Ford Fry speaks to a crowd at Grace Midtown for Creative Mornings Atlanta.

Celebrity or Servant?: Creative Mornings with Ford Fry

Feeding people graciously and lovingly is one of life’s simplest pleasures – a way of making life better for someone, at least for a while.

When I first decided to embark on this journey of self growth, I knew right away that I could not do this alone. I needed to find community. To see what others were doing, be inspired, absorb and learn.

Through the power of Istagram and some friends there, I was beginning to catch wind of some really great companies, organizations and artists doing some amazing work. In a short time, I stumbled upon the account of Creative Mornings Atlanta.

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Here’s what they are about (taken from their website):

The Atlanta Chapter of Creative Mornings believes in the city we all call home. We believe Atlanta is a hotbed of creative talent and we want to inspire and challenge our creative community towards better things.


Wow.  That’s exactly what I was looking for.

The way they do this is through free, once a month lectures from people in the Atlanta creative community. I had just missed march’s event so I set a reminder for the registration date ( I was serious about scoring a seat) and when the time came, got a spot right away.

Ford Fry Shares about Humility

April’s event was held at Grace Midtown, the theme was “humility”, and the speaker, chef Ford Fry. Fry has opened a number of restaurants in Atlanta, including JCT Kitchen & BarThe Optimist and The recent Superica at Krog Street Market. Having just been to Superica the week before (if you have a love for well designed spaces and experiences, not to mention amazing tacos, visit this place) I was excited to learn from the man behind it all.

Fry embodied the theme; humility. He was a laid back, unassuming fellow with a big smile from Texas. Listening to him was like hearing an old friend tell stories in you living room.

He began with this question: Would you rather be a celebrity or a servant?


Ford went on to tell some stories about his process behind some of the restaurants he’s opened. I was amazed to see, start to finish, it was not about him at all. Before a name or location, he asks, “does the community need this place?” Every detail of each restaurant is thoughtfully designed to provide the best quality of experiences, and not just the menu. Even each light fixture is important, he said.

What’s even more amazing is that Ford is not about growing businesses and profit. He’s all about growing people. He gives each of his head chefs a stake in how their restaurant  operates, mentoring them to the point where it’s no longer Ford Fry’s place, but it truly belongs to the chef. He is there to serve them.

Impact over income. It’s a theme I’m seeing over and over, the more I observe the people that are doing amazing work. Ford is making an impact by not only providing amazing culinary experiences to ordinary people, he’s impacting the staff he hires. He’s impacting local farms by buying the best of what they produce. And he’s impacting an industry, proving you don’t need fancy, suit-and-jacket establishments to be successful. You can create inspiring spaces with the best food where folks can casually enjoy one another.

So what’s the takeaway? For me it is this: it’s all about serving. No matter what your passion is, you can be yourself and serve others with it. And your impact and success will eventually grow. But as Ford Fry said, “The day I start to think its all about me is the beginning of the end”


Daniel Fava Blog

I Am No Blogger (yet) but Welcome to My Blog

“If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.”

― Martin Luther

Out of the many creative things I spend my time on in a given week, writing has not been one that gets much attention. But I’ve had this feeling lately that that needs to change.

Doubt can be the best friend of procrastination. I’ve often doubted that I have anything to say so found it much easier to go on creating pretty pictures and work as usual. But I can’t put it off any longer.

Let me tell you where I’m at.

A few months ago I decided to take a step back and re-evaluate my life, asking myself (and my wife) many questions. Where was I heading and what did I want my life to look like? If I was intentional, could I grow as an artist, a leader, a husband? Could I dream big and do work that matters? Work that I not only love, but touches other peoples’ lives in the process?

So I’ve jumped into this journey. This intentional season of process. To discover myself and what I was meant to do in this world. And I’ll admit… I don’t know what I’m doing. I just know that as I move forward, the hindsight will make sense.

I have so much swimming in my head these days. And that’s what brings me here, to this blog. I intend for this blog to be a way process some of these big thoughts and to hopefully walk with other creatives who are in the same place of discovering their life’s work. I know that there’s a community out there doing this and I’m so excited to jump into it. We need each other’s ideas and encouragement and I’m learning it’s impossible to do this on my own.

So I’m excited and hopeful! I’m growing and so is my idea of what work is and what that looks like. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.


To the future.

Cameroon, Africa

In January of 2015, my wife and I had the privilege to travel to Cameroon, Africa with some dear friends of ours. A few years ago, a woman from our church, Sherri, decided to give up her medical practice and move there to be a missionary. She is amazing. She’s such a visionary and an inspiration to watch as she chases her dreams. We went to encourage her, help plan for the future, see the school and the church she’s planted, and join in outreach in the community. This was our first time in Africa and we absolutely loved it. The people were so filled with joy and life. And boy do they dance during church! Never had I felt so completely incompetent in the subject of rhythm as I did during the worship services we were a part of. I am not a good dancer. Anyway, we made some great friends, laughed a lot, prayed for hundreds of people and saw miracles. Here are some photos from the trip:


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TRU Integrative Health & Wellness

TRU is an integrative health and wellness center located in Buckhead, Atlanta. They offer a range of services and have a pretty amazing space to boot. The owners, Rob & Katie Truax are fantastic people and my wife and I have become good friends with them. They’ve been extremely encouraging to me with my photography, giving me opportunities to display my photos in their office space, as well as take the shots below.

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