Essays That Matter: Kirk Jackson
San Francisco University
San Francisco, CA
College of Liberal Arts
I learned so much, swimming in heaps of onions and fava beans in the kitchen at NOPA, a restaurant inSan Francisco. Chopping and peeling, shucking and coring, cleaning and pitting, I came to see who I was in an entirely different light. It was like a sort of meditation, cutting the ends off of brussel sprout after brussel sprout, carrot after carrot. Interning in the kitchen, I learned how to slow down and appreciate the smaller things in life. I learned to value food and the extensive process that goes into raising, growing, and preparing it. Though there were certainly times when I couldn't wait to finish a certain task, I came to see the process not simply as a means to an end, but as something so enjoyable in itself. I learned how important community is to me, for the chefs at NOPA had formed an entire community around food. Chefs I barely knew would come by my station with a couple of slices of apple or a stray cookie and talk to me about my life, as well as show me better ways to cut or slice something. I made so many mistakes - turning a corner and crashing into someone - but it was at NOPA that I learned how to make mistakes and to recover from them. I learned to see the value in everyday things - in process, in food, and in community - and really, I learned how to learn.