"I am not one who was born in the custody of wisdom. I am one who is fond of olden times and intense in quest of the sacred knowing of the ancients." Gustave Courbet

27 March 2023


Ari Weinzweig on deep gratitude, positive energy, and working at the “one task” for 41 years ...
One of the people who mattered was a man by the name of Ashok Patel. Ashok died recently at the age of 85. I haven’t seen Ashok in ages—he bussed tables at the Deli in the 80s and into the early 90s—but I cried when I read his obituary last week. It lists working at Zingerman’s as one of the key points of life. Being included there, to be honest, means as much to me as a James Beard Award. I will never forget Ashok. Not because he was the greatest busser, but simply because he was himself, he worked hard, he cared, and was probably one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. Ashok Patel will not show up in the New York Times or make the network news. But here at Zingerman’s, he mattered. And Ashok believing that he mattered is, I believe, a big part of what makes the poetry of Zingerman’s what it is.

Donald Hall wrote that “One day, of course, no one will remember what I remember.” Which is most certainly true. We can, though, at least optimistically imagine what we would like others to recall long after we ourselves are gone. Hall, who graced the planet with his creative presence for 88 years, wrote this piece later in his life that I hope will be true for the ZCoB:
Here, among the thirty thousand days of a long life, a single day stands still: The sun shines, it is raining; we sleep, we make love, we plant a tree, we walk up and down eating lunch. 

Through a common employer, I had the honor to meet and learn from Ari many times in my former life in food service.  He's the most positive person I've ever met, which, I'm certain, is the biggest reason for his success.  

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