Speak Up

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Santa Claus Effect

His visits are rare, but the kids love him. No, I'm not talking about Santa Claus, I'm talking about chefs. This Santa Claus Effect is running rampant in my house. Erik has been traveling all year, with this summer being the most of it. He's been in Japan for 5 days and he has another 5 to go. He'll come home with presents for kids and their hearts will melt for their daddy. Meanwhile in the real world I'm buried in laundry, punching my time card teaching first grade, and running this circus all on my own. My son actually told me today that Daddy does more work. Ouch. Maverik, my five year old, said "Well, sometimes you watch tv". Ah! Of course Erik watches TV too, but it's at 2 am so the kids don't see.
I shouldn't be surprised. After all, no one thanks the elves on Christmas morning.

Food is Love,

Friday, February 27, 2015

"Good Cop, Bad Cop" or "Good Cop, Mom"

Ever since Adam and Eve first disciplined little Cain and Able, parenting roles have been split into two groups: good cops and bad cops. In my house however, the roles are most aligned to good cop and mom. I'm always the bad cop. 

All week long I'm saying, "No, you can't watch TV tonight...hang up your coat... I'm sorry if you don't like the potatoes, but that's whats for dinner...NO biting! (insert hot sauce into toddlers mouth)...Did you wash your hair yet?...Blow your nose...harder...harder. 

Then there is the chefhusand who only sees the kids on Sundays and gets to say fun things like, "Let's go to lunch...Of course we can wrestle...Who wants dessert?...Sure, I'll build Legos...You want to watch another show?

I know I will always be more of the heavy with the kids, and I'm fine with that. After all, I'm a teacher- I basically study children all day long. I have an understanding of what I expect from my boys and I know how to get it. But we have to be able to draw the line somewhere. I know that Erik feels guilty for not spending time with the boys more. I get that. But he can't undo all my hard work in one short day. I actually think the best fix for this would be for us to switch roles-if only one day a week. The kids need to see Erik has an authority and they also need to see me as a fun mom. I take care of the kids all week and then have to be the disciplinarian on top of that. Erik needs a slice of that. I can't have all the fun. ;-)

I'd love any ideas that work for your families. 

Food is love, 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Here We Go Again

It's been just about one year since I've last entered my thoughts, fears, and struggles here; but alas, it's time I come back. I started the blog in order to come together with other women who felt as if their husbands and boyfriends were like passing ships in the night. Then I stopped writing because, honestly, I ran out of things to write about. I worked my tail off adjusting, revising, and throwing the drawing board out the window when it comes to my husband and me. We were in a good place. Over the past month or so though I've struggled with Erik's new 6-day a week schedule, complete with longer hours and a very tired chefhusband. Oh, whatever  shall I do? Well, duh, I came back here! You all have been so supportive of me as well as each other over the years and this writing serves as an outlet to my frustrations.

So, where are we?
In the past year, Erik has gotten a lot of great press for his "Levitating Uni"  and since moved from the chef de cuisine at Morimoto NYC to the executive corporate chef of Starr Restaurants. And although that move is a great step in his career, it really changed things around here. He's worked corporate before and for me, it was great- weekends off, decent hours, and of course a Blackberry (hey, it was like 5 years ago). But Starr Restaurants is on a roll and it's taking my husband with him. He's working more hours, six-day weeks, and he sends work emails up until 3:30 in the morning. Erik is certainly stressed, but he loves his new position. He just wrapped up his stint at Upland with an incredible review by the NYT.

Levitating Uni

Blah blah blah though. I'm running myself ragged here raising wrangling two boys, working full time, and keeping my house managed. I feel like I did in the sophomore years of being a desperate chef's wife. Erik calls to tell me the latest who's who that ate at  Upland- I roll my eyes. during the last Blizzard we spend the day at a friend's house and Erik had to go upstairs for an hour to take a conference call- ugh. He's going to London for a week- yipee.

Overall, things are going well. We are healthy and happy, but sometimes the day to day just drives me nuts.

Food is love,

Friday, February 14, 2014

Marriage + Work =LOVE?

The city is buried in roughly two feet of snow, ice, slush, and sadness. And tonight while I was out shoveling the last slush layer up before the big freeze, I get a questionable glare from an uppity passer-by. What the heck? I'm just shoveling snow. A quick glance at my attire confirms that although my shirt is revealing a fresh Monsters Inc. tattoo on my midriff, I look relatively normal. So why the glare? Oh yeah, it's Valentine's Day! This lady must have thought I was 100% nutso for not only staying in, but choosing to shovel nonetheless.

Well who cares about her. I'm married to a chef. Chefs work all the time. And I love shoveling snow.

But no matter how much I miss seeing my husband, I still don't think I could work with him. But there are loads of restaurant couples out there that make it work successfully. One of which is includes Julie Vernick, my very first chef wife friend. Sadly, I lost touch with Julie and she moved to  Philadelphia with her husband. Together they work at Vernick Food and Drink. 

Zagat put together 14 lovely restaurant couples that are making it work in Philly. Check them out here. Do you think you could work with your chef? I know many of you do. Tell me about it. How do you get a break from each other? How do you handle workplace conflicts?

Well, whether you're noshing on a box of chocolates, gazing into the eyes of your loved one, or shoveling snow, I wish you a very special Valentine's Day.

Food is Love,

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Weight Watchers for [Chefs'] Wives?

Hi Ladies,
I got an interesting email from a reader a few weeks back. She has a dilemma regarding dieting and dating a chef....

"I am desperately trying to stick to a diet or weight loss plan. But dating a chef that is happy to make me meals, create amazing dinners, snacks, etc. is not helping at all. You see, before we started dating, I wasn't much of a cook. I'd typically skip dinners, or just have a small snack. Oh...and did I mention I also got 8 hours of sleep because I went to bed at 9:30! Now, not only do I find myself on his schedule which means late nights, early mornings, but I have put on 20 pounds and can't say no to his cooking.
I am hoping I am not alone with this challenge. If I don't stay up till 12:00 most nights, I would never see him. But this jeopardizes my sleep and health. This also means late night dinners. Dinners I never used to have. Calories I never used to eat. How on earth do I say no to his cooking and watch him eat dinner without me? Or go to bed without him every night?"

Now, don't hate me, but I don't think I've ever gained any weight because I'm married to a chef. I've have gained weight for other reasons: babies, mindless eating because I'm bored, holiday weight, etc. I definitely eat more when I'm with Erik because he always wants to try everything on the menu. I leave so many meals thinking, " I should have stopped eating a while ago". And I certainly do some late night snacking when he comes home around one in the morning. And although I don't really eat enough to gain weight from that, i probably should stop doing it. 

Any advice to help my pal Sunny here? Leave a comment below!

Sunny, I think you should stop eating late night dinners. If being with your chef late at night works well for you, great! But maybe skip the entrée and only eat an appetizer or the tiniest portion of the entrée. You could also ask your boyfriend to make healthier options if you really want to eat late night with him. 

Food is Love, 

Friday, October 4, 2013

NYC Meet-Up!

I can't believe I'm going to finally meet some of you soon! Connecting through Married to a Chef, some of us NYC wives are getting together to meet, greet, and eat.

Monday, October 21st, 6:30 PM 
Tiger Ale House on Bleecker between 6th and 7th. 

I'm extending an invitation to any other NYC area wives/girlfriends who would like to meet up. Just send me an email, or leave a comment below. Looking forward to getting to know some of you beyond the confines of a computer screen!

Food is Love,

Friday, September 6, 2013

Baby Number Two

My world has changed once again, for the better of course!

Wyatt Cartwright Battes was born on July 14th. Erik and I are thrilled to have started this new chapter of our lives. I'm so proud to be a mother of two boys. But it ends there, ladies. Four people is a full house and I'm perfectly content.

Thinking of having children of your own?I don't want to scare anyone, but you really should: Read this first. 

Food is Love,

And don't forget to enter my book giveaway here. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Snooze Fest

Let's talk about naps. I get it, I do. These guys work a lot. Anywhere from 5-7 days a week 10-16 hours a day, weekends, holidays, late nights, on their feet-yadda yadda yadda. But as soon as I see Erik hit the couch on Sunday afternoon my eyes roll dramatically- and I know it's in part-jealousy.

In my house I have three boys against one girl, and three nappers against the non-napper, me. The odds are not ever in my favor. The 3 year old, Maverik naps once a day for two hours, the newborn, Wyatt naps about 2 hours each day adding up all those cat naps, but the chef-he chef falls hard. He certainly doesn't nap as much as the babes, but he crashes much quicker. Erik will often lay down with Maverik after lunch on his days off and I hear snoring long before my 3 year old stops wiggling. Where am I in this picture you ask? I'm all over the place doing laundry, paying bills, organizing the junk drawer or grading papers. I just can't sit. I absolutely hate it because I wish I could relax. I wonder if they have an online class for that. Don't get me wrong, when Wyatt was less than a month old, I napped when baby napped- just like the experts said to do, and I had to in order to take care of the two little ones- in order to survive. Erik certainly isn't to blame for napping, he needs it. He also suffers from sleep apnea so even when he is asleep it's not that deep sleep we all so desperately need.

But there is something else that gets me agitated when he take his siesta: time. That precious thing none of us have enough of. As twenty first century people living on Earth we don't have time to exercise, call our parents, or visit with old friends. And as women dating and married to chefs we don't have time to see them. It just doesn't exist. So even though these guys need to make up for lost sleep, I can't help but see it as time lost. I can't help but think, "We could be going on a walk right now, or drinking tea in the backyard."

According to WebMd, napping can boost your memory, cognitive thinking, creativity, and energy. Maybe that's why Erik is always coming up with new dishes. It's the naps! Then again, this is a medical website with an article entitled "9 Secrets to a Good Kiss". Hmm...

Do any of you have chefnappers at home? Does it bother you? Are you a mover and shaker like me finding it difficult to even sit down? I'd love to know how the chef populace is sleeping during the day.

Food is Love,

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Let's Get Connected

Many of you have been inquiring about ways to connect with other chefswives in your area. This is a fabulous idea. In fact, that is how this blog was started. My two good friends who were also dating chefs helped me so much that I knew others could use the support as well. Validation seems to be the key sentiment around here. The trouble is, I don't keep a log of readers. BUT I am going to do my best to help you get in touch with one another. If you have any ideas, please feel free to share them with me.

There are two ways we can get connected.

1. Leave a comment here on this post with your name, city and state (country if applicable), and your email. I suggest writing it out in this format to avoid Internet scams and nonsense:
desperatechefswives [at] gmail [dot] com

2. You can also head on over to my friend Kerilyn Russo's website Married to a Chef and become a member of her village. This membership includes several goodies including membership to her private Facebook group. This group is a great way to post concerns, dilemmas, and accomplishments while getting feedback from other women connected to chefs.

Food is Love,


Friday, August 30, 2013


Hi ladies! I'm happy to have another giveaway to offer you. From Penguin Publishers...

In MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH EATING journalist Ann Mah blends food, travel, and gastronomic history as she embarks on a journey to reinvent her dream of living in Paris.

After her diplomat husband is given a three-year assignment in France, and then suddenly, called to a new post in Iraq –alone—Ann must find a life for herself in a new city.  Journeying through Paris and the surrounding regions of France, Ann combats her loneliness by seeking out the perfect pain au chocolat and learning the way the andouillette sausage is really made. She explores the history and taste of everything from boeuf Bourguignon to soupe au pistou to the crispiest of buckwheat crepes. And somewhere between Paris and the south of France, she uncovers a few of life’s truths.

Ann provides an insightful history of many of the regional dishes throughout France and punctuates each of her chapters with a traditional recipe. Both funny and intelligent, this is a story of love—love of France, food, and family—and of how hard choices can change your life for the better.

Ann Mah is a journalist and the author of the novel, Kitchen Chinese. Ann was awarded a James Beard Foundation culinary scholarship in 2005 and her articles about food, travel, fashion, style, and the arts have appeared in The New York TimesCondé Nast TravelerThe Huffington Post, the International Herald TribuneWashingtonian magazine, and the South China Morning Post, among other publications. The wife of a U.S. diplomat, Mah currently splits her time between New York City and Paris. For more information, please visit www.annmah.net.

The details to enter: 
Leave a comment below telling us where you would like to live for a year and why. Perhaps you want to master the art of BBQ while living in Dallas or maybe you'd like to master the art of sushi in Tokyo. On Tuesday, September 10th, I'll randomly select a comment and get a copy of the book sent to you. It's that easy! Just make sure you include your email- no anonymous comments. 

Good Luck!

Food is Love,