Melissa knew she wanted to be a chef from a very young age. She was 9 years old when she first saw food being cooked out of a box. She has had a very rich + deep relationship with food from her youth.
I grew up on fast food and thought Red Lobster was fine dining. Simply put, I married into the restaurant world.
What I didn’t know is how much I love working in the restaurant industry. It started with Siège, actually, it started with “Chef’s Table”. When I married Melissa there was a huge gap between her food knowledge and mine. We started watching every food movie. Literally. From “Burnt” to “Ratatouille” we watched every food movie so that I could get as much knowledge and appreciation for Melissa’s first love. While watching Melissa’s favorite food film, “A Hundred Foot Journey” she paused the movie to quiz me on the 5 Mother Sauces for French cooking. Each movie moved my heart closer to what would unknowingly at the time be both my profession and passion. “Chef’s Table”, on Netflix, was a revelation. It’s a flawless documentary on its own, but its storytelling of chef/restaurant life is intoxicating. At that point, I saw the restaurant as a microcosm of life. I was inspired. Inspired to be at the places featured in the show. Not just there as a customer, a patron, but there is a sense of working at that level. I wanted to chase the level of excellence I was watching. I wanted to be at the farms, I wanted to be (insert my favorite Disney song) part of that world.
All of that was set up for Fred Sirieix. In the usual suspects of food shows of Bordain and Rosenthal, both of which we adore, I had never seen attention on the FOH. But my man Fred always had an eye on the work of the front of the house and talked about it on his show while doing deep dives into service.
You see, I can’t cook. I have no natural abilities in the kitchen. I have an interest in learning, but time does fly. Between learning how to make and edit videos, maintain family life, maintain friendships, and avoid having a belly as big as my father’s, each day goes by really quick.
The natural abilities I have are with people. I am hopelessly in love with the human race. I know all the terrible things we are capable of and yet I am incredibly trusting and even naive every time I meet someone. Two song references come to mind: Warren Zevon’s “Excitable Boy” and Love’s lyric “I think people are the greatest fun.” Simply put, I just love people.
I believe the best restaurants exist to share the abundance of their love and passion for food with people.
I believe the best FOH’s exist to share the abundance of their love and passion for hospitality and service with guests. That for me is the catalyst for all things FOH.
I love the creative outpourings of inspired chefs as much as I love the artists who created my first muse, music.
Working now as FOH at NaKorn in Evanston, I get to match the talent of the kitchen with my talent for people. I get to match the outpouring of love and attention in each dish with the outpouring of love and attention to each guest.
Sam and Mina, the owners of NaKorn, gave me an opportunity, a place where I can grow within the industry I love, and still marvel that I get to be a part of.
The sincerest thanks to them both.
Thank you babe for bringing me on this food journey.