Owen Tilley - Family Dinner Night


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Owen Tilley

I grew up, the youngest and only boy in a single parent home. My mom, a strong, dedicated and hardworking woman, worked nights to provide for us. While I missed having her there at dinnertime, I knew that her sacrifices were for our better future. Back then, my sisters and I would grab a plate, one would pick up the phone, one would take off with friends and I would settle in for dinner with The Brady Bunch or The Jeffersons.

My journey in life led me to become a chef, and through this profession, I learned the profound social power of food. Food was more than just sustenance. It was a way to communicate emotions, bridge gaps, and create unforgettable experiences. I realized that the joy of a delicious meal was multiplied when shared with loved ones. Something I never knew I missed out on growing up. Something I knew I wanted to have growing older.

Now that I am married with kids, family dinner nights hold a sacred place in our home. But it’s not just about the food; it’s about the time we spend together as a family. We bond over meals, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Our teenager actually shares what’s going on in her world and our youngest has a captured audience to practice her jokes. Sometimes we play “Would you Rather”. Sometimes we talk about current issues. Whatever the case may be, on those nights, I feel a connection with my own mom, even though she isn’t physically present. I understand the sacrifices she made for us and the love she poured into each meal she prepared.

Today, our family is closer than ever, and I credit much of it to our time around the dinner table. As my children grow and discover their own paths, I am grateful that we have this tradition to fall back on, no matter where life takes us.

Becoming a chef has taught me not just the art of cooking but also the art of nurturing relationships through food. I see the immense power of a shared meal in strengthening family bonds and fostering a sense of belonging. Family dinner nights are an integral part of our lives, reminding us of the value of togetherness and the love we share with each passing meal.