The other evening I was scrolling through TV content on my Roku for something interesting to watch and came across a wonderful little show called the Shape of Pasta. Each show was very short (around 10 minutes), Italy-beautiful, and fascinating. During the first episode I realized that this chef was deliberately setting out on a Hero’s Journey.
The Chef, Evan Funke, was shown in Felix, his restaurant in Venice, California, describing how he was intent on visiting Italy to find the masters of rarefied pasta shapes, learn how they were made, and come back and teach others how to make those pastas. By being so deliberate, he was starting at the end of a Hero’s Journey, or at least he started with the intention of the completing the final stage of the Journey, to Return to the Village with the Magic.
He visited seven different towns in Italy and met with these masters of hand-made pasta. I loved that all of his mentors were old women! These women had all been making their particular pasta for decades–since they were little girls. They all had big arms and strong hands. They were fast workers and obviously loved hand making pasta and eating it. I certainly wished I had a seat at those tables.
Chef Funke was so respectful and kind to each of the women, I got just as choked up as he did when thanking them for sharing their knowledge. We see him in the last episode teaching young chefs how to make some of the pastas he’s learned, fulfilling his promise to himself and his mentors.
I don’t know if he realized he was doing a Hero’s Journey at the start, in the middle of it, or even when he watched the show after the whole Journey was done. Often we’re so focused on our Journey and our goals we don’t see it until someone else notices the pattern and points it out to us.