Packing Up My Knives

“All changes are more or less tinged with melancholy, for what we are leaving behind is part of ourselves.” – Amelia Barr

I’ve worked in a few kitchens over the years. The work is hot, messy, and involves long hours in close quarters with others. Unless you’re a celebrity chef with a TV show, there is no corner office with a view of the bay. You work in the trenches alongside all of your teammates. Frankly, who would want it any other way? This is food after all!

This truism also works here at Taste the Local Difference. I joined Groundwork—our parent organization—in the fall of 2012 with the instruction to “see where you can take TLD.” With an ear to the local food & farming community that birthed the organization, and with a focus on creating real economic value for the food system, I helped create a new vision for TLD. That vision was to allow our little local food marketing operation to spread its wings, become its own business, and extend itself beyond its comfortable niche in Northwest Michigan.

No vision, whether that of a chef or a business leader, is complete without sharing it. In 2013, Tricia Phelps was brought on as TLD’s intern. A year later, when we sought to add a second staff member, she was among 75 candidates who applied. Tricia won the contest handily and over the past three years we’ve spend a lot of time in the trenches together.

Today, I’m putting my TLD knives away for last time and handing over the keys to this kitchen to Tricia. I am both proud and sad for this transition, but I know that Tricia’s reign at TLD will offer the communities we serve new and tasty dishes made with local, healthy, and brilliantly marketed ingredients.

This work in the local food community for Taste the Local Difference has been some of the most meaningful in my lifetime. Thank you all for letting me play a role. Please send your congratulations and support to Tricia as she takes on the challenge of setting a new path for TLD’s future as its new CEO.

Bill Palladino is the former CEO of Taste the Local Difference. Fortunately, he won’t be going far. He will continue on as the Executive Director of the Grand Traverse Foodshed Alliance. Contact him at [email protected]