25 Apr 2020

I often end my editorials with a toast to our good health. With the whole world upside down right now, why should we be any different? Let us then start with our santé, a virtual toast to remind us of what really matters right now: health, love, solidarity.

We all know this pandemic is hitting millions of people around the world, with those who work in hospitality taking one of the hardest blows. It is an unprecedented challenge for us, our resilience, and our creativity. The doors of our restaurants might be closed, but our hearts and minds must be wide open.

Charles Dickens’ famous -and inspiring- opening of A tale of two cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”, is an implicit search for the silver lining, that ray of light that hides behind even the darkest clouds, those heroes who make our world brighter. Professional health care workers deserve our never-ending praise today, as do the all the brave men and women working at supermarkets, stores and other front-line essential industries.

Many somms are also making big contributions, and we especially salute those who are doing whatever needs to be done — like packing up hundreds of delicious to-go meals as Best Sommelier of Finland Taneli Lehtonen is doing — to keep establishments open and save jobs.

They are working not just for themselves, but also for the other below-the-line workers at the restaurant and for their customers, who can certainly use a little bit of joy in their lives.

There are also other, less obvious ways in which we can help. Our main article in this issue details some of the ways our ASI family around the world is lending its weight to these projects, and why they are all the more wonderful for it.

And finally: let us applaud our own efforts to stay in touch with one another. It is important to remember that ASI is a global family, that this too shall pass, and that while we may be isolated, we’re not alone: We’re in this together!

These are some of the things we do to emerge stronger from these best and worst of times. Which reminds me of another silver lining — more time to catch up on the great literature we’ve been too busy to read! And great literature famously pairs well with a fine glass of wine…