (aka “la cuisine du petit prince”). 
Alex: Well, of course they do! Why wouldn’t you!
(Laughter, fade to black)
Next: Farm Fresh