Jordan Porter – Gastronaught and founder of Chengdu Food Tours describes his weekend in the ‘Du
Canadian born Jordan came to Chengdu in 2010 to study, but ended up embarking on a much longer journey of cultural learning and self-discovery than he had ever imagined. After a few years in a marketing company, he started Chengdu Food Tours in late 2015. CDFT helps gives visitors a candid and personal insight into the city, using Chengdu’s incredible cuisine as the vehicle, and the dinner table as the platform. They explore old neighborhoods, the history of the city and the wonderful food culture.
As an entrepreneur, and especially one in the service/tourism industry I don’t exactly have the same concept of weekends that I used to. Saturday and Sunday are busy days for me building the Chengdu Food Tours empire and showing tourists around our amazing city, hopefully giving them some insight into what makes it so special. But I ain’t complaining – I’ve done my best to incorporate the things I love into my job – exploring, eating delicious things and making people happy. The weekend is two days, that’s two more opportunities to do something awesome, to build a life (style) that I love.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a workaholic. I take time off, rest, exercise, relax and whatever – it’s important to have balance in your life – but that doesn’t always happen on the weekend for me. Anyways, let’s back things up here and go through it.
Typically I’d be leading a group of visitors through the back streets of North Chengdu hoping to open their eyes or taste-buds to something new and generally make sure they get the most out of their time here. IF I happen to be
free on a Friday I like to join Natook’s Friday Night Ride and cruise around the city with a big crew pumping sweet tunes and confusing anyone out for their night-stroll. We will end up at an establishment for a quick night-cap or a couple pints back at the Natooke Shop. Exercise is important.
Aside from my regular duties as Chief Experience Officer at CDFT I also find it important to be involved in and contribute to the community – I am helping to organize Chengdu’s 4th Startup Weekend which will take place next weekend (Nov 11-13). This an event based on grass-roots community building for entrepreneurs through a sort of weekend long bootcamp. So this weekend will be a bit more focused on that, and any extra time I have will be spent there.
On Friday evening I’ll head to Salmonist Co-working Space to help with setup, welcome participants, and then help facilitate the opening festivities.
Regardless of my plans for the day, or if I want to sleep in ( I have a bit of a late to bed late to rise schedule going) my dog will wake my at 8 or 8:30 for a morning walk. Walks are good when you eat for a living, and we stroll up and down the river, watching the ayis dancing and the real hardcore dudes get their fishing rigs set up.
I come home, make coffee, send emails and do boring office shit (it’s not actually all exploring and eating unfortunately). This weekend I’ll head back to Salmonist to help manage the event. We have an awesome team of capable people but its still all hands on deck. I will mostly be helping our all-star mentors to engage with teams who help guide them on their paths to startup success or personal discovery. It’s work but its also fun – there’s a great spirit to the event, and a comradery that develops between participants, mentors and organizers.
I will leave in the afternoon to lead a tour, eat a lot, talk a lot, walk around some oldschool markets, eat more, and say goodbye. I will go home walk my dog, do some administration work, and then meet back up with the SW crew for a celebratory beer.
Sunday will play out much like Saturday this weekend – dog, coffee, emails, Startup Weekend, work, celebrate – though usually I like to take Sunday as a “leisurely work day” if I don’t have client work.
This means hopping on my bicycle and exploring the city, finding new restaurants, taking pictures for social media, planning new itineraries, collecting ideas for blogs and articles and generally just trying to talk to people and learn more about the city and its food.
I’ll come home make dinner, and watch terrible B-level sci-fi and horror movies with my wife and dawg, disconnect for a bit, and got to bed. No proper weekends means no Sunday blues and no Monday morning work anxiety so I sleep like a baby and wake-up rested ready for another awesome week.
Read more about Jordan’s food tours here and stay tune for next week’s My Weekender.