that next big thing…

some people have jobs, some have careers.  some work because they have to and others work because they cannot imagine not working; it’s more of a “calling” than a job.  for those of us who have careers and callings, we are lucky to also find ourselves in love with what we do.  our lives become punctuated by big moments and accomplishments that more often than not, include our professional occupations.

in the restaurant world, there are few things to dream of.  the work is hard, it is stressful and physically demanding.  most of us do not get many benefits and quite often the pay scale isn’t very rewarding either-especially if you are a woman.  even so, we get up at odd hours and work our asses off even when we are sick or have cut/burned/bashed ourselves to a point that would make others cry and give up.  in the back of our minds, we dream of the day that…i know, it’s no different than any other career path but in our profession, at least the food is good.

so where am i going with this?  after 30 years of busting my ass, after countless burns and bruises and cuts, after writing 2 books, and on and on i could go, i finally found myself facing what could be considered a dream come true.  a bonafide career defining moment.  an honor so great that it is one that i simply cannot put into words so that it sounds like anything less than bragging.  so instead, i bring you pictures.

it all starts with a simple sweet potato
 and potato chips
 onions tossed in seasoned flour by hand

crispy fried onions
 the start of a casserole
 tomme cheese made with milk from a cow named eileen
(honestly, i’m not making that up, her name really is eileen)

 carrots mashed by hand
 our own smoked pork loin
 chicken breaded and fried 
 freshly fried chicken made from our secret recipe
 squash ready for the casserole

 profiteroles awaiting their filling
bittersweet chocolate
 freshly shaved

can you feel the love?

as we worked in the kitchen, the tables were set.  it’s almost showtime!  the tension builds and we are ready.  this is just a dress rehearsal, but we took it every bit as seriously as we will in two weeks.  we are headed to the big city, about 900 miles northeast of nashville.  yes, that big city, the big apple.  we’re packing up our recipes and our knife kits and heading to manhattan.  we’ve been invited to throw a little dinner party for valentine’s day.  you won’t find us in a restaurant or hotel kitchen.  this isn’t a pop-up dinner and there won’t be any tents.  we will be taking over a house in the village-greenwich village to be exact.  and whose house is it, does it even matter?  yeah it does, it belonged to a man named james beard-ever heard of him?

and all tongue and cheek aside, none of the attitude or arrogance, i am honored to have this chance and even with all of the preparation we have done, a little nervous too.  the james beard foundation put a nice bit up about us on their website, and we have even more up on cafe website.  our local paper covered the rehearsal dinner and here is what they had to say about it.  wish us luck, and stay tuned for more photos.

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