After a long state of mental limbo, I finally stretched myself out, starting to write another blog. It took all left-over energies to crawl from under and translate the hundreds of paper snippets, booklet, and cookbook scribbles into actual menu pages that others can read: Convinced I hold in this messy bundle the world’s largest collection of TCM fused French Cuisine recipes… The healthiest recipe collection!

2011 ended in turmoil for me; confusing moments and insecurities about work, life and the progress of aging, all mixed with the realization that friends in secret tell the cruelest lies.

Within the irony of living, I grasp the beautiful dreams I have are still mine to realize.  My joy for living quickly extinguishes all past quarrels. I would tell others that passing through this experience is a part of a journey to build and find the energy to finish postponed projects. So here I am with this heap of scribbled cooking tips, research and medical wisdom, half edited by patient TCM teachers and developed with an amazing kitchen team I delegated these last two years…

The TCMchef website is in construction, and I am challenged with learning a new language… I’m not made to be a developer; it’s not my geeky forte. My talent is calculating and modifying cooking instructions for a cookbook to help others enjoy delicious but smart dishes. I envision a collection of recipes that introduces anyone without cultural exposure to Chinese medicine, comprehending the basics of the five elements that guide Eastern wisdom.

Within all the remedies I use to guide friends and strangers, my repertoire, suggestions, and comfort grow. Every week I challenge myself to study another medical chart, research the effects imbalances have on the organs. I have a ton of books all strewn around in my apartment – and weekly linger around in the libraries between North Hollywood and West Hollywood. By now, I know their medical sections by heart.

Since returning from Asia, I have adjusted my own intake: through the eyes, ears and mouth. I learn the most from simply watching others or inquiring friends when they share their health issues; I’m like a freak to some… Although true to TCM, we should never approach another about their skin, eyes, or smell – I can’t resist finding out what needs to be changed to place them back on a healthy track. I observe until another is ready to embrace help as a solution…

I don’t judge. In discussion, most agree that the best avenue to health requires a change of lifestyle. That also seems the biggest hurdle. The idea of stepping “out” from their perceived persona. In Singapore, my beloved teacher, Doctor Hu, once told me that a good observer never shares his finding until the “object” reaches out and admits that change is needed.

“Raphael, most people identify with their illness… You can’t take away what little they have…”

When countering that I too was affected by their illness and compelled to react for my own sanity, he would explain; “It is their lesson. You have no right to interrupt their journey. As you are on your own way, let others walk their chosen path.”

“But, their choice could be deadly?”


I feel peachy again and strong enough to guide others… I can’t escape that my income will have to come from cooking as a chef. But secretly, I am inhaling everything there is to know about TCM. Not a “cool” topic to discuss with friends at a bar…

Five Element Chart

One of the drafts is a simplification of The Five Elements from the perspective of Food. On the doorsteps of fifty, I find this a fitting “first chapter” and might even find the courage to send it off to print. I have a few Hollywood ladies invited to talk about healthy food in a garden setting… Lovely!


On my horizon for the near future, shimmer outlines of teaching my TCM cookbook. That next unfinished chore on my desk. The idea of teaching this to others fills my chest with pride. I’m a passionate teacher, and I love to activate curiosity in others. Sharing this amazing understanding for health not just balances physical well-being but also holds the mind in balance. We all should aim to plant a seed of wisdom into the minds of people around us to be curious about the foods we consume; our choices will be awarded in the long term. I want to travel again…

Back to my books, the recipes, and letting my mind puke this congested collection of information.

2012 will bring joy and comfort.

TCMchef Raphael

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