By Mike Rakes
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had an interest in creating and sharing things with the world. My earliest memories of creating and sharing start around the age of 5. I studied classical piano from an early age and have extremely fond memories of practicing and performing for family, friends and others. Fast forward about 13 years and in 2002 I was a founding member of Johnnie Blend, an a capella group that still exists at Saint John’s University in Northern Minnesota. After graduating from Saint John’s I started my career journey at Ernst & Young in Minneapolis. There have been many twists and turns along the way, but I eventually landed at starting my own feta cheese spread brand, Philia™ - inspired by the Greek word for love of family, friends and community. When I set up at our first farmers market, I simply wanted to get out of the cubicle life and interact with the world a bit more that I currently was; what followed has been - and continues to be - the most rewarding and challenging career experience of my life to date. We’ve met some awesome people, created a full line of spreads and are continuing to learn and grow every day. For me, food has always been a vehicle to gather with friends and family to share hours and hours (and hours) of meaningful time together – no phones, no computers, no distractions – except of course for the occasional picture to capture everything.
For Greeks, the kitchen is always the most popular room in the house. In fact, at get-togethers in my 800 square-foot condo, my tiny – and I do mean tiny – galley style kitchen is usually packed with between 15-20 people, standing shoulder to shoulder, while the remaining 5 or 10 get the entire family room area to themselves. It is confusing to some, but we’re instinctively drawn to that area because the best memories and connections are always made over delicious food and drink. It’s quite literally (as I mentioned above, Philia means friendship or brotherly love) how we show people that we care about them.
In the spirit of these gatherings with friends and family, our blog will aim to focus on food as a way to build relationships and connect with others. You’ll be hearing from me and other members of our Philia team. We’ll be sharing stories, experiences, the latest Philia news, and of course some of the different ways you can cook with our spreads. Welcome to the family, we’re glad you stopped by!
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