Adam Cole, executive chef at Maple Block Meat Co. in Culver City, is giving a public lecture at the University of Florida as part of SmellTaste2017. Adam has found success in the culinary world despite being born without a sense of smell, something he kept secret for many years of working in kitchens. We caught up with Adam to ask him a few questions about his involvement in SmellTaste2017.
1. Why are smell and taste so important to you?
Smell and taste are primal instincts, so essential to the development of our species and of humanity as we know it. And today we're lucky enough to experience these things for pleasure and enjoyment, rather than solely for survival. The world of food and cooking draws me in because it's so rooted in what makes us human. As a chef, my job security depends on me being able to prepare food that smells and tastes appealing, and that people want to pay money to eat.
2. You're going to be delivering the public lecture at SmellTaste2017. Can you give us a sneak preview of what you’ll be covering in your talk?
I am going to talk about my experience growing up with no sense of smell and how I became a professional chef, but kept my lack of smell a secret for over a decade. Perhaps I'll be able to provide a few cooking tips as well.
3. What message will you be hoping to send out to the people attending our event, many of whom are be affected by a smell/taste-related disorder themselves?
One of encouragement, that we can all find deep satisfaction- physically, emotionally, intellectually... in what we eat and drink everyday. I hope to show people that our mentality either propels us forward or holds us back in life just as much if not more than our medical conditions.
4. SmellTaste2017 represents an opportunity for people affected by smell and taste disorders to come together with clinicians, scientists and, of course, each other. What are you most looking forward to at SmellTaste2017?
I am really looking forward to gaining new knowledge and insight into something I live with everyday but actually know very little about. I grew up with doctors mostly shrugging their shoulders at my inability to smell, providing no diagnosis, explanation or treatment. For most of my professional career, my anosmia was a closely guarded secret. So, I've never had any sort of extensive or educational discussion about this at all. This is an incredible opportunity!