FPMT News Around the World
The Cheese Plate PDX, started by Carina Rumrill and Nick Dickison after reading Lama Zopa Rinpoche's message in the 2011 FPMT Annual Review
Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s message to students in FPMT Annual Review 2011: Cherishing Life inspired Carina Rumrill – former editor of Mandala and present editorial support for FPMT International Office – and her partner, Nick Dickison, to take their extensive experience in fine dining, combine it with Portland, Oregon’s increasingly popular food cart scene, and create The Cheese Plate PDX. The high-end-style food cart has a carefully thought out vegetarian menu that reflects the importance Rinpoche places on a vegetarian diet.
One of The Cheese Plate PDX's picnic plates: soft boiled eggs with seaweed caviar, mushroom & kale pâté, cheese-stuffed olives, watermelon with ginger sea salt
In the letter, Rinpoche, who manifested a stroke in April 2011, reflected:
When I was in the hospital, I saw a program about animals that were sold to be killed in Indonesia and other countries for live export … It didn’t show how they were killed, but it showed one cow that was on the platform, with the head tied, being pulled down to be killed. The cow didn’t want to go and the man was pulling it. I thought, “I don’t have power to stop all this killing, but what I can do is to try to inspire people to become vegetarian.”
“As is often the case with Rinpoche’s students reading Rinpoche’s advice,” Carina shares, “I immediately felt the letter in the annual review was written for me. Suddenly, I realized that what we could do was not merely just make a living for ourselves and our family, but that by offering a wonderful vegetarian menu, we could actually be helping to fulfill one of Rinpoche’s wishes and requests.”
Nick Dickison (chef) and Carina's son (and employee) Alex Knowlton at The Cheese Plate PDX. Photo by Behind the Food Carts (http://behindthefoodcarts.com).
Carina and Nick’s cart focuses on local cheese from creameries that can prove commitment to the humane care of their animals; any eggs used are organic and cage-free; and a large portion of the menu is vegan. The business is a family affair as well, employing the talents of Carina’s two oldest children.
The cart and its tagline (itself inspired by Rinpoche’s letter’s closing) – “enjoy yourself. cherish others.” – is already getting attention from popular food blogs like world-famous Zagat and local up-start Behind the Food Carts (check out their stunning photos!)
“It is wonderful to enjoy yourself,” Carina remarks. “Just make sure that your enjoyment benefits others. That’s what I learned from Rinpoche, and so far, it’s working out really well!”
You can find The Cheese Plate PDX on Facebook. See photos of their yummy food and chat with the owners directly.
Two other International Office staff members also initiated a vegetarian business recently: former office manager Ugyen Shola and former director of finance Sarah Pool. Their business, Pacific Northwest Kale Chips offers delicious vegan chips made from kale.
With 158 centers, projects and services around the globe, there is always news on FPMT activities, teachers and events. Mandala hopes to share as many of these timely stories as possible. If you have news you would like to share, please let us know.