Speak Up

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Guest Blogger: So You Wanna Date a Chef? Good Luck!

When I first met Brian and he said he was a Chef, I nodded. Smiled even. When he said he was a chef at one of the best restaurants in Chicago,--my eyes lit up! I assumed, like most girls, that this meant a whirlwind romance of fancy dinners prepared for me daily, lots of time to spend together, and of course,--being able to get into places I normally can’t snag myself. Well. One out of 3 ain't bad.

It was hard at first. To see the burns and the cuts from that darn mandolin. And the calluses on his right hand that will never go away. It’s great to be with someone who is so passionate about their work. But it’s also not great to be with someone who is so passionate about their work.

Time. Meet your new enemy!! Time is now my new fear. It used to be sharks but I am now more afraid of time than anything in this world. Because time feels to never be on your side. And you will know what I mean if you decide to date a chef. My best advice is that you just relax when you do see him. Don’t make big plans or god forbid reservations at a restaurant. I made that mistake in the beginning of our relationship. Thinking that this was like all the other 9-5 er dudes I have dated. They simply don’t have TIME.

In the morning when he has to go to work, I feel as if there’s a referee standing there with a stop watch time ticking away. “It’s 11:40 am,!!! “Babe, I gotta go to work” is the line you get used to hearing.
We went to eat at NoMi at the Hyatt downtown, and the server asked if I too work in the industry. “No I replied” and Brian told him that I travel for work a lot and am gone on my tour. (Very much like George Clooney’s character in the movie Up in The Air.) The waiter joked “Well it’s not like you get to see him anyhow.”

The sad thing? It’s actually 100% true.

I joke that I sometimes hate his work. I don’t but I sometimes hate that they get him 90% and I get him 10%. He argues that it’s more like 80 /20 but I disagree.

If you are going to date a chef, realize that you can never really be “normal”. You aren’t going to have those dates on a Saturday night of dinner and a movie. You aren’t ever going to spend New Year’s Eve together or maybe Christmas either. You are going to have to spend time alone some nights waiting for him to get out of work. Which is never soon enough. I fall asleep sometimes and he will call me and wake me up. And that’s fine. Get used to his crazy hours.

Sunday is going to be your new favorite day. Or Monday.

I suggest that you don’t just tolerate his work. Really understand his business. Learn to love it. Cause then it is something you both are passionate about. Right now I am reading Foie Gras Wars all about the ban here in Chicago and the origins of Foie Gras.

Sure, you’ll never know as much as he knows,--he went to culinary school to learn all those things!! To me MAC is always going to be makeup and computers not knives.

For all the women who DO NOT work in the service industry, it’s a lot harder for us than a women who works WITH their boyfriend. You go 12 hours without seeing him. Daily. So I do recommend that you get used to text messages, photos from your phone and of course maybe an email thrown here and there just telling him he’s awesome and you’re thinking about him.

Book I am also reading now that is a MUST READ: The Soul of A Chef by Michael Ruhlman. It’s a page turner for sure and you learn of my new idol, Brian Polcyn of Forest Grill, http://www.theforestgrill.com who has something many Chefs lack, balance between home and work, with a successful restaurant, wife and 5 kids.

Book NOT to read, Anthony Bourdaines’s Kitchen Confidential. I love Anthony Bourdaine but I won’t read it because I am scared to read what really goes on in those kitchens. Sure. The “industry” has a notorious reputation for all Chef’s being cheaters and sleazebag drunks who cheat on their wives and girlfriends. Yeah. Don’t want to read that.

But there are the few chefs who just want to be normal. Who want to be happy not just in their work but outside their work as well. They want it ALL!

They want an actual relationship. They want some kind of normalcy. Some do want to be married and some do want kids. (And that whole urban legend of Chef’s not being able to have kids due to the heat in the kitchen is totally untrue.)
I learned that me complaining about not being able to see him isn’t ever going to help anything. So I just accept it. It’s going to take time to really accept his schedule. I am still working on it. He feels guilty that he’s at work all the time, but I always tell him it’s OK!!!

These guys, these Chefs,---they have tons of stress mentally and physically. So just do your best to be there for him. When he’s had a rough day at work be the one who gives him a back rub or takes him out for a beer and a chat. Or maybe just put some lotion on those darn rough hands of his!

Marianna Harrison

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I'm Fine, But Not Fine

Nearly two weeks ago I experienced one of the scariest nights of my life. I was meeting three teacher friends in West New York and I was walking alone to a restaurant. I was crossing the parking lot when a cab made a left hand turn (running a stop sign) and hit me. The front of the cab struck my left hip and I fell on the ground. I'm not sure how I fell or even how I landed because it all happened so fast. The first person to see me was ...of course...the chef of the restaurant. He was outside on a break and he helped me to the curb, called 911, and stayed with me until my friends got there. What a great guy. A couple of ambulances came and since I was able to walk on my own I went to the hospital about a mile down the road with my friends. After four long hours in the ER, I finally heard the babies heartbeat and I was immediately able to relax.

The baby is fine. I had an ultrasound a few days later and the breathing and movement are all great. All in all, I suffered some bumps and bruises, but I'm still in a lot of pain. My knee is really messed up and it's been hard to walk ever since. Hopefully that will go away in another week or two. My back is aching all the time as well. Emotionally though, I'm a wreck. That night was so scary and Erik was all the way in Hawaii opening a new resto. He was able to fly home the next morning to took care of me. I'm so grateful for him being able to come home so quick.

My friends certainly go to to know me on a new level that night. Let me tell you-if you want to get to know someone better-spend the night in the ER. The urine samples, personal questions asked by doctors, and my big belly hooked up to heart monitor all let my friends in pretty close that night.

As far as the cab driver goes-the police filed a report and we've hired a lawyer. That won't be over for another year or so, but I'm glad someone else is handling all of the paperwork.

My goal now is to relax during my Christmas break, heal my leg, and enjoy the holidays.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Be My Guest!

Come one come all, my blog is your blog. Thanks to a couple of ladies who've suggested I invite guest bloggers I'm happy to open my blog to you all. There are no particular themes-please write about whatever you'd like. Chefs, restaurants, recipes, children, dating, Thanksgiving, anything! Email me your stuff (photos welcome) and I'll post it here.

desperatechefswives@gmail.com
On a side note, Erik has Thanksgiving off! I am shocked to find out he doesn't have to work, which is great because on Friday morning he's leaving for Hawaii for three weeks. He'll be back on the 21st just two days before I leave for Ohio. ...like ships passing in the night...

I'm thankful for web cams, email, and cell phones. I'll miss my husband, but I'm happy he's spending some cold months in the eighty degree weather on a tropical island. After all, if he's going to be working 12+ hours a day 6 days a week, then the seventh day might as well be spend on the beach.

I hope everyone has a lovely Thanksgiving filled with food, family and friends.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Always A Reason Why

I've written over 400 posts on this blog since it started about two and half years ago. I'm really proud of this blog too. But clearly, something is going on that's preventing me from writing as much as I used to. I hate it. The same ideas are not flowing through me anymore and I've really been asking myself, "well, why?". I used to fluff the question off assuming that I've simply run out of ideas. The more I think about it though I know that's only a half truth. My best guess is that I feel less connected to Erik's career.

It even feels hard to write that. But it's true. Erik worked for Jean-Georges since he started as a cook, still in culinary school. Jean-Georges was the front runner above all over fine dining chefs and restauratuers in my mind. I idolized him. And why not? I watched as my husband quickly fell in love with a career and lifestyle through the school of Jean-Georges. As Erik was training and learning I was reading the same blogs that all the industry people and foodies do-belonging to neither group. I was going along for the ride and loving every minute of it. I labeled myself first not as a friend, wife, or woman, but as a chef's wife.I even considered making the label permanent with a chefwife tattoo. I don't even like tattoos. When the Bragard uniform catalogue came in the mail I would quickly turn to the page of Jean-George and sigh in gratitude that he was taking care of us-mind it in a far distant way.

Things are different now. Not only does Erik work for a new company, in a new position but I've become less connected to what he's doing. I still turn through the Bragard catalogue to see Laurent Tourondel there, but it's not the same. I just don't ask about employee drama anymore, I've stopped reading the blogs altogether, and I see myself now as a unique person first, chefwife, friend and sister later. I do also have to say that when Erik joined BLT it was 24 hours before I knew I was pregnant so I'm sure that has something to do with it too.

I am still completely 100% supportive of my husband-just not wrapped up and overwhelmed in his work. Before he travels I get all of the hotel information for him such as: do they have a gym...laundry service...shuttle to the airport...shuttle to the restaurant...? Really though, that's also for me to have a little peace of mind. I eat at the BLT restaurants and ask lots of questions about this new restaurant group. I still stand tall when people ask, "What does your husband do?".

What does all of this mean for the Desperate Chefs' Wives? I am still completely committed to the connections I've made with other wives and girlfriends. I would love for the blog to last forever, but I am struggling to write since it's not on the forefront of my mind anymore. And now that I've been direct with you-what will you think of me?

Food is Love,
Hilary

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Depression

I had no idea how many wives and girlfriends were concerned about their chef's emotional well being. When I posted the last entry I expected advice to come flooding in from you all, but instead I learned that run down, worn out, depressed chefs are more common that I thought. After reading all of the comments it seems like most of these men are suffering from exhaustion. Keep in mind that I don't know any of these people, only what has been shared with us on this blog. But I do think that depression is a characteristic of over worked chefs that no one is interested in writing about. We've read all about chefs and how much they love to eat and drink after hours. They've been called womanizers and drug addicts and their lives have been glamorized as such. But behind the closed doors of our homes, these chefs are struggling to become something great and make a living to support themselves and loved ones all while cooking, prepping, hiring, firing, ordering and receiving.

My advice? Well, I'm not an expert but I do have a perspective that I think might help some. I think there are some questions that need to be asked. For instance, is there a purpose to all of the work? Line cooks and even sous chefs will work very hard, but if the goal is to become an executive chef and work up through the ranks of a restaurant, then keep at it. There will come a time when the long nights get slightly shorter and the payoff will come. But if the goal is to cook and go home, then there is no reason to work in an environment that isn't conducive to a healthy emotional life. Also, who is training your chef? If these men are working under a 4 star executive chef with a lot of knowledge available, then keep at it. But working under a chef that isn't willing to train and guide isn't worth any sort of heartache or pain.

Talk to your chefs. Tell them how worried and scared you are that they are too overworked to enjoy life. I know my concerns often come out as nagging, so I have to work very hard to make sure that I express myself in a loving way-not an angry way. And let me tell you-I'm still working on it.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wanted: Some Serious Advice

Okay ladies, we have a fellow chef wife in need of our advice and support. She left a comment that leaves me concerned. I know the best hearts and minds in the world have crossed this blog, so I know we can help this woman in need.

Hello Hilary and all,

I'm so desperate for help, and I know this is totally off topic from sushi. But like I said, I'm desperate for help.

I believe my partner is suffering from depression and/or exhaustion from his job. He is the head chef in a new restaurant that is less than a year old. He is working close to 20 hours a day, 5 days a week.

He said he has seen a doctor, but he is still reluctant to tell me what happened. Until he is ready to tell me, I have no idea what to do.

Can anyone please, please give me some advice. What do I say? What do I do? Who do I talk to?

Food is Love,
Hilary

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sushi Etiquette

I've been to several sushi restaurants ranging from buffet style to 3 star Manhattan fine dining to grocery store selections complete with plastic green grass. As one of the most popular Japanese foods here in the states, it's surprising that most people, including myself, have no idea the proper way to eat the fish filled rolls. For instance, I always dipped my sushi rice side down in the soy sauce, but I guess I've been doing it wrong all of these years. Oh! And don't even think about leaving your chopsticks in your rice bowl. Check out this website to find out why and read a complete How To on Sushi Eating.

Thanks to Jerry for bringing this link to my attention.

For a listing of Sushi restaurants in Canada please click here.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pasta Marathon

Not, not a sprint towards the nearest Olive Garden -it's the NYC Marathon-powered by Barilla pasta. I always heard that carbs were good before a long workout-and there's no workout like a 26.2 mile run through New York City. Barilla pasta has provided a pasta dinner for 15,000 runners for the past 5 years. You know Barilla, they are the pasta company with those absolutely romantic commercials set in well decorated apartments and villas. On Saturday night 7,000 pounds of pasta will be cooked up and served at Tavern on the Green in Central Park. Lorenzo Boni, executive chef of Barilla Pasta will be heading the event preparing Barilla Tri Color Rotini Pasta, Barilla Cellentani with Artichokes,and Baked Barilla Piccolini® Mini Ziti with Roasted Vegetables and Ricotta Cheese. Lorenzo is a true Italian too, raised in Bologna, Italy and trained all over the country.

The dinner will begin at 4:30 PM on Saturday, October 31 and tickets are on sale for runners as well as the general public for $25. They can be purchased starting today at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. So if you're not into dressing up like Jon and Kate Gosselin or dancing to the Monster Mash this year, head on over to Tavern on the Green for some delicious pasta dishes.

Good luck to all the runners!

Food is Love,
Hilary

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Great Gathering of Chefs, Battman!

Alan Batt, aka Battman released his latest two books today at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in NYC. The Great Gathering of Chefs was just that having chefs from all over sign 100 copies of the books Small Things Savory and Small Things Sweet. They feature stunning photography and recipes from some of the greatest chefs and restaurants in the city. Such notables included Greg Brainin from Jean-Georges, Craig Koketsu from Park Avenue Winter, George Mendes from Aldea, and my husband, Erik representing Perry Street.
The event raised money for Action Against Hunger, an agency designed specifically to battle global hunger. Al Gore is working with the organization to create another documentary, No Hunger. Visit AskAlGore.org for more information. Since Erik is working for BLT currently, but signed books next to his Perry St photo, he was lucky enough to sit with his BLT coworkers. There was even an seat empty next to Erik so I helped pass the books along the signing assembly line. That is of course after I got a taste of a duck hot dog from the d'artagnan station. I'm in love with duck hot dogs now. MMMFood is Love,
Hilary

Saturday, October 10, 2009

POM Wonderful, with Caffeine!

I was sent a couple more packages from the folks at POM Wonderful. The first one was a new iced coffee drink. No, no, no, it doesn't taste like pomegranate. But like their line of pomegranate juices, it has tons of antioxidants,not to mention hormone free milk, organic sugar cane, and no preservatives. Since I'm preggers I can't really drink the stuff but Erik was more than willing to test out the new drinks. Those adorable bulbous containers really pack a punch. Erik was caffeinated after finishing and also like drinking it. I took a little taste too of the chocolate flavor and it didn't taste like it was mixed with a "chocolate" concoction, but real milk chocolate. Tasty.

The second package POM sent was two new juice flavors. It was the regular pomegranate juice with nectarine and kiwi flavors added. I definitely liked drinking them, again in those adorable bulbous containers. But I think I like the original pomegranate better. However, if the pure pomegranate juice is a bit too strong for you, then the kiwi or nectarine is perfect. It doesn't taste watered down, just less strong.

No matter what they put out, I just love the POM line of drinks.

Food is Love,
Hilary







Check out their website at Healthybuzz.com or pomwonderful.com

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Chef is Back

Finally!! Erik came home last Sunday and I've been just elated ever since. We went to dinner at Locanda Verde and it was amazing. There is nothing like my Sunday dinners with Erik. The first thing he said when I picked him up at the airport..."you're huge!" Some people thought that was insulting, but I couldn't be more pleased with the compliment. I'm 16 weeks and I felt the baby moving last night! Erik was excited too, but he was also half asleep. Hopefully baby Battes will do an encore performance soon.

While Erik was away it seems he really got into the groove of his new job. I get the impression that he has more value there as an employee than before. And his new company has a PR firm, Bullfrog and Baum (one of the best) that sets Erik up with all sorts of promo events. I don't know how other chefs feel about promotions. And actually I don't really know Erik feels since he hasn't done that many. On Monday, he'll be cooking with other restaurants at and Autism Speaks event in the financial district. On the 18th he'll be signing Battman's new book: Small Things Savory, at The Great Gathering of Chefs. He'll sign next to the mozzarella he made way back when at Perry St. That may be slightly weird since he's not representing Perry St anymore, but I think it will be fun and Battman even said I can come! I love these events. I hope to bump into my promo event buddy Wylie Dufresne; he is probably the nicest chef I've ever met. Oh, and Erik is taking a class from the Gohan Society: Mastering Fish the Japanese Way.

There is so much going on but it all feels right. I'm so glad to have my chef back.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Friday, October 2, 2009

Guest Blogger

I was honored to be asked by ChefWidow to guest blog on her site while she was at Disney with her family. I wrote about the fears I have of becoming a mother and all that comes with it. Check it out.
An except:
"Maybe I’m just a 26-year-old, scared-as-hell, soon-to-be mom with an individuality complex? Perhaps it’s selfishness. I do expect to be giving up my weekly dinner dates in New York with my husband-but only if I can trade them in for Sunday family meals. "


Also, check out the other guest bloggers who rocked the blog this week.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

This Wife Can Cook

With Erik gone in Charlotte, I've been left to my own devices. I'm totally capable of cleaning, paying bills, feeding cats, and maintaining hygiene. But at the beginning of the month I was nervous for my own health that I'd end up polishing off a box of corn dogs or buried under salt and vinegar chips. As it turns out, I'm not half bad at cooking. I never gave myself a chance to cook because Erik always made a large meal or two at the beginning of the week. Not only that, but I grew up on mid-western semi-poor people food and I'm not above eating vegetables from a can or making mashed potatoes from a box. Erik on the other hand, doesn't really like having that stuff around. Well Erik ain't here now.

I'm no "king of the kitchen" but I can certainly hold my own enough to keep me fed and satisfied. Erik comes home Sunday and I'm curious to see how the chef reacts to another cook in his kitchen. I won't be taking over or anything but there will be a few new rules around here.

1. Vegetables-fresh or canned- will be served with every meal.

2. More chicken, less ground beef.

This shouldn't be too much of a change so I think the chef will be able to deal.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Blog, Already!

I'm an awful blogger! I haven't been keeping up with the Desperate Chefs' Wives, but it certainly isn't because I don't love all of you! I wish I had more energy to write more often and bigger brain for brilliant writing ideas. Overall, things are going well sans the chef husband. He comes back in 7 days and let me tell you that can't come soon enough. The autumn leaves are turning, the air is crisp and I can't stand my favorite season without my chef. We were married in the fall, October 25, and way back fall of freshman year high school we started dating. We were planning on going to Per Se for our 4 year wedding anniversary but in the end we decided not to. As much as I want to try Chef Keller's food, there is no way I'm paying $275 per person for them to modify the menu for pregnant me. If I go to Per Se I want the full Per Se experience, raw fish, rare meat and all. So we are still up in the air about the big anniversary dinner. So that's the skinny on things-which I'm totally not anymore. (yay!)


Food is Love,
Hilary

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kanye, No Way


Occasionally various writers from TMZ send me stories related to food, chefs and celebrities. I've never posted anything because the stories are usually petty and just don't fit the mood and style of this blog. But I got something interesting in my inbox today and I thought I'd pass it along.

Kanye -- The Unkindest Cut of All

Wolfgang Puck has a P.R. problem -- one Kanye West ... and he's screwing with the menu.


CUT -- Wolfgang's Bev Hills restaurant -- has menus with pics of various celebs on the cover, including Kanye West, President Barack Obama, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Angelina Jolie.

Last night, several tables got dealt Kanye menus and complained to the server, who obliged by trading up.

We spoke with the manager of CUT, who confessed people were handing back Kanye menus even before his hateful VMA stunt last Sunday. We think you know his record.

But truth be told, the manager says people have also turned back menus featuring Obama and Arnold.

The restaurant will boldly continue to deal in Kanye.


I had a couple reactions to this news.
#1- Way to go to all those diners who thought they deserved a less offensive menu. I would certainly chose an Obama or Arnold trading card-I mean menu over Kanye. Even before he was a major jerk hole to my kid sisters' idol Taylor Swift, I don't think he belongs on a menu with the likes of Obama.

#2- Why does Wolfgang even have celebs on his menu?? What do celebrities have to do with food? Or politicians for that matter? I was raised in Los Angeles, California for 17 years before I moved to New York/New Jersey 5 year ago. Looking west to LA I'd say Wolfgang is sooo Hollywood. I don't see pop culture celebs and politicians lasting a NY minute on any menus around here.

Going along with the needless yet occasionally addicting non-information TMZ lends, I have a drop of juice on the Austrian chef. He was in the process of being approved by the Board of Trustees at the Bel-Air Country Club but he was DENIED because of his then wife and business partner, Barbara Lazaroff. The club didn't like her and didn't want her around. I don't know if he ever re-applied, we had left LA by then and I haven't been to the club since. And really, who cares anyway?

Food is Love,
Hilary

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Oh, My Achin' Head!

Since last Thursday I've had a dull, aching headache and I'm going a little bonkers from it. I have to say that on a pain scale it's only about a 4-6, depending. But, it just won't go away. Normally, I let the headache ride for about a day before taking any meds. Sometimes they go away on their own and I'd like to avoid pills as much as I can. I've taken two Tylenol since last Friday-and neither worked. I really don't want to take too many, considering the bump I'm growing is really a HUMAN inside of me. (Still freaking out about that.) I have tried the pressure point thing between my pointer and thumb-nothing. I have done some IMT on myself. IMT is Integrated Manual Therapy, a holistic approach to treating pain-among other things. If you place one hand on your back and one on the pain, then usually it goes away. The contact activates the kidneys to filter out the "bad stuff". That worked great-but only when I'm doing it. I can't exactly walk around looking like I'm mid-hokey pokey.



HELP!

Food is Love,
Hilary

Oh, and Erik has only been gone for 8 days and it feels like 8 weeks. Is it October 4th yet?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pressure Cooker on TV!

I've been spreading the news about the documentary movie Pressure Cooker and now you can all see it! I tried so many times to get to the theatre when it was playing in NYC, but I could never work out my schedule. Well, lucky for me and you the movie will be on BET this Saturday, September 12 at 6:30 PM. This is not a movie you want to miss so set the TIVO or DVR if you won't be in at that time. Since its debut in May, Rotten Tomatoes has rated this authentic documentary at 89%!


Jennifer Grausman, daughter of C-CAP founder Richard Grausman, is very excited to share her documentary Pressure Cooker. This touching film follows three seniors at Philadelphia’s Frankford High School, who find an unlikely champion in Culinary Arts teacher Wilma Stephenson. A legend in the school system, Mrs. Stephenson’s hilariously blunt boot-camp method is validated by years of scholarship success that’s taken countless students from the city’s working-class neighborhoods to the top culinary schools in the country. And under her fierce direction, the usual distractions of high school are swept aside as Erica, Dudley and Fatoumata prepare to achieve beyond what anyone else expects from them.


Again, the trailer for Pressure Cooker:


Facebook fanatic? Become a fan of Pressure Cooker.


It will be my first time seeing the movie on Saturday as well and I'd love to hear what you have to say about it so come back and comment.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

26 Days and Counting

Erik left this morning for Charlotte, NC for FOUR WEEKS! He's part of the opening team for a new restaurant there and he's gone until October 4. I'll be busy with doctor appointments, school stuff, a bridal shower, and visiting others. My brother goes to school in Boston now so he'll probably drive down one weekend. My step sister just moved to Reading, PA and that's only about an hour and a half away from here so I plan to visit and help her unpack.

Of course on top of all that, and more importantly too, I'm 11 weeks pregnant. I wish Erik were around, but I can survive these next four weeks without him. He just better plant himself in NYC in March so he doesn't miss the birth!

But no matter how busy I try to make myself, I'm still going to go crazy for Erik, especially on Sundays. I'm used to Saturdays and weekdays alone, but Sundays-they'll be rough. Traveling is a new aspect to Erik's job that we never had before. I'm wondering if there are others out there who have techniques or ideas to deal. I do have iChat on my mac to Erik and I can at least "see" each other that way.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Monday, August 31, 2009

Chef Cheaters

An anonymous commenter suspects that her chef is cheating and asks that I post about the topic. I find myself reading fewer descriptions of chefs as alcoholics and cheaters, but I'm not convinced either way, that it's due to chefs turning straight edge or writers getting tired of the same sad chef description. New York Magazine wrote a piece on the Desperate Chefs' Wives blog saying:
"Chefs tend to be notoriously bad husbands and boyfriends, and the reason is obvious: They’re at work all night, they love to pop corks and hit the dummy
pipe, and there are always foxy waitresses, servers, and even diners eager for
the “fourth course.” But don’t despair if you’re stuck with one of these
scoundrels. There’s a blog for you."
I don't like to think of chefs as such "bad boys"-probably because that's not my thing. But I do know some of some chef drinkers, toquers and cheaters. However, that exists in any industry. For the most part though, the chefs I know aren't cheaters. But we can't deny that even well-known chefs have bad track records.

-UK celebrity chef John Burton Race walked out on his wife and 6 children for another women he now lives with, and has a child with.

-Gordon Ramsay has been accused of cheating on his wife, Tana-but as far as I know they are still together.

-And of course, the Top Chef Season 5 cheaters both Hosea and Leah has significant others back home and they cheated on national television-with each other.

So it is out there ladies but I wouldn't suggest avoiding chefs all together or dumping yours now out of fear. Bring your concerns here if you suspect an unfaithful chef. We can talk about it and find a solution. And given the circumstances of being married to a chef, who's to say wives are never tempted stray? But if you know for a fact that your man has cheated, my advice will always be the same: leave, now.

The New York Magazine article I mentioned earlier ended with this:
"Desperation aside, the author's own domestic situation seems rather stable,
which kind of detracts from the site's entertainment value, you know? What it
really needs is more sob stories! We want a blog that reads like a chef-y
telenova! But given what goes on in those naughty chef circles, it's only a
matter of time. We'll wait, breath baited."
HA. Well, keep holding your breath then because this chef and wife are better than ever. A four year wedding anniversary in October, a new job, and a baby due in March. Life is good.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Chef + Wife + BABY

A while back, I would spend my time vacuuming and planning. I had a big production planned to tell Erik I was pregnant. This of course was a long time before I was ever even planning to have children. ...He would be working at Perry St, I would come in late, just before closing glowing with a content grin on my face. Someone would tell him to come upstairs because I woman was about to tell her husband she's pregnant. He'd come up and look for the woman, and then he'd see me and I'd nod my head and smile... If you're a fan of I Love Lucy like I am ( I own every episode) then you know this is very similar to the way she told Ricky she was pregnant.

Well, that fantasy is still just a fantasy. After realizing Erik did not want a production when he found out, I had to scratch everything. It was for the better anyways since I can never keep a secret from Erik. We were watching TV on a random Wednesday that he and I had off and Erik suggested I take the test. So a little while later I snuck away and took it. I know the box says to wait 2 minutes but that thing went positive in about 2 seconds. But I still waited 2 minutes. I told Erik to check the test in the bathroom and look for a plus sign.....I've never been as happy as that moment with Erik. He was in shock for 4 days until he got the handshake from my doctor. Moments later the whole Jean-Georges company knew, including my chef wife pal, J.

In the end, I'm glad I didn't take the test alone. The last 5 years it has been just Erik and I out here and we've had to do everything with just each other. And now, we'll be raising a baby on our own. It's not ideal, but it is just the way it is.

I'm ten weeks along, due March 30. I will be finding out the gender as soon as Erik gets back from is 4 week Charlotte opening. Except for some pregnancy acne(ugh!) everything is great so far!

Food is Love,
Hilary

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

SA-TUR-DAY, Hey!

I've waited 7 years for Erik to have a normal weekend. Saturday and Sunday? I still can't believe it. We had our first full weekend a couple days ago. As much as I've wanted this, it will take a slight adjustment. I'm used to working on school stuff on Saturdays. I spend the better half of the morning grading papers and planning for the week ahead. That won't/can't change, I need that extra day to get those things done. But what will change is Saturday morning cleaning and laundry. I have a partner! I've cut my cleaning time in half by doing it with Erik. We swept, mopped, dusted, cleaned the litter, bathroom, and kitchen in less than and hour! One good thing about a little apartment, little cleaning.

I can't wait to go to weddings-unheard of before now. And Erik will be available for school events I'm hosting-my jobmates only know Erik from stories. I considered a moving our normal standing Sunday dinner date to Saturday, but I'm so used to Sundays that I'd like to keep it that way. Of course all these Saturday fantasies can only come true if my chef isn't traveling at the time.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Friday, August 21, 2009

Chef Mumbles

We've been having a lot of trouble around here getting Erik to keep the CPAP breathing machine on at night. He takes it off without knowing it and seems delusional when I tell him to put it back on. Well this time his delusions turned into an audible chef mumble. Have a read:

Me: Put the mask back on.

Erik: Why? What is going on?

Me: Just put the mask back on so we can go back to sleep.

Erik: Sleep? We're sleeping?

Me: Yeaaaah....

Erik: So we're not making amuse bouche?

Hilary: [rolled over and gave up]


Food is Love
Hilary

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Non-Flood, Non-Emergency

This is just so silly I have to share.

I knew for a few days now that the condo building we live in would have the water shut off today from 10 AM until 3 PM. No big deal, Erik and I leave before then and come back much later. So you can imagine how shocked I was when I came home today around 6 to the sound of the water running in the kitchen. My fears seemed so real that I was about the burst into tears. It wasn't long ago that I left the bathroom fauceet running while I took a shower. )Sorry to the ones living in #1907.) I didn't even get the front door shut or the lights turned on as I did a tip-toe-run to the kitchen through 6 inches of imaginary water. Once I got the faucet off and the lights on I came to realize that the floor was bone dry. Thank goodness the sink was clear, except for a pan that was soaking over the edge of the sink. If the stopper had been in place, my house would have been ruined-not to mention all 19 floor beneath me. Well, maybe only the 19th and 18th floors would have been soaked.

...so someone left the faucet on...

But it doesn't end there, ladies. I turn around to make sure there was no water on the floor. After all that, the image of a soaked floor in my mind was hard to erase. What did I see before me? Light coming from the fridge. The door was open all day long! Not a crack either that happens when the freezer is too full and a slam of the fridge door will leave that little crack. I'm talking at least 4 inches wide open. So wide in fact that the light was on. Go to your fridge now and test it-see how far you have to open the door to get the light on. It's far! I guess a giant Sam's Club ketchup was bent to the side propping the door open. Most of the food actually survived, especially the things in the drawers and on the bottom shelf. But the giant 2 pound block of extra sharp Cheddar that I just bought yesterday-unopened, was all melted inside the package. It was directly under the light bulb and completely sweaty. Gross. I haven't really looked at the other food since I thought it best just to shut the door and keep it shut. This was after I had to make dinner by opening the door and getting everything out at once like a stealth fridge thief.

... so someone left the fridge open...

All in all, everything is fine now, but for those first moments when I got home I was freaking out. And although I do my best to avoid blame...I have to say on behalf of myself that I wasn't the last one to leave the house today. I'm just saying...

Food is Love,
Hilary

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Goodbye Perry St

Ch-ch-ch-changes...

Big changes around here. After working for Jean -Georges since his externship at the CIA, Erik is moving on to new challenges. And I have a feeling this is harder for me than it is for him. First of all, (agree or disagree) you all know how involved I am in my chef's career. I've met so many people in the past 7 years. Most of the cooks, chefs, GMs, and wives have come and gone as the industry tends to dictate, but I'll be continuing to connect with some dear friends long after my midnight visits to Perry St cease to occur. I'm not sure how how the new company will react to my blog so to keep on the safe side I'll keep some things on the qt for a while. What I can say is that I'm about to deal with something many of you know about: traveling. I knew this when Erik accepted his new job, and I'm going to do my best to get through it. Expect most posts to come in September when Erik will be gone for 4 weeks. Yep.
I'm thrilled for the new job and apprehensive at the same time, especially about the traveling. But I'll count on you ladies to help get me through that-should I need it. August brings two fresh starts: Erik's new job and a new school year.

January 2006, New Fulton Fish Market
Original Perry St crew from right to left:
Erik Battes, Justin Basdarich, Greg Brainin, Paul Eschbach, Greg Vernick, Jean-Georges
Believe it or not, three and half years later and all theses guys (now except Erik) still work somewhere within the JGV company. Despite what some may say, JG is a great man to work for. And who better to take over the chef de cuisine position at Perry St than Jean-Georges's own son, Cedric.

Adios Perry St.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Two of a Kind

Not sure who caught Tony Bourdain last night on No Reservations. I usually really like the show but last night he showcased San Fransisco and it seemed as if he didn't really like it. I've only been once and I certainly wasn't a restaurant enthusiast back then, but I guess I thought Anthony would have highlighted more unique or interesting food. That's besides the point. I couldn't help but notice that one of Anthony's food friends, Oscar Villalon, looked like a bizarro east coast version of The Feedbag's own Josh Ozersky.

See for yourself.



Oscar photo from SF Gate.com


Ozersky photo from Serious Eats
Perhaps Josh Ozersky doubles as a San Fran writer and food enthusiast. Then again, who would lead a double life in the same profession? In my double life I'd do anything but work with kids...something interesting like a an antique collector or bonsai trimmer.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Friday, August 7, 2009

Chef Mumbles

This one is particularly odd as my husband acknowledged he was talking in his sleep, yet continued to mumble about custard. I was laughing so hard the whole time, my stomach hurts. Have a read:

"I know this is going to be ridiculous.... The custards haven't set. We have to make a new batch."

"How do you make custard?"

"You need eggs."

"How many?"

"Read the recipe."

"I don't have a recipe, can't you just teach me?"

"I'm not here to teach you; make more custard." (He's tough!)

"Can't we just put the custard in the freezer to set?"

"That might work. This is ridiculous. I'm in the bed!"

Erik was recently fitted for a CPAP ("see-pap") machine to help him sleep at night since he has sleep apnea. However, he hasn't quite gotten used to the breathing machine and until he does these mumbles are going to continue.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Live-In Maid

As far as chores and housework go around here, I pretty much do it all. I'm no superhero, after all we only live in a one bedroom. I made a decision a long time ago to do most of the work because even though I work full time, I certainly work less than Erik and have time to do it. After a while though I started getting resentful. I'm sure you're not surprised there. At some point Erik had to start taking some responsibility around the house at the very least to save me from killing him. I didn't need the help, but I needed the support. We have a partnership and I'm not going to be stuck doing the dirty just because I "only"work 45 hours a week. We working it out that he cleans the stove and bathroom, helps with the cat litter, irons his own shirts, and pays the rent and garage bills.

Things get a little sticky around summer time. Although I'm a teacher I work during the summer part time at the school doing administrative work. So with all the extra time I pick up more of Erik's work. I don't mind ironing or cleaning the bathroom; it keeps me busy. But somehow this whole summer Erik hasn't done a thing! How did that happen? How did I let that happen? So now I'm blowing up and pissed off not because I have to do more work, but because Erik doesn't seem to care about anything other than cooking or eating....would you guess he's an only child?

Food is Love, (and frustration)
Hilary

Friday, July 31, 2009

Best New Restaurants

Tyler Kord, No. 7
Courtesy Bon Appetit via Grub St


Bon App├ętit’s latest edition will boast the: " Top 10 Best New Restaurants in America” and not one but TWO of the restaurants are those that I love.

Number one: Ok, so I've never actually been to The Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland, but I've been reading the chef's wife's blog, Chef Widow, for a couple years now. I was drawn to her because when I started reading her blog she was moving back to Ohio from NYC and I was desperate to do the same. She's super supportive of her chef and family and I love that. Head to her site for a great giveaway going on now.

Number two: Actually it's No. 7. Brooklyn's own Tyler Kord opened No. 7 last summer and it's been so great ever since. I met Tyler when he was cheffing with my husband at Perry St. He also has an amazing wife and an incredibly fat cat. When visiting No. 7 in Fort Greene, don't leave unless you've had the fried broccoli.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Dough Dreams

Washington Square Park a couple weeks ago
My younger sister, bless her soul, wants to be a pastry chef. Her fourteen year old dreamer mind wants to own a cake shop when she's older. When Erik heard this I could see how uncomfortable he was. He wanted to tell her to do anything in the world but cook/bake. But he also didn't want to crush her dream. At around 8 0r 9 I remember my father saying I shouldn't be a news reporter because they lie. I almost died; during that summer all I wanted to do was report the news with my mic made from an apple on a Popsicle stick. I ended up teaching and I'm the happiest person in the world doing that.

For a soon to be sophomore I think she's a pretty good savory cook. She made me dinner not too long ago-garlic sauteed shrimp and rice and she explained the steps along the way too as if my parents kitchen was a studio. I have a feeling she's been strongly influenced (like many people) by the Food Network. Shows like Ace of Cakes make it seem like being a pastry chef is all about cleverly icing cakes in a funky office with all your pals. There really isn't a show on the Food Network or any network that shows how demanding cooking and baking really are. There are plenty of books (Kitchen Confidential, Spiced , The Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry, etc. ) but the books are slightly less available and certainly less appealing to teenage girls.

I really don't know what to tell my sister. She's a great student, gymnast (I coached her her first few years), and cheerleader. And she's young enough that her mind might change three dozen times before settling down with a career. She might also end up with her own fake cake show selling the improbable dream to a new generation of wide-eyed teenagers. The career really makes no difference to me so long as she's treated right and happy about it.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chef Mumbles

Getting reading for work this morning I heard the chef muttering something in bed.

"How many wings are here?"

"Um....2?"

"No, there are way more than that, there are at least 5 birds cooking. Can't you smell it?"

Now, he's dreaming about chicken. Or come to think of it, that could be turkey or even squab. We'll never know.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Hard Post to Write

One of my fears on this blog has been that I come off too whiny and other women who have tougher situations will disrespect me. I always think about doctors' wives, firefighters' wives, police officers' wives, and military wives. I don't want others thinking I made a blog out of something useless or unnecessary. My fear became a reality when I got a comment by a women married to a man in the military. Some of you may have read her comment posted on "Search Party" but I'll include it here for reference.


I, on the other hand, found your blog by hitting "next blog" and stumpled on it...I was fasinated by the content and had no idea there was a need for this forum. I do feel for all of you. I'm sorry that your boyfriends/husbands work long hours and leave you home alone or just feeling alone. I'm sure the 14, 15, 16 hour days are long and when he comes home he's tired and maybe deep down because of this you're not being completely fulfilled in the relationship and that might make you doubt why you're in it. I get it. My husband doesn't have to be a chef for me to get it. I'm happy that you have eachother to listen and simply know that someone else is out there feeling the same lonely pain. It's not unlike the support groups I have for my life. We all marry or date these men who have their lives and passions and no one puts a gun to our head to make us stay...we stay because we love them and it becomes our lives too. We should embrace our lives. Move on with your own lives as much as you can. A good relationship is two lives not staring only at eachother, but standing next to eachother moving in the same direction.

With all due respect to fellow women, some of you sound a bit too wrapped up in the sadness of it and the drama instead of taking the hard times as they come and realizing how good you have it! You all are so lucky! You have these men who you love and who love you and they may work a long day but oh my good they come home and they are safe and happy doing what they love!! You are so lucky and I feel like you don't see it or really appreciate it as much as you should. I know it's hard to look for the good and the bright side, but you have to. You have to. Life gets harder...sometimes for you and sometimes for others. You're growing to grow older and have kids and the focus will shift from longing him to have an 8-10 hour day to real problems and I fear you're not being happy and grateful now, when you should be.

My support group I mentioned is for wives of military men...mostly men who have been hurt or killed in Iraq. My husband has been gone this tour for 2 years...I've seen him 3 times during that time. I go for days and days, a few times weeks with no email or word from him. I go to bed at night not knowing if he's safe...or when me and the kids will see him..or if we will see him. I helped choose this life and I know and pray someday it will change.

I'm in no way trying to "trump" your pain. I know its all how we're built and what we can handle. But try, for me, to keep things in perspective and be happy and grateful for what you do have.

The reality of it all is that there is a need for this blog, otherwise no one would read it. We have all found comfort in the stories shared by others. I've worked very hard to make this a playful blog as well. "Chef mumbles", stories of reality chef TV, silly anecdotes, and links to other food related articles make this blog fun, too. As you can see I'm feeling very defensive because I feel attacked by Rachel. I can't imagine what her life is like married to a man who is on tour in Iraq let alone in the military. But unlike Rachel, I never once made my case seem worse than anyone else's. In reference to her last paragraph, in my experience, when someone says "I'm not trying to..." it means they are very much trying to (in this case trump our pain). I married a chef, she married a military man. No one is better, nothing is harder, no one is greater. We are all given struggles in our lives to overcome. Some we can handle, some we can't. It is what it is. My life is wonderful and if readers don't see how happy I am, then I guess I'm not getting that part across.

Rachel, thank you for reading my blog and commenting. I hope your husband and his fellow troops come home quickly and safely to their families and I'm sorry if you feel like I'm not grateful for my life. It must be difficult reading a blog like this in your situation so it seems like you would be much happier not reading it, though I welcome you here anytime.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Monday, July 27, 2009

Matter of Knife and Death


No tool is as useful and necessary to the chef as his knife. Before Erik was a chef I knew nothing about knives. And now, well, I still know next to nothing but I'm certainly more aware of the styles, purposes, and different types of steels used. I also know they cost a lot, but thank goodness for tax write-offs. And because of the durability of the knives, Erik doesn't need to buy a new one that often. I'd say he splurges on a new knife every 4 or 5 years, but when he does I hold my breath at the final cost. These knives are made of all kinds of crazy steel and then gone through some crazy process to make them hard as rocks so they don't come cheap. Last week Erik headed over to his favorite knife store: Korin. Chef or not, this store is worth a visit. They have the most beautiful and unique knives as well as tableware, cookbooks, and sushi bar items.

He came out with a 240 millimeter Suisin Damascus Ginsan-Ko Gyutou with and ebony and silver handle, engraved with his name, a sharpening stone, and these awesome Japanese scrubbers called Sandclean, for cleaning pots and pans. I tried them on the caked on grease on my stainless steal pots and they are spotless! And I didn't even use any cleaning products. It kind of looks like a crazy sea creature and it feels like sandpaper, but it works great!
I seemed to get sidetracked with the scrubbers, but the knives just don't excite me like they do for Erik.
Food is Love,
Hilary

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Search Party


My best friend (of the non-human form) is the Internet. I could spend all on day on a computer if I had the time. Amazon, Facebook, email, blogs, news, and all the other websites that are silly yet powerfully addicting. (cakewrecks, failblog,craigslist) Writing on this blog is therapeutic for me; I can't get enough of the Desperate Chefs' Wives. The more women who read, email, and comment give me good ideas and support. I don't know what I would have done without you ladies the last couple of weeks when Erik was working so much. But how were you all led to this unique site? I have a feeling it's mostly Google or some other search engine. I remember also searching "dating a chef" and coming up empty handed. But now the first website listed is this one and I'm so glad that others have found the blog when searching for help.

However you found me, I'm so glad you did because now we are all a little less alone.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Sunday, July 19, 2009

BBQ Road Trippin'

I came across a new blog today and I just have to share it with you since it involves a chef and his wife. Pete Daversa, the Pitmaster at one of my favorite go-to restaurants, Hill Country is going on a BBQ tour. Traveling with Pete is his wife, Kristin and dog, Marley. They're traveling to BBQ joints East of the Mississippi and writing about the sights, sounds, and food on the way.
I would love to go on a food tour with Erik, but I don't think I'd choose BBQ. I'd love to go on a burrito tour in the southwest. I'm all about cilantro, cheese, avocados, and sour cream covering a couple scoop-fulls of meat, wrapped in a soft flour tortilla. 



Don't forget, there is still time to get a free Ben & Jerry's ice cream!! CLICK HERE
Food is Love, 
Hilary


Would anyone else want to road trip it with their chef (should they have the time off)? And where would you go? What would you eat?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Creating a New Normal

Taking photos with giant veggies....this is normal.


In the movie Food Inc., there was a women who lost her young son due to E.Coli in a hamburger. She said something that stuck with me and I think we can all apply it to our lives-especially being married to chefs. She said that after losing her son, she didn't want pity. She had a hard time dealing with but she "created a new normal". Our lives aren't really normal, especially those of us who have chefs who work late nights and holidays. We don't have the lives that society says are normal so we have to accept that and normalize what we do have. A normal weekend becomes Sunday Monday, a normal Valentine's day is days before or after the actual holiday, and married mother's feel like single moms.

A commenter, Allie, wondered how I could possibly keep my mind of Erik working so much just because I'd be away in Cape Cod. Well, that's easy-that's my normal. Being without Erik is pretty normal for me, but being without him so long is really tough. Keeping busy with my own things seems to really help during times like these. This is especially true since I only see my family twice a year. (they live in Columbus, Ohio)

So, make a new normal for your life. Our lives are like no one else's and it's better to embrace what we have then focus on what we don't. And I hope I don't sound to much like an overpaid life coach, because I just want to share what helps me.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Friday, July 17, 2009

Free Wednesday

We are halfway through Erik's 2 weeks of doubles and out of the blue he had Wednesday off! I was so relieved to know that he got a break. Plus, the school was closed on Wednesday so I was home, too! Sometimes I wonder if things are going so well-what will happen next? But the fondant on the cake was that we got to see the new Harry Potter. I'm a huge fan, clearly.

Oh, and my parents and sisters are going to Cape Cod tomorrow and they're picking me up on the way. We've never been, but I can't wait to spend time with my family. I never get to see them this much. The next week gazing across the sound at Martha's Vineyard will keep my mind off the fact that Erik is working a million hours a week.


Don't forget to write a comment on my free Ben & Jerry's post. There is still time to get a free Flipped Out ice cream! I picked up mine today at Target Greatland but since they come in a two pack I'll wait until Erik gets home to have an ice cream social.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Flipped Out Giveaway!


Leave it to the forward-thinking R & D guys at Ben & Jerry's to come up with an interactive ice cream. They've created a single serving ice cream sundae in a cup. Just peel off the lid, flip it over, then let the fudge melt all over the ice cream and cookie chunks.

Want to try a pack for free? Then leave a comment with your name and email completing the following phrase: "I'm flipping for Flipped Out because....". But act quickly because only the first 35 comments will receive a coupon for a free ice cream. The treat comes in three flavors, vanilla fudge brownie, peanut butter chocolate, and chocolate cookie dough.
Check out their facebook and twitter pages.
Food is Love,
Hilary

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I Take It All Back

I miss this nonsense. 

Everything I said about being without Erik this long  and things going "swimmingly" must have been written on some sort of park and sunshine euphoric high. I take it all back, every keystroke I typed. I hate this. And this could be some sort of emotional melt down at a weak moment for me, but I just feel like this industry is such a monster. It's the meanest bad guy bogeyman that ever came out from under my bed. I'm so aggravated with the complete uuber saturation of food media-especially on the Internet. I've got half a mind to delete all my links to food websites, but I suppose they go along with the theme of this blog. 

What type of job forces someone to work 100 hours a week for two weeks in a row? Which today is the first day  of restaurant week in NYC. Oh happy day. This is insane. Hello, food industry I'm talking to you. You're a jerk! All the "fame", press and otherwise BS is not worth all of this. Not for what Erik's making. And you know, not even for millions. Because no matter what the check says, my husband is still coming home after 1 AM every night looking like a shell of a man. Chefs are feeding the world, while unknowingly being eaten alive themselves. 

It's not the being alone part that's killing me, which is what I feared before this double thing happened. I've been busy with park days, picnics, online shopping, bike rides and cooking. (Yes, I cooked: pasta with shrimp and a butter garlic lemon sauce-which tastes great but looks like old yogurt.) But I need some companionship in my life and the cats ain't doing it! I never knew how connected I was with Erik until I started feeling disconnected. Keep in mind, this is a man I've known since before he even was a man. I've been holding hands, telling secrets, and leaning on Erik for nearly 12 years. I suppose I'll never grow out of the hopelessly romantic puppy love stage. 

Now, at this point I'm worried I'm losing readers. You might be thinking, "Oh boy, she's off her rocker. I wonder what's going on at eater.com? " Don't abandon me just yet. I'm sure it's just a phase. Eventually, I'll change my facebook status from "I hate Jean Georges" to "I love my chef". I can't believe I wrote that I hate JG. It's amazing how fast our moods can make us do such silly things. Speaking of silly things I've suddenly got the urge to spend money. This is so unlike me. I'm working (quite hard in therapy actually) to convince myself that I do deserve new things. Like last week, I saw this AMAZING Tory Burch "thalie" tote with a gold chain in the 33% off rack at Saks AND it had already been marked down 33%. I convinced myself not to get it, went home, then came back a couple days later with all he will in the world to spend a couple hundred on a purse, and sure enough it wasn't there. If that wasn't God rolling his eyes saying, "shoulda coulda" to me, then I don't know anything. It's like I know I'm getting the crap of a bad deal and buying something might redeem some of this nightmare. 

Back to the lecture at hand: I'm miserable. But tomorrow will be better. I already feel better talking about this hell week. 

It's 9:33 and I at least have a plan. I'm going to put on my pajamas, start my new book since I finished The Julie/Julia project and LOVED it. (inspired to make previously mentioned lumpy garlic butter sauce.)

Food is Love, 
Hilary 

Pom Wonderful

You've probably seen the cute bubble shaped red bottles in the grocery store-but have you ever tasted Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice? I never had until Pom sent me a case to try. Now, I know there has been recent controversy on bloggers being paid to write seemingly honest reviews of products. So let me preface this by saying that I wasn't given monetary payment to write this. In addition, I've been sent other products to try and write about, but I'm not a reviewer and I only post about things I think are valuable and enjoyable to my readers.

First of all, I'm not usually a juice drinker. Yea, milk, water, and yes-soda. But I've found that I have to water down most juices so the sweetness doesn't knock me over and rot my teeth instantly. Pom Wonderful is 100% pomegranate juice and the only brand that guarantees that. Along with that, there are no added sugars, preservatives, colors, or fillers. Just the juice. 

Pom Wonderful tastes like you're eating the actual fruit. And we all know drinking pomegranate juice is much, much easier than wrestling with the seed-filled fruit ending up covering in red juice. It's like the juice is being sincere with me, "Here I am, full of antioxidant goodness, go ahead and drink me and live long and prosper." Pure and authentic. It's a bit pricey but healthy and delicious don't always come cheap and after all, aren't we worth it?

Food is Love, 
Hilary

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bikes, Beaches, and Better Days

I'm blogging from Newport Beach- grass, no sand- and though it took me a bit to log on, I'm typing away like a teenage text addict on this iPhone. Normally this time of the week I'd be excited to see Erik tomorrow scheming away at all the errands and dinners we'd have. But as you know, he's working doubles til what feels like forever. And so far I've been handling it swimmingly! I just took the last bite of a reduced fat triscuit snack with 10 month aged Vermont chedder cheese. I'm catching some sun and about to dive back into the biography Julie and Julia. I've been riding my bike a lot more too. I forgot how simply relaxing a bike ride can be. You never  know your town until you've traveled it by bicycle.

But I still can't help feeling bad for Erik. It's hard to see him this tired. He's not even himself really. He gets in at 1:30 just to leave at 9. I
I think we both need a new normal, this isn't working.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Friday, July 10, 2009

Little Bro

My younger brother, Christofori and his girlfriend are coming into town. They stopped in Boston first for college orientation; Chris is going to Northeastern. I love when people come into town. It gives me a chance to do silly touristy things. I would never have the chance to get together with my friends and go to the Top of the Rock or take a ferry ride. But also, I get a chance to show off some of my favorite places in Manhattan, which of course includes Perry St. I love sending family members to Perry St, but even more than that I love taking them there myself. I could eat my husband's food all day long. Since Chris is 20, and he's eaten at Perry before, I'll let him and his girlfriend have a romantic night alone.

AND! The PATH train which takes my husband and I under the Hudson River to NY is getting all new train cars. Finally! It's the little things that really make the day to day special.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tip of the Iceburg

Since we were in Columbus last week my mom brought up a topic that she brings up often when she's around Erik. She starts off calm but ends up heated and yelling about the inequalities of the restaurant industry. She believes that chefs should be tipped or included in the tip pool. But as someone...I wonder who...wrote years ago into the laws of most states, only service staff gets included in the tip pool; it is illegal for managers to get tips.

I knew a couple that used to tip for service and also send cash back to the kitchen to show their favorite cooks and chefs some love. I've bought beers for the guys at Perry St and I think they liked that enough.

Sure, I get it that waitstaff deserves tips, after all they only get paid a couple dollars an hour and they slave over unruly diners. But what about the chefs and cooks? Some servers make more money than the cooks who put in twice as many hours. Shouln't they get tipped? Are they not also performing a service like a barber, cab driver, or hotel maid? They are technically in the food service industry. I don't know the answer to this. It would be great if my husband got tips on top of his salary but knowing this brutal industry his pay would be decreased to $10,000 before that would ever happen. Heaven forbid chefs would actually make what they are worth. Or teachers for that matter, but that's another blog.

Food is Love,
Hilary

PS It's day one of Erik's doubles. AHH! I'll be busy til Thursday with work, then Friday my brother and his girlfriend are coming into town. Yay! Plus, Erik and I just got our bikes from Ohio so I'll be riding bikes next week. I'll be busy enough!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Gun Control

To prepare for Erik's 17 day double schedule, which starts next week, we are spending a week in Columbus, Ohio with my family. Erik hasn't been out here for a while so it means a lot to me that he's spending time with my family and I on his vacation. Yes, he does get two weeks vacation  each year, though not allowed in a row. Week one was Italy and week two is Ohio. I know, the two can't compare-but family is family. 

There is a target range only minutes from my parents house so Erik and my brother went to shoot. Erik had  never fired a gun. Oh I wish he never went. He's been twice now and he is convinced he needs a gun to "protect our family". Are you kidding? I know that anything can happen to anyone-but we live in a condo building on the 20th floor. Oh, whatever-that's besides the point. Guns are dangerous! I don't want one anywhere near me! I know all about gun safety but so do a lot of people who got themselves or their children killed. 

That's only the first reason why I think guns in my house are a bad idea. There would be a lot of expenses for this thing. The permit, the gun, the lock box, the ammo, and WAIT there's more! (Picture me sounding like Billy Mays-rest his soul) Erik found a target range blocks from our house in Jersey City and now he wants to practice more so there are more fees involved like renting the stall, protective eye wear and headphones, and targets. Plus, he'll probably want to join the NRA! How many times have we both watched Bowling for Columbine? We own it for Pete's sake! You see, my husband likes toys. He likes spending money on toys. And like most "children" they eventually get bored with their toys.  I'm worried he'll get bored with shooting, but of course AFTER the money is all spent on the products. 
 

What is a wife to do? Do any of your husband's own guns? Help me have some peace of mind, please. 


And thank you to all the lovely wives who gave words of wisdom and support regarding my chef's 17 day binge of working. I really appreciate your advice and I'm looking into a dance class to occupy my time. Perhaps, Bollywood dancing...

Food is Love, 
Hilary

Friday, June 26, 2009

I'm Not Perfect!

It has been two years this month that I started The Desperate Chefs' Wives blog and I am so pleased with where it has taken me. I used to be such a grouchy, angry chefwife and I thought my life was something terrible. Well, after meeting other women who have the same life I realized that I can either be miserable or create a new normal. My new normal is that my husband works nights, weekends, and holidays and that's it. Period. I've accepted it. BUT. I'm still not perfect.

My husband's sous chef is taking two weeks off in July to get married. So Erik has to work 17 doubles in a row-no weekends. I'm so livid with this whole situation. I'm angry that there is no one else who can help my husband at the restaurant and I'm annoyed that I have to deal with an overworked-underpaid chef for 17 days in a row.

Last night, Erik was asking me why can't I just be supportive, like I usually am? I don't know. Perhaps it's because I'm not perfect. I can only smile so much, blog so many times, spend time alone so many nights before it all catches up to me. Erik might as well be on another planet for 17 days because there is no way I'll ever see him. He'll leave every day at 9 and get home at 1 AM or later. On top of that, I only work part-time at the school in the summer so I don't have many work things to occupy my time. I just don't think I'm going to be able to handle it this time.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chef Mumbles

Where am I? Am I blending whipped cream?

No. You're sleeping... in a bed... on the 20th floor... in Jersey City.

I need nice, soft peaks for this whipped cream.

Whatever.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Monday, June 22, 2009

Life-Changing

Food Inc, How Industrial Food is Making us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer-And What You Can Do About It!
I saw Food Inc tonight and it was one of the most powerful movies I've ever seen. I can honestly say it has already changed my life. I went grocery shopping immediately after leaving the theatre and the purchases I made reflected my new outlook on food. I only bought in season produce, no hormone and no antibiotic milk, and I checked to see where products came from. (the closer the better)

I highly recommend this film to anyone who does the following activities:

1. eating

Seriously, folks I can't push this film hard enough on you. There are so many thing hidden from the general public about food and food safety and its time we all see the truth. It's too bad that Obama is out fixing the world from the economic crisis, otherwise he could focus his energies on trust busting the major food companies that dictate the food industry.

I could preach all day, but the movie will do a much better job. Get out there and see it, you won't regret it. The tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes shows Food Inc. at 96%. And no, this movie doesn't show more than a couple graphic slaughterhouse scenes. It won't change you into a vegetarian either, but this movie will make you a more informed shopper. I didn't know how ignorant I was to the origins of my chicken breasts or batteries.

Check out the blog: Hungry for Change

Click here to see if the movie is playing near you.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Days Off or Off Days

Sundays are great. The chef and I both relax, eat out, go for walks, and whatever else we feel up to. But Mondays, rainy days and Mondays always get me down. I love coming home from work and seeing Erik actually spending an evening with my husband. But since he spends Mondays sleeping off the week the second I get in the door he wants to go out. I need a couple minutes to check emails, change, and SIT DOWN. I know he wants me to be excited and ready to take on the world, but I just can't. But I guess it's no big deal since I don't work Mondays during the summer. Two days in a row from now until September, like a normal people.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Chef Mumbles

Did we have a cheese sandwich making contest last night?

No.

Yes we did.

No, we didn't.

YES! We both made cheese sandwiches.


The sad part about this conversation is that the chef was awake. I can't wait to find the results of this sleep test Sunday. On the information packet we had to fill out there was a section to mark things that happen in the night. "Talking during sleeping" was checked off faster than anything else.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Friday, June 12, 2009

Don't Steal My Chef

I know there are misconceptions out there about the glamorous lives of chefs, but I've had another first hand experience with someone thinking my husband is some sort of "perfect husband". Spare me.

Erik needs to take a sleep test this week and the woman at the sleep center who is setting everything up for us is so sweet. At first she only said, "I'm sure your husband won't even eat the free breakfast we offer, since he's a chef". Free breakfast? He'll take two! Then last night when Erik was talking to her she joked that the only reason I was staying overnight with Erik was so that I could make sure no one would steal my chefhusband. I'm actually going for moral support, but she's one of the many who see an alluring lifestyle that chefs lead. And to be completely honest with you, I fall victim to it as well.

Although I know first hand of the non-classy and non-exciting parts of being married to a chef I seem to think that the big wig chefs like Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Thomas Keller, and the like have incredibly desirable lives all equipped with long vacations on French beaches and smart parties on yachts. I suppose the grass always seems greener even when you know first hand that it's not.

Food is Love,
Hilary

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Feed the Kids


A well known chef recently told me that his daughter only eats food that is white in color. I know how picky kids can be, but how do chefs react to that? Do your chefhusbands cook kid -friendly meals like PB & J and mac and cheese or are your children exposed to premium cuts of beef, caviar, and oysters? I don't know how Erik will cook for our children someday. He'll probably cook normal kid food but also expose them to a new and exotic foods.

Food is Love
Hilary

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Wok and Roll


I'm not much a pin wearer, but for the sake of humor, I'd boast this bad boy on my lapel. 

Food is Love, 
Hilary

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Food, Inc.



When I was in college I read Fast Food Nation for my political science class and I became a vegetarian immediately after finishing the last pages of the book. I wrote at least three term papers on the deceitful nature of the fast food industry and its negative impacts on children. My altered diet lasted only one year, and the Peta stickers faded off my car, but the loathing of all things fast food seemed to burn into my brain. I do love fast food though- it tastes great-but I hate the way the big companies brainwash people into believing certain things are healthy, or even edible!

Tony Bordain wrote Kitchen Confidential giving a clear view into the underbelly of NYC's culinary industry and Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation did the same for the fast food industry. After reading that book you'll think twice about fast food. Not only will it shock and disgust you but the history of fast food is charming one that eventually turned rancid. Fast Food Nation was made into a movie that Hollywood ruined with cheesy characters and a love interest. It should have been a documentary. Michael Moore would have been great at that.

Writer Eric Schlosser must have been disappointed in the movie too since he's been working collaboratively on another film: Food, Inc.
"Filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that's been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, insecticide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of e coli--the harmful bacteria that cause illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield Farms' Gary Hirschberg and
Polyface Farms' Joe Salatin, "Food, Inc." reveals surprising--and often shocking truths--about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here. "


Care to read the book before you see the movie?

Food, Inc. opens in LA and NYC on June 12. For tickets visit MovieTickets.com.

Just from watching the trailer I'm convinced. I'll be making some serious changes at the grocery store. And I hope this movie changes the way other people shop for food. We do have the power to change the large companies; each item we buy at the store is a vote. What will you vote for?

Food is Love,
Hilary

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Any Regrets?


If I only knew back then...


A reader recently asked me if I could do everything over again would I run? As in run from the my chef like she's tempted to do now knowing what we all know. There is no way I would ever change anything. It would take all the powers in the world to tear me away from my perfectly imperfect life. I can't stand the time my chef is away at work, but it's the life I lead and I'm not going anywhere. A life with a 9-5 husband would certainly lend to more quality time, but there would be other problems. There always is. I believe we are challenged each day in life only enough that we can handle it while still learning something at the same time. I'm challenged everyday, any more than this and I'd be done for, any less and my life would be boring.





Food is Love,
Hilary

Monday, June 1, 2009

Graduation Weekend!


Chris, David, Christina, Camar, Me, Cosette

I wish I could have been writing more this weekend, but I'm in Ohio right now celebrating my sister's high school graduation. Only one more sibling to graduate! We celebrated down on our Uncle's farm where our cousin, James also graduated. I'm flying home tonight and I can't wait because even a few days without my chef seems like forever. I'll be blogging soon again, I promise! 

Food is Love, 
Hilary