The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

July 13, 2013

Dinner in Europe

(Continued)

That relationship puts us one step ahead of other small communities trying to get a foot in the door for international exchange.

"There are communities that would kill to have the opportunity Chef has made available," Barajas said. "Now, are we going to put together our plan and execute it?"

"I'm just glad to hear him say 'our plan,'" Rader quipped.

When it comes to economic development, Barajas said, "as a community, we don't want to be offering the same thing as everyone else. Success [may come from] not being afraid to be different. To try something different."

"If you challenge yourself, you will grow," the chef agreed.

In the past, he's said it's when you put the microwave meals away and try cooking from scratch a few times that you learn to become a better cook. That's true, both men said, about individual people and about communities wanting to grow.

"To do that," added Barajas, "you have to step outside your comfort zone. The American [communities] that get on board are going to be successful."

— To see reporter Mark Newman's Twitter feed, go to @couriermark

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