So Much Love
One of the best things about being a tour guide for Savor Saint Louis is all the love we get from our guests by the end of the walking food tour. Hugs are not uncommon from people who were complete strangers three hours prior. At the end of the tour, I’m always a little sad it’s over because I’ve just spent the past three hours bonding with people I’ve never met over great food and sharing a little bit about a city I’m honored to call home.
Aside from the food, I think I get as much out of each tour as our guests do. As a guide, we never know who’s coming on our tour, their likes/dislikes, what knowledge, if any, they have about St. Louis; it’s a complete surprise. What is it about food that brings us all together during a relatively short amount of time? I am always learning something new from each and every guest and I think they’re learning a little something not only about the city I love, but about the food and culture and, well, a little about me, too.
I grew up the youngest of four children, so I wasn’t outspoken at all and fairly shy throughout my childhood and as a young adult, so the idea of leading tours was a little scary at first. And to be honest, I’m still always a little bit nervous before each tour starts because you just don’t know who you’re meeting. But these tours, whether there are two people or 12 people, are intimate and typically by the end of the first tasting, everyone is comfortable and chatting away like old friends. At times, I hate breaking up the conversations so we can get moving to our next tasting.
I’ve been on other tours, whether it’s through a museum or on a short excursion and it never seems like I get to know other people on the tour. Maybe it’s me, or maybe it’s the nature of the tour. With a food tour, you’re sitting around a table, or gathered around food, and even though the guide might have a lot to talk about, there’s something about being together over food that brings people together. I’ve witnessed guests making plans with other guests by the end of the tour to meet later, or potential business partnerships forming or simply the exchange of ideas on a type of beer to try. It’s what people do when they come together over food.
People bonding during our three-hour food tour: it’s something I’ve learned to love and never grow tired of watching, and being a part of.
Leading food tours reminds me of the quote by Ruth Reichl, “Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.”
One of the other guides once said being a Savor Saint Louis tour guide was “like having that great retirement job.” It’s true. I’m just so happy to have this job before I retire.