Life & Thyme: Year One

It’s a cold, autumn night in 2012 and I’m sitting on a small bookshelf, perched next to a window in my room. The bookshelf is filled with cookbooks by Thomas Keller, Marco Pierre White, José Pizarro, and Yotam Ottolenghi. The room is dark and it’s well after midnight as I sit quietly, listening to the soothing sound of howling coyotes in the distance.

Insomnia is not uncommon for me but tonight, it’s different.

I’m contemplating my life, as one does from time to time, and feeling constrained by current circumstances. Underneath it all, I desire an outlet—a creative one. An outlet that has meaning and fills a void; an outlet that resonates with people.

My body started to shiver from the chilling breeze that made its way through the open window, which meant it was time to give this “sleep” thing another try. As I made my way from the bookshelf to the bed, I realized I had been sitting on top of my food books all along; then time stood still and my eyes widened.

It was silent, the coyotes stopped howling, and there was no longer a breeze.

I’ve spent the last ten years perfecting the craft of interactive design, which has led me down a path that values both things that are pretty and functional. This “path” made me not only appreciate quality design, but to find inspiration in other fields, such as television, film, books, and most importantly, the culinary world. The act of learning how creative endeavours are accomplished and trying to define what quality means from various points of view is what fascinated me the most. Process, by itself, is the journey of going from point A to point B—whether it’s starting a business, designing a website, cooking a dish from start to finish, or telling a story.

On that night, as I stood standing alone with only the glimmer of the pale moon making its way into my room, it all suddenly made sense: I needed to combine all of my passions into a single idea.

The next day, I found myself writing my first blog post on a Spanish restaurant I had recently visited in Hollywood on Tumblr. The name of the website? Life & Thyme. The name was stored in a Google Spreadsheet along with several other names for a food-related, tech startup that I was looking to embark on earlier that year but it never saw the light of day. In retrospect, a blessing in disguise.

Feeling invigorated and hungry to establish Life & Thyme as a reputable source, I only had one goal in mind: deliver the most beautiful content about food culture possible. The Tumblr blog was quickly replaced with the WordPress publishing platform and a design that reflected all of my passions as a single, digital magazine. Presentation was everything and high quality of content was a requirement, and contributed to the success of Life & Thyme as a platform.

There are two words that define the theme and the purpose of what Life & Thyme has to offer: culinary storytelling.

Nathan Ryan—editor of Life & Thyme—coined the phrase and it has been part of the logo since the beginning. The idea of culinary storytelling became synonymous with the romanticizing of what food culture is and what it could be in a world full of industrialized meals. This philosophy was not only applied to long-form editorial content but also photography, short films, and events in the offline world.

Life & Thyme’s reach quickly expanded and our library of content became something people could relate and respond to, because they understood that though there is good in the food world, one must seek it out. So we are culinary storytellers, shedding light on people that deliver great food by telling their story in an open, honest, emotional and, ultimately, very human way—Life & Thyme is just the messenger.

The year is 2013 and it’s an autumn night with a breeze similar to the one I felt a year ago. But this time, it’s different again. This is an ocean breeze and I’m not restless, nor am I having trouble sleeping.

Instead, I’m celebrating.

I’m celebrating alongside old and new friends at a venue literally steps from Venice beach, eating food and tasting drinks by some the most amazing people I have come in contact with through our culinary journey over the last year: It’s the Life & Thyme One Year Anniversary Party.

Armando De La Torre Jr. and Sr. of Guisados are cooking up tacos with calabasitas (zucchini) and quesadillas with chorizo and peppers. On the other side of the room, Manda Aiello of HauteFoodie Catering has meticulously prepared bite-sized chicken and waffles, a salad with olive oil caviar, miniature muffins with milk pipettes, black ink squid pasta with flash-fried calamari, tiramisu dessert shooters, and many other delectable bite-sized treats. Alex Day and Devon Tarby of Proprietors LLC are stationed on the balcony overlooking the beach serving up top quality libations from their newly opened lounge, Honeycut, in downtown Los Angeles. On the rooftop patio, Umami Burger’s next restaurant, Roadhouse LA, is grilling up Xian Mutton Kabobs over a charcoal grill, bacon lettuce wraps, and compressed watermelon. And finally, the perfect way to wind down (or wind up): espresso by Handsome Coffee Roasters.

The night flew by and, like most great events, it was a complete blur but the process was absolutely exhilarating. Having the chance to meet some of our readers and enjoy a taco with some of the most humbling human beings I have ever met is what inspires me to continue taking Life & Thyme to the next level.

Our goal will always be the same: deliver the best content to exemplify what quality in food means in an ever-changing world. We hope you continue to join us for the ride.

At the end of the evening, I stood staring at the pale moonlight glistening on the ocean, recounting the experiences and stresses I’d faced over the last year, and I realized: it’s only the beginning.

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