Speak Up

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.

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,

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,

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


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,

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,

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,