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Becoming a Coach

The post before this was published October 2014. Certainly a lot has happened since then in this rollercoaster of a life.

If where you are in life isn’t where you want to be or is going to get you closer to your dreams, than it’s time for a change…

One thing that hasn’t changed is my burning dream and passion for entertaining, food, travel, meeting new people and learning about their amazing stories on how they got to where they are now. Whether it be a cheese maker in northern Vermont, a chef that cooks over open fires, or Oyster growers in Martha’s Vineyard- I love meeting new people and growing relationships.

Perhaps this is why a new opportunity that was put in front of me intrigues and inspires me so much.

I guess it’s easier if I go back a couple of years. I was just on the cusp of 30 years old and all of a sudden I realized that 2 decades of eating (and drinking) mostly whatever I wanted well started to take a toll on me.

So after determining I was not taking care of myself and was overweight, I was stuck as to what to do about it. You see.. NO ONE can tell me what I can and can’t eat. I love to eat and I eat to live. I love seafood. that’s right, I SEE food, I eat it. So when my doctor told me I was overweight and that what was leading to me feeling less energy and stressed a lot of the time, I had to make a decision to either eat less or exercise.

I never played sports or went to the gym before. I used the excuse when I worked in kitchens that “I had plenty of exercise while walking on my feet all day and going up and down stairs”. Well either I wasn’t walking up those stairs fast enough or I was eating more nachos than there were stairs to balance it all out.

Alright, I got this! Exercise! I’m going to get on my bike, hit the gym, hell, maybe even take up running and be one of those guys that goes on a 5am run before work and meets his buddies at the gym after work for a quick workout and sauna.

Well didn’t work out so well since I had NO IDEA what I was doing and was still eating more cheeseburgers than the amount of times I pedaled that bike or lifted that weight.

As fate sometimes has it, When you are looking for something, that thing just appears. In this case it was a new friend at the time that was involved in a company called Beachbody who marketed at-home workout programs and supplements. Veronica actually babysat his kids first and told me that this guy was involved in this company that sold shakes and dvds. Skeptical as I was, I said something like “Yea that sounds like gimmicky waste of money. How many installments of 19.95 do you have to pay?”

Veronica brought home some shakes. I laughed at here and this product, ‘Shakeology’ and told her that no one would ever catch me dead drinking this stuff, get brain washed to drink the ‘Koolaid’ and spend money on other products by this company named ‘Beachbody’.

What I did notice, however, is how much this guy was involved in the company and the business he made for himself. So my curious self googled Beachbody, Shakeology and all these fitness programs and I found this HUGE network of people doing these workout programs together in groups and drinking this Shakeology. ‘It’s a cult!!’

But after reading around more I see that the guy that formulated Shakeology, Daren Olien, is a pretty interesting fellow that travels the world hunting for these superfood ingredients that go into the shakes. Hunting the word for exquisite ingredients and su? hmm that sounds familiar to a certain someones dream…

Ok I tried the damn shake…and It wasn’t bad at all…I drank a couple a week and noticed more energy and just healthier.

I went to Keith (the Beachbody guy) and asked him to recommend me a workout program based on my level of experience and goals and he got me this 90-day program. Ok a challenge! I got this! I was going to kill this program, loose weight and be that jogging guy with a headband at 5am in LESS than that 90 days!

First 4 days goes great, then I missed a day. No problem, I’ll make it up tomorrow. Then I missed the next day. Its fine, no worries, its life, I’ll do 3 workouts the day after.

Well I never finished that program and was ready to give up when Keith invited Veronica and I to Nashville to help take care of his kids at the company’s annual recognition and training event called ‘summit’.

So we go to Nashville, stay at the Grand Ole Opry Hotel and live it up! All while these Beachbody coaches are running around like ants in their groups.

I observed tremendous bonding and closeness with these different groups of coaches.

Upon returning I went back to the inter web and looked into this thing more closely. What I noticed is that people and coaches together did these programs and help each other accountable through Facebook, text messages and even doing workouts together. I also saw that these coaches were working full-time as a beachbody coach and were seeming to make a decent living for themselves and their families. All this for slinging shakes and dvds?

I remember it clear is night because it was so out of the normal and comfort zone for me. I texted Keith, “Hey man, do you think someone like me has what it takes to be a coach?” He replied’ “Absolutely but its going to take some work”

Work? I was used to sweating away 17 hours straight in the kitchen, I think I can handle it..

I met with Keith and got signed up and went through trainings to learn how to set up one of these fitness accountability groups and then lead a 21-day group of about 5 people (4 of which were my family members) But I did the whole program 100% and lost 20 pounds, and felt friggin’ awesome!

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I loved the shakes by then, was drinking them daily and everyone was noticing and complimenting me and asking what I was doing the get into shape. I was so excited to tell them about Shakeology and these dvd programs but its funny how people reacted. Not a lot of people cared or saw it how I was seeing it.

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Well I was determined and kept sharing and sharing and I got another small group together but I felt discouraged that I couldn’t get a huge group together and make this into a sweet side business.

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Then I realized what this business was really about. Although the core of the business was supplements and dvd fitness programs, the philosophy of the business was the most crucial for individual success. That was seeking and building strong relationships.

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Woah, I get it! I mean every job I did in the past stated with relationships too: meeting your farmers who grew the food for the restaurants, talking with your clientele and relating stories to inspire them to eventually taste and make a decision to purchase a cheese.

Where I originally thought this company was a pyramid type scam of a marketing gimmick, I was dead wrong. It as an opportunity for people to share something most people are looking for- postive life change. That positive life change could be in the form of nutrition, fitness, but also leadership, team building, and financial health as well.

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So here I am, focused and determined to become a full time Beachbody coach. Because I see the vision and I’ve rubbed quite a few elbows with some highly successful coaches to know what it takes to be successful in this business. Also the rewards for me are going right back to what I dreamt of as this young kid fresh out of college with a culinary degree and a humungous appetite for food, life, travel and meeting amazing and inspiring people.

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Follow me on my new journey! It’s going to have its ups and downs for sure but it’s all a learning curve and what I’ve learned so far is irrefutable.

It’s living life right at the edge of my comfort zone.

I’ll with end with the same statement as I started with this post:

If where you are in life isn’t where you want to be or is going to get you closer to your dreams, than it’s time for a change…

Is this an opportunity that you’ve been looking for??

If you are interested in this opportunity or learning a little more, shoot me a message, I’d love to tell you more about it!

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Outdoor Kitchen

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Stuck in a sweaty kitchen on a gorgeous summer day was torture in the past. I can remember yearning to just run out the kitchen doors to enjoy the beautiful day and never come back.

Well as luck has it, about 10 years later I have left the kitchen with thoughts of not returning. But I do itch to be back in a professional kitchen every once in awhile…

As the summer wraps up so does the incredible catering adventures I had through Fire Roasted Catering this 2014 season. What a blast it was to set up an open air kitchen brigade and cook some of the most amazing looking and tasting food I have ever cooked before. Local animals, local produce, and everything cooked on an open fire right down to the dessert and coffee. Though not easy work lifting 100+ pound iron cooking trays and contraptions, being engulfed in smoke at times, and meeting a strict timeframe, it sure was rewarding at the end when all the guests “oo” and “ahh” over the culinary theatre and performance of our setup. Oh and a shower never felt so good!!

View the video -here- on the Fire Roasted Catering homepage and see below for a few of my favorite pictures I took when my hands we free and not turning a spit, shucking oysters, or arranging grand charcuterie boards. #fireroastedchef

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Bringing my Head Above Water/ New Series

Through a challenging and stressful year both personally and professionally, I seemed to have drifted away from my blog which at one point I cherished so. Slowly but surely inspiration for the blog is filling up and getting up.

A new series to the blog I would like to introduce is called ‘Taking the Fear Away from Fish’. As a cook, retail fish manager, and educator the topics I often discuss are ways to get people to take home a restaurant quality piece of fish (or better) and easily cook it and enjoy cooking it.

Impeccably fresh fish, and a few simple yet quality ingredients is all I ever preach. If you have the time and a kitchen modeled after a 3-star restaurant then that is another thing. Simple and quality ingredients require only simple preparations to be enjoyed.

Take for instance en papilloteSimply defined, en papillote cooking is steaming the whole meal in a (parchment) bag. Whether you use a large bag for the whole fillet of fish or individual ones for each guest, en papillote is one of the easiest yet elegant preparation for a pristine fillet. The aromas and juices from whatever veggies you are cooking mingle with the delicate briny flavor of the fish and vice versa. The bag can be brought to the table and snipped open to allow a pleasant whoosh of aroma to fill the air and your guest’s senses. The cleanup? Well I’ll let you think to that…

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Gold, Eureka!

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A walk in the woods, for me, is a perfect way to vent and relax on a day off.  I’ve always enjoyed foraging and the ‘hunt’ for some of the most amazing wild edibles our region has to offer for the mere price of respecting the land (and a few mosquito bites).

I wrote about such ‘designer’ edibles -here- but my favorite is the Chanterelle mushroom.  If you know where to find them, keep it a secret!  It is a rewarding excuse for me to drive to my spot each year, take a brisk hike up through the woods and spot their golden tops poking out of the dull colored forest ground.  Eureka!

Maine Fishermen Get Their Shrimp Season, Though Nightmare For Some

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By Whit Richardson, BDN Business Editor

PORTLAND, Maine — Despite calls to shut down the shrimp fishery in 2013 because of fears it is being overfished, Maine fishermen will have their season — though a very abbreviated one.

The catch limit for shrimp trawlers in the Gulf of Maine will be reduced to 625 metric tons in the 2013 season, nearly a quarter of what it was this year, and boats will only be able to go out fishing on Mondays and Wednesdays. The season for trawlers will begin on Jan. 22, while the season for shrimp trappers will begin Feb. 5, with six landing days and an 800-pound limit.

The decision to limit the catch was made by the three-member Northern Shrimp Section of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission during a Monday afternoon meeting in Portland.

Six hundred and twenty-five metric tons is equal to nearly 1.4 million pounds. Given there are roughly 250 shrimp boats operating in the Gulf of Maine — about 225 of those are from Maine — that catch around 2,000 pounds a trip, that means the catch limit could be reached in a matter of days, said Angelo Ciocca, president of Nova Seafoods in Portland. Last season, fishermen received about 95 cents a pound for their shrimp catch.

“Six hundred and twenty-five is effectively no season,” Ciocca said. “It’s a nightmare.”

The decision by the panel was greeted with mixed feelings from the audience of about 50 people, consisting mostly of fishermen and seafood processors and dealers.

Gary Libby, a fisherman in Port Clyde and chairman of the Northern Shrimp Section’s Advisory Panel, said the season was “crumbs.” He and the Advisory Panel had recommended a catch limit of around 800 metric tons.

David Osier, owner of Osiers Seafood in South Bristol, stood up to address the Northern Shrimp Section, which consists of representatives from Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, after they made their decision. “I want to thank you for the season that you’ve given us,” he said. “We’ll be able to buy some groceries this winter, but that’s about it.”

Despite the sarcasm, most everyone agreed that a season — no matter how short — is better than no season at all, which is what the Northern Shrimp Technical Committee recommended in an 81-page analysis released Nov. 21.

“The season crafted for us guys in Port Clyde actually gives us something,” Libby said. “We were looking at nothing before that with the recommendation from the Technical Committee.”

Marshall Alexander, a fisherman from Biddeford who has been fishing for 46 years, has lived through previous shutdowns, the last being in the 1980s. He said the damage a moratorium does to a fishery is significant, as the processors and infrastructure that supports that fishery deteriorates. “What it cost to bring [the fishery] back is ungodly,” he said.

Next year’s season, though short, will keep at least the small processors busy providing shrimp to the local markets, which is important, he said. “To take Maine shrimp right off the menu would be devastating, because once they replace it with something else, you never get it back. So if [the season] just takes care of that, that is something,” he said.

Jeff Mills, a fisherman from Spruce Head, said processors were the industry’s “bread and butter” and to lose them would be devastating. “We can catch them, yes. Shrimp are easy to catch, but we can’t rely on ourselves to get rid of them.”

Ciocca said his business hired approximately 60 people each winter to handle the shrimp season. He said he would still process shrimp this winter, but those jobs will likely only be created for a week or so. “The question is, will people show up for that short period of work, because they’re seasonal people,” he said. “I’ll be finding that out over the next couple weeks.”

Pat Keliher, commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources and a member of Maine’s delegation to the Northern Shrimp Section, also believes it was important to keep the fishery going, even with a very restricted catch limit.

“If we stopped altogether catching Maine shrimp, those shrimp are going to be replaced by Asian shrimp that are grown in aquaculture facilities or they could be replaced by [shrimp] from Canada,” he said. “I think it’s important to ensure that we don’t lose these little niche markets.”

Keliher actually had proposed a higher catch limit of 700 metric tons, but his proposal was voted down by New Hampshire and Massachusetts, who supported the 625-metric ton limit.

With the season so short, the fear is that too many shrimp will be landed too quickly, depressing the price and overloading the state’s processing capabilities.

“There’s really no way we can make a season out of this,” said Spencer Fuller, the shrimp manager at Cozy Harbor Seafood. “But to take this and not stretch it out as long as possible, it would just be more bad on bad.”

Fuller continued: “There’s going to be pain all around, but the best thing for the markets — the best thing I believe for this state is to stretch this out just as far as you can. If you lump it up, it’s so fragile. … If there’s 100 pounds left on a wharf someplace, what market there is or price there is is just going to be deteriorated. I’m not big in favor of regulating the fisheries for markets, but in this instance it’s very, very sensitive to what these landings are on a per day basis.”

The Northern Shrimp Section held off on issuing further restrictions, such as a trip limit or forcing boats to have their nets on board and secured by 1 p.m., until they have better information about what the catches look like.

However, Libby thinks the short season will create a “de facto trip limit” since fishermen will only bring in what they know they can sell. “If I can’t sell shrimp product, I sure as hell don’t want to kill it. I want to fish as much as the next guy, but I do want to see this fishery recover, too.”

The reduction in shrimp landings is not thought to be solely the fault of overfishing. The environmental conditions in the Gulf of Maine, which has increased in temperature over the last several decades, are thought to be a factor, as well.

Keliher was hesitant to respond to a question of what happens next year if the trend continues.

“I don’t even want to speculate right now,” he said. “This day was hard enough without speculating on next year. If the trend in water temperature continues, we’re going to be potentially in a worse place next year because what we do as far as directed mortality from fishing will not make a difference.”

Happy 2013!

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For every door that closes, another opens.  My New Year’s resolution for this blog is to invest more time and provide more resources into the theme of sustainable fish and seafood.  As concerns of overfishing, global warming or poor quality farmed fish overwhelms the markets and media, less attention is being paid to the smaller percentage of people and efforts giving way to responsible aquaculture and wild harvesting.

Our oceans have a long way to go to recover from overfishing and our regional and national fishermen, scientists, and politicians are investing efforts to revitalize our oceans and set forward new laws to protect not only individual species, but the vitality and strength of the ocean chain as well.  While they are doing that I want to invest my efforts into seeking out and supporting the best alternatives and practices.

More than ever we are seeing a increased demand for not only sustainable farmed options but responsible and ethical as well.  More younger people are starting to farm oysters, mussels or other shellfish along with fresh and saltwater fish.

Over the next year my mission is to seek out these people, interview them, visit them, take pictures, eat, cook and report on my findings.

Follow me!  And most importantly share this with others and spread the word!

Cheers,

Austin

 

 

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Review: Miyake- Portland, Maine

During my time in Portland fufilling my work study grant with Browne Trading Company I, of course, indulged in some nearby restaurants.  I  wanted to experience the freshest of fish I could so I seamlessly thought of sushi.  When asking anyone around town what’s the best spot for sushi, no one paused or hesitated when they said, “Miyake.”

Review: Miyake- Portland, Maine