Speak Up

Saturday, December 10, 2011

8 Day Work Week

There's a common idea in our lovely little community that being a chef wife and mother is akin to being a single mother. Why is that notion so common? Because it's true! With a little work and time I think anyone can make the best of the rough situation. But what happens when your rough situation gets even rougher? 

Just when I was getting a handle on teaching and managing a middle school over 40 hours a week with a toddler at home who I never spend enough time with and a husband who gets a random "weekend" each week--BOOM. Now he's working every day. I know chefs work insane hours and days and I know my husband isn't the only chef working like  a dog, but COME ON, 7 days??! And this week, when my nearly two year old was too sick to go to school, I was the one who used up two sick days since Erik is just too important to. Some days I feel spread so thin I could just peel away like stretched silly putty. My arms would dangle and wiggle dropping the numerous bags I haul to daycare, school, the park, the doctor, the mall, and back home again at some point. And then...the Saint Jude telethon comes on and realize, after all, I am the luckiest woman in the world. 

Food is Love,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

100 Pound Meatball

It's not often that your chef comes home and asks, "How would you make a 100 pound meatball?" Now I wouldn't even begin to tackle that challenge so I just sat, stunned. A publicity event has got my chef rolling in meatballs.

Here is a photo essay of the trek a chef takes to create a 100 pound meatball. This is only the beginning- and only the TEST ball. Today is Wednesday and it won't be ready until Monday morning.

Erik and Anthony proudly showing off their supplies for the  Most Ridiculously Large Meatball ever. -BLT Steak White Plains

Anthony Micari had to heat the 30 inch bowl for it to fit into the oven. 

Chef Anthony, he's really not a small guy- just looks miniscule compared to 130 pounds of uncooked meat

It's beginning to bake. I'm reminded a certain red head who's six foot loaf of bread started out very similarly to this....

A man, proud of his massive meat mound

Food is Love, (and that meatball is made with loads of love)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I Think I'm Going to Be Sick

Ok ok, so here is another question of ethics. Can you, or rather: should you sue a restaurant if you know or even suspect that their food gave you food poisoning? I'm asking because according to TMZ, Pierce Bronson's wife, Keely, is suing R & D Kitchen in LA because she claims they gave her a severe case of food poisoning which apparently gave her serious and permanent injuries. I haven't had food poisoning in a long time but I do remember it being a horribly long and suffering week. But I just don't see this claim standing up in court. How will her highly paid lawyers prove that it was the food from k & D Specifically that made her ill? I think I just answered my own question. Have you ever suffered food poisoning from a restaurant and went back at them either with a nasty phone call or lawsuit? If I knew I ate bad clams at a certain restaurant, i'd definitely call them in hopes of preventing someone else from getting sick, but I wouldn't sue.

I just heard from TMZ that what actually happened was Keely took a bite of carrot cake with a walnut shell in it! Now this is much different than tainted clams. This walnut may have fractured her tooth. And the restaurant did offer a payout, but it was rejected. If it were me and I suffered from I would consider a careless mistake, I'd expect the restaurant to pay for any medical bills. But I have a feeling she wants much much more. We'll see how this turns out. I wonder if the pastry chef was fired. I certainly hope not. Although it appears to be a careless mistake, it doesn't seem worth losing a job over. 

Food is Love,

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Are the wives doomed?

Tonight I got a comment from a lovely wife in need of our advice. I could email her myself but why not gather the genius of us all?

I have been a chef wife for 2 years- girlfriend for 8 before that. I told myself for 10 years that life would get better & we'd have more time together, but so far it hasn't happened. For about 9 years, I was 2nd, 3rd or 4th to various things. About a year ago he left me, saying he wasn't sure he wanted to be married (and I suspect he wanted to try out life with a new waitress he connected with. He came back a few months later, asked for forgiveness, I gave it & he has made a huge effort to make things work. But now I am questioning whether or not this life is worth it. I find myself not giving 100% to our marriage & it kills me. I love him dearly & he is one of my favorite people. I feel like we're doomed. Any advice? I'm tired of spending holidays, weekends and every night alone.

Food Is Love,

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hell's Kitchen Winner Wins My Husband! Sort of.

I have a culinary guilty pleasure that I'm not above admitting. Yes, I watch Hell's Kitchen. I know that it's the trailer park version of Top Chef, but I just can't help it. Where else can you see a completely irate chef smashing cod and calling hopeless chefs donkeys? It's absolutely ridiculous but I can't help myself. And this season has proved especially intriguing because the winner receives a one year contract with BLT Steak in NYC. Yep- the winner will be working with my husband. I'm not sure yet if the prized chef will take the job and money, or just the job. It was definitely cool seeing BLT in all of the episodes and I'm glad the company was able to get so much press. BLT already has one ex-reality star working for them. Cliff from Top Chef season 2 will actually be the chef above our Hell's Kitchen alum. Interesting class of the boob tube stars.

Erik watched with me occasionally but for the most part the last thing he wants to do after working 13 hours in a kitchen is watch other people working in a kitchen.

Hell's Kitchen season 9 recently wrapped and the winner is....THIS GUY.

Paul Niedermann from Davie, FL
Looks friendly, right? 

he wasn't my first pick- I like Will from Jersey City, NJ but you never can tell with 'reality' TV. 

Food is Love, 

Monday, September 19, 2011


Ethics in the workplace isn't just a workshop you've been forced to attend. It also involves more than stealing post-its or reporting a coworker of pinching reams of paper. In the restaurant industry ethics comes down to things a bit bigger than post-its: people. Is it wrong to open a restaurant and take half the kitchen staff from your old job? On the one hand you are working to create a successful business and where else would you get the best cooks, but from your previous job? On the other hand it's unethical to recruit former coworkers. On the other, other hand (yeah things are getting freaky) how much responsibility is held by the person being recruited?

Have you or your chef walked into work to find half your cooks have jumped ship? Have you jumped ship yourself and was it worth it? Have you recruited your bosses employees and slept at night? 

I'm not sure where I stand on all of this. What about you?

Food is Love, 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I'm Ready For My Closeup

Well, not at all actually. I was approached by yet another production company that wants to make a reality show focused on the glamour and intrigue of women married to chefs. The only thing is, they don't want wives married to famous chefs- so Mrs. Batali and Mrs. Vongerichten need not apply. They want women married to chef/restaurant owners who are attending galas and leading lives similar to the ladies on the Real Housewives. I've just emailed my contact at the company saying that I don't think such wives exist. But I could be wrong. In my experience, the women married to non-famous chefs are usually working women and mothers.

When I first started this blog in 2007 I was spending my weekend at restaurants and bars all over New York. Arm in arm with two other chef's girlfriends I was having the time of life and getting loads of PX treatment at some of the best places in the city. Four years and one baby later and I'm still spending my weekends at restaurants, it's just that those restaurants are kid friendly and dinner is around 5.

Are you a Jill Zarin? Or more of a Ramona? If you are out there reading this blog and want your Real Housewives style life shown in a reality show send me a comment or email and I'll forward your information along to the production company. This company by the way is the same company that puts on Iron Chef and Iron Chef America so they are no strangers to food shows.

Just remember if you become famous...it all started here

Food is Love,

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lights, Camera, Action!!

A friend of a friend of mine is casting for a new chef competition show. So if you chef is destined for FAME then check it out. And of course please let us know if your chef decides to audition. We'd love to get behind someone we "know" and root for them!


Food is Love,

Monday, July 25, 2011

Man, I Love Her

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at a Culinary event at the Hotellerie du Quebec on July 02, 2011 in Montreal, Canada.

The stunning Catherine Middleton looks absolutely adorable in a chef coat. Most women say they love a man in uniform, well I say I love a man in a chef coat. And what's more sexy than a man in a chef coat? A woman in a chef coat. Long gone are the days of the boyfriend tee, boyfriend jeans, and boy shorts- bring on the boyfriend chef coat. 

Food is Love, 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Home Turf

I'm curious how often you eat at your chef's restaurants. I've known some chefs who absolutely loathed the idea of their wife and her friends eating in the restaurant they worked in. They were always paranoid that it would seem as if they are taking advantage of a great situation. I've also known other chefs and managers who couldn't get their wives to eat enough of their food. I think it had a lot to do with pride and being able to show off their beautiful wife to the entire restaurant, but also showing off their food to their wives and friends. Erik has always been somewhere between the two extremes. He's a bit conservative and prefers that I'm not in the dining room every weekend, but when I am in one the restaurants he goes all out. Oh yeah, he loves to be able to "blow it out" and impress me and whoever
else I'm with. I'm certainly not complaining, it's great to be treated like a restaurant rock star once in a blue moon.

Do you eat in your chefs' restaurants often? Do you feel comfortable eating there?

Food is Love,

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cooking Relay

Once in a while having a chef husband who comes home sometime after Jay Leno starts but before Jimmy Fallon ends, is quite beneficial. Last night I started a brisket going at 6 and he finished it off around midnight. I've also got a clean kitchen and a serving ready for my lunch at work. Teacher often team teach together, but I've never heard of chefs co-cookings. I think this may work more often...

Food is Love,

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fire in the Kitchen

Kitchens need fire. A perfectly controlled fire can cook the most delicious food in the world. Restaurants can't run without it. But what happens when the fire you need, the fire you love, turns on you and burns uncontrollably?

What happens when the industry that feeds you- literally- also drains you? I hate to be so vague, but I'm not in a place to share the nitty gritty details about our struggles. I can really only say that I feel helpless because I can't help Erik. I'll do my best to support him continue to pray for the best.

Food is Love

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Kimchi Chronicles

I've always referred to Marja Vongerichten as the Queen of all Chefs' wives. Jean-Georges was my husband's first boss and a serious mentor in his culinary career. I've met Marja only ones and she was too beautifully intimidating for me to say anything intelligent to. A small "hi" tumbled out of my mouth.
You two are just adorable
Marja and Jean-Georges Vongerichten

Although the Desperate Chefs' Wives reality show is a sad April fool's day joke passed, Marja has her own legit television series on PBS. Kimchi Chronicles follows Marja and several weekly guests as they explore various Korean eateries, create dishes in her Westchester kitchen, and take part in other Korean activities. I've only just caught the tail end of one episode and it's very charming. As a mother of a one-quarter Korean son I've just got to brush up on my Kimchi recipes. Maverik has eaten bon chon chicken and pickled daikon radishes- but that's the extent of his Korean cultural food knowledge.

Kimchi Chronicles airs at 4:00 PM on PBS here in New York.

Food is Love,

Friday, April 29, 2011

Can You Hear Me Now?

Trying to get a chef on the phone is like trying to get an 8:30 table at Ko on Friday night: it ain't happening. A successful day of communication would mean I get a substantial 3 minute conversation with Erik, one in which we speak in short hand in order to maximize information shared. I'm lucky if I can get Erik on the phone, so if I do I scramble to blurt out the days events and baby milestones before he cuts me off to "put out a fire". I assumed once Erik became a corporate chef, complete with business cards and a blackberry, that he's be easier to get a hold of. HA. In theory a person with two cell phones should be more attainable, but as it turns out one phone call a day is still the norm around here. people in prison get more phone time than that.

- - -  Believe it or not, Erik just called. I haven't really spoken to him all day. It was a  5 minute conversation that abruptly ended with: "Gotta go, getting on the train".  I'll take what I can get.

Food is Love,

Friday, April 15, 2011

Who Wins? Who Loses?

Without giving away too many details that really aren't mine to giveaway, Erik was given an opportunity- a fabulous opportunity to be the chef at a new restaurant.  But I am not thrilled, not at all. It would mean moving to Chicago. It's not the moving that concerns me, it's not the thought of having to find a new babysitter or house, it's  not even the thought of having to search and land a new job. The single greatest reason that I didn't say yes right away is my career here.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, the wives of chefs DO have careers. No, I don't mean hosting gala dinners or starring on a real housewives show. I mean a career. I am lucky enough to work at an amazing inner city school that is RUN BY TEACHERS. I am one of those teachers. And although I am part of a large group of teachers/administrators, and I work during the summer, late nights and even some Saturdays, I still get paid $47, 723.

But it seems that Erik thinks because I make less than him, because I'm not motivated by awards, recognition, or reviews for what I do-well it must not be that important. If I got an incredible teaching or administrative opportunity that required us to move Erik wouldn't do it. Not ever. So what is my value? How do the votes work around here? Do I get a certain percentage of votes based on my salary? Isn't everything equal? 50/50? HA, not in this world. No way. Let's not forget I moved to NY 7 years ago, transfered schools and uprooted my whole life to be with Erik. It was a great decision that afforded us both some amazing opportunities, including the job I've got now.

I'm torn about this whole thing. A marriage is a partnership of two people willing to make sacrifices for each other. So am I a bad wife for not wanting to move? Is is he a bad husband for asking me to? If we go then I'll resent him for taking away a job that gives me opportunities to grow and learn that I wouldn't find anywhere else. And if I say no, then Erik will resent me as he reads all the articles about how fabulous the new chef in Chicago is doing. Who wins? Who loses? And why does it always have to feel that way?

Sometimes it feels as if Erik is a teacher hater just like the rest of America is right now. But I know he's not. He adores what I do and he is my biggest fan. It's just that for Erik, the chef coats are gleaming a brighter white than the chalk on my board.

Food is Love,

What's My Value?

Without giving away too many details that really aren't mine to giveaway, Erik was given an opportunity- a fabulous opportunity to be the chef at a new restaurant. The reason I'm not jumping for joy? It would mean moving to Chicago. It's not the moving that concerns me, it's not the thought of having to find a new babysitter, it's  not even the thought of having to search and land a new job. The single greatest reason that I didn't say yes right away is my career.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, the wives of chefs DO have careers. No, I don't mean hosting gala dinners or starring on a real housewives show. I mean a career. I am lucky enough to work at an amazing inner city school that is RUN BY TEACHERS. I am one of those teachers. And although I am part of a large group of teachers/administrators, and I work during the summer, late nights and even some Saturdays, I still get paid $47, 723.

But it seems Erik thinks because I make less than him, because I'm not motivated  by awards, recognition, or reviews for what I do-well it must not be that important. If I got an incredible r

Saturday, April 9, 2011

To Make Up For A Few Complaints...

After all the times I've complained I figure its nice to show  one  of the wonderful sides of marriage. For Pete's sake I needed to create an entire blog to connect with  other women and commiserate about our husband's. If we don't celebrate the fabulous moments as well, then what's the point? Let's face it, there are reason- amazing reasons- that we treasure and adore the men we share our lives with.

I love you, Erik.

Food Is Love,

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What Will He Choose?

As a mother to a one-quarter Korean baby, I wanted to give Maverik the opportunity  to learn about his culture, as much as I can being a 100% caucasian mother. The first birthday is a big deal in Korean culture and one particular tradition at the big event, is the doljabi. Several objects are placed on a table or rug in front of the baby. The first two objects he picks up will be windows to his future. We set out for Maverik these interesting objects...

spool of yarn- long life

rice- abundance

baseball- athlete

money- wealth

drumstick- musician

notebook- scholar

pencil- teacher

knife- chef

What will he choose?


He picked the pencil! I can't believe he picked the pencil! In a time where teachers are being bashed left and right I don't know how I feel about him entering the classroom, but of I'd support him no matter what. he's my boy!
Just like Mommy!

but it wasn't over yet...He picked. Up. The Knife!! Wow...you should have heard the screaming from our friends, the other kids, and of course ME. WHAAAT? I joke that I'd never wish teaching or cooking upon my worst enemy, and that is partially true. But truth be told: chef, teacher, or culinary professor- Maverik will be given all the support he could possibly need- he'll need it!

Food Is Love, 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Desperate Chefs' Wives on NBC this Fall

I've always wanted this blog to be turned into a show or best selling novel, but today gave me a heart attack. This afternoon, APRIL FIRST, Erik told me about an article he saw on Eater. "Desperate Chefs' Wives" the TV show with super famous chefs' wives such as Mrs. Colicchio, Mrs. Andres, and Mrs. Bourdain.  I got nervous right away. How could they use my name? MY NAME?? At first I thought Erik was playing a cruel trick on me, but after I saw the post for myself, i went into panic mode. And all for nothing. 

THIS horrible joke-story which was meant to fool all the foodies of the interwebs fooled me, THE desperate Chef's Wife, the most. I went as far as calling my step dad to get the number of his lawyer. (He was one in litigation with Usher over his record label name) Ok, Jose Andres, you got me. I guess I should have noticed the tag line that read, "april fool's" or the fact that Conan O'Brien's wife was going to be on the show, too. 

Anyone else get it good today?? 

Food is Love, 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hear Us Roar

After doing a little web perusing I found out something very interesting...there are a generous amount of chef wife bloggers out there. I've got 17 alone on my blog role and there's probably more out there. by the way, if you know of any more chef wife bloggers- please send me the link. What does this say about us. Well, for one, blogging has become increasingly popular. I think this is due in part to the wonderful feeling of validation we feel when realizing there are others in the same boat with us. And if there are other women in the same boat- then we have more of a chance of making it through the storm safely. The old adage of "power in numbers" comes to mind. There are countless amounts of blogs in the areas of motherhood, shopping, and of course: cooking. But there is something special about our very unique group of women- which happens to include, mothers, shoppers, and cooks as well.

Also on the web, I found blogs from the wives of farmers, doctors, electricians, preachers, musicians, and  soldiers. So I guess no matter who your husband is or what he does, women have an human need to find comfort in the support of other wives. And in 2011 we may not find that support at a bridge club meeting or Wednesday night fish fry, but we find it just the same.

Food is Love,

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Stuck in Resentment

For those of you with children you probably know that they multiply the struggles already associated with being married to a chef- or anyone who works more than 40 hours a week. I've been really suffering trying to balance a home, a child, and full time job that requires more time than I have. I have guilt when I drop my son off at the babysitter's. I have guilt when I have to explain my son's needs to my job. And I always have resentment towards Erik for not being able to share in the work. 

That may seem like a bold statement, but I'm being direct and honest and I'm not telling you anything I haven't already told Erik. I've said it and read it a thousand times: having a child with a chef is like being a single mother. I've asked Erik to help more, but he only has so many hours in the day. No matter how many times we put our heads together and make new plans for dividing up the work- it never fails to fall to me. I carry the physical work as well as the emotional stress associated with a sick baby, child care, doctor visits, teething, etc. What's a woman to do?

How do you other mothers make it work? I'm unwilling to live in resentment. resentment that, in my experience, is in most marriages, not just those of over worked chefs. 

Food is Love, 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Here We Go Again

I never watched Sex in the City when it was on HBO. I was in high school passing notes to Erik and worrying about English essays- it just didn't apply to me then. But now I'm a YUPpie and new mom with a serious need to unwind and SITC has got me covered. I've been inspired with Carrie Bradshaw's smooth writing voice-I've GOT to get back on this blog! And what better day to rededicate myself a day we are all perusing the interwebs in our PJs anyways- Valentine's Day!

My inconsistent blogging was due to a lack of inspiration and not enough time to spare. But since I've finally  managed the working mother role I can spend more time writing.

Let's talk about a topic that comes up often for chefs' wives and girlfriends: Valentine's Day. Honestly, if it weren't for my friend Hilary offering to watch Maverik, Erik and I were going to ignore the holiday completely. We had a delicious lunch at Lupa on Sunday but now it's Valetine's Day and I'm sitting at home like any other Monday watching a commercial for none other than a Trojan Massager...nice.
PC: eatdrinkbetter.com

But the idea of lonely chefs's wives and girlfriends has been talked to death. Yeah, yeah, yeah we don't see our spouses on holidays and by now, many of us have either gotten used to it or just masked our pain. But what I want to know is HAS WORKING DURING THE HOLIDAYS CREATED JADED CHEFS? While we spend an extra ten minutes search the depths of our closet to find a red shirt or pink sweater, chefs all over the world are leaving for work ten minutes earlier to prepare for the holiday rush. The average person looks into a candle lit dining room on V-Day and sees pairs of lovely couples sharing a romantic evening. But a chef looks at the same dining room and sees deuces at tables waiting to be turned. There are no cupids and paper hearts on their mind. Right now every chef is praying they don't have to eighty six the Arctic Char.

Even if Valentine's Day was declared a legal holiday for chefs, would it make a difference or be to late to matter?

Food is Love,

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hefty Basics Giveaway WINNERS!

Congrats to Mami2jcn, Karin, and Chrstine! You'll receive an email from me shortly with details. Congrats again Ladies! Enjoy your plates and maybe your chefs can cook you up something tasty on them.

Food Is Love,

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hefty Basics GIVEAWAY

Although you won't normally find paper plates in my cabinets, I've come to realize even PAPER plates can be green. These new Hefty Basics are biodegradable, in-home compost friendly, and free of inks, dyes, or coatings. They even come with box top points for those with little ones at home. Hefty Basics paper plates sent me some samples and I've got FREE plates for THREE lucky readers. All you have to do is leave a comment with your email answering the following question:

Other than paper plates, what other household item would you love to turn disposable and biodegradable?

As for me, I wish baby bottles were biodegradable, they are such pain to wash!

I'll choose a winner randomly on Friday the 4th.

Good luck!

Food is Love,

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Salt Fire

On Christmas day my sister made her 'famous' cobbler. She didn't have the one my grandmother gave her so she used one she found on the internet. Whoops. She it started to overflow and drip down into the bottom of my mom's new oven. And then it caught on fire. Well, luckily for us Erik was home in Ohio with me and he rushed over to save the day. As he's asking my mom for some salt to throw on it, she screams, "I have kosher and rock".

Really mom? I guess sometimes even a fire needs just the right ingredients.

Food is Love,

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Just What the Doctor Ordered

A New York Chef Girlfriend emailed me this week asking about the health of the men who feed us. In my mind I don't pictures chefs being in tip top shape. How can they? They haven't got time to exercise. They eat an outrageous amount of butter just in the thousands of tasting spoons they pop in their mouths each day. They work 12 hour shifts on 5 hours of sleep. They consume late night fattening meals and drink like fish. Glamorous right?

These guys are overweight and underpaid. I've even learned of a very young, 29 year old chef who has type II diabetes. This is getting serious.

So is this a problem among chefs or just a problem among Americans? Is the industry taking a toll on the health of the chefs at the center of it?

Food is Love,

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year, Now Let's Get Busy!

Hi Ladies! It's 1/1/11 and a new year has begun. Thousands of kisses were shared in Times Square, champagne glasses have been emptied, and our resolutions have been made. so now let's get down to business! I was sent an email today from a chef wife in need of some advice and comforting and I know you all are just terrific at creating a supportive environment.

Let's talk about sex, baby.  Well, at least the most PG rated conversations you can water down so that we can help each other while still maintaining a professional atmosphere here. Save the details and verbal images for another time, please.

Our friend writes:
I have been dealing lately with my husband having no interest in sex. As it is finding time for Sex is nearly impossible, due to his 15 plus hour work days, but we also have a child. He walks in the door around 2:00-4:00am and of course he and I are both too tired to put out. Then on his two days off we have a 3 year old around, so the few opportunities we have to have sex now he is too tired or would rather sit on the couch and watch TV. I am the sole initiator and then he just goes through the motions. There is no passion anymore. I haven't let myself go, I still look hot and make sure to shower everynight before getting in bed, you know just incase. I tell myself that he is so stressed from work he can't perform and his libido is low, but I can't help sometimes thinking that he is getting sex somewhere else. Like at 1:00am with a hostess, waitress or food runner. I would like to know what other Chef wives sex lives are like. Especially those with kids.

I know I can't be the only one facing this problem right now.

What do you think? Is this something that eventually happens in marriage, especially POST baby? Is it a chef thing? A husband thing? A wife thing? How can the spark be kindled once again if both husband and wife are exhausted and stressed? And how should these topics be brought to the attention of our spouses? After all this isn't really easy to talk about.

By the way, something really interesting I read in this wife's email:" I divorce my husband daily in my head and then I read some posts on your site and feel better." First of all, THANK YOU. I'm honored to be helpful! A second, I really like the idea of a mental divorce. I guess I've done it before, but never really put it into those words. Clever.

Food is Love,