Speak Up

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Storm

I've been trying to think of the best way to write after the hurricane. In good conscience, I just can't give you a play-by-play of my situation. Compared to my neighbors, coworkers, and my Jersey City community, I was merely inconvenienced. I want to tell you about the amazing things happening all over Jersey City and New York that are building our communities back up, but I'm going to stick to one family tonight: The Langello/Bowden family. (Which is really three families, but still.)

When Hurricane Sandy was at its worst, it claimed the homes of my friends Hilary and Jimmy Bowden, as well as Jimmy's brother Chris and Tabitha Bowden, and Tabitha's sister and brother-in-law, Frank and Samantha Langello. They say terrible things come in threes; what a horrible trio of events. All three families have BEAUTIFUL children as well, God Bless them. These stories touch my heart personally because Hilary Bowden is dear, dear friend of mine. And on top of that, Frank Langello is the executive chef at NYC's Babbo. The culinary industry is a family all its own.

Babbo Ristorante is holding a fundraiser for Frank and his wife, Samantha. Delicious food for a great cause, you can't go wrong. See below for details.

If you are able to give something, please click the following links:

Donate to Jimmy and Hilary Bowden and Chris and Tabitha Bowden

Hilary Bowden's home in Staten Island. Look carefully at the line of mud, that line indicates the height of the water. 

Donate to Frank and Samantha Langello

Food is Love,

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Gift of Time

"Every weekend is so precious to us"- Erik's sincerity makes my heart ache.

We often focus on the things in our life that make us angry. The difficulties, the drama, the struggles. We spend our energy complaining about the lonely nights, lack of support, and the insane restaurant life that rubs off on our chefs. But at the end of the day, we have to make a choice about what we focus on. (Remind me of this when I'm down in the dumps)

Although Erik and I rarely get to spend time together, this lifestyle is truly all we know. The time we have is a rare gem in a mine of dirty coal. I want to spend more effort appreciating the time we have. It may be one day a week, even less on occasion, but it's our life. Erik and I are given the opportunity to relish our time together because it happens so sporadically. I think if he had a 9-5 schedule I wouldn't savor the moments we share. He wouldn't get up early so he could drop Maverik off at school. I wouldn't stay up late just to catch a few minutes with him. We wouldn't be us.

15 years ago I sat on a school bus in a band uniform accepting the beginning of something amazing. I would never have imagined the ride would be this spectacular.

Happy Anniversary, Erik

Food is Love (and today I feel full),

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Absentee Chef

Last year, Erik was traveling a lot for work. Sometimes up to a month at a time. It was really important to us both that he still be able to vote so he signed up to cast his vote via absentee ballot. Now he doesn't travel anymore for work, but works a set of hours that we are all familiar with- so he continues to vote in this way.

On his way to the mailbox he dropped his presidential absentee ballot and thought, "This absentee ballot is a metaphor for my life." 

That was incredibly sad to hear, and yet it is painfully true. He leads a double life .Chef and Erik. We talk all the time here about the things these chefs miss in life, but we rarely talk about how it affects them. I see my husband breaking down sometimes, getting overly tired, and drowning in his work. It never lasts long, but I think we should all be taking some time to consider the other side.

Food is Love,

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Rule Number 250

How could I not love Twitter after I just won $250 from Zagat!? The now household name of Zagat has once again entered its way into my house. I heard via Twitter that Zagat was holding a contest on their blog asking readers to write a new dining etiquette rule.    And I won!

If you had the chance to create a new dining etiquette rule, what would it be? No cell phones? no screaming babies? Wait for all the food to arrive before eating? No double-dipping? Let's hear what things are bugging you and what rules would squash those those irksome behaviors.

So what do I have to say to the good folks at Zagat? THANK YOU!

Food Is Love,

Here is my winning answer:

Thank you. It's as simple as those two little syllables (and eye contact, of course) One of the most basic feelings that all human beings have is the desire to be appreciated. That means a thank you to the hostess, server, bus boy, maitre'd, the chef if possible, and of course the person paying for the meal. Those two words go a long way. It's fast, painless, and free after all.

Monday, August 6, 2012

My Bad, New Show, and Birds

A few things:

First of all, I am so sorry! Perhaps blogger changed a setting or two, but  apparently there were 22 comments from you lovely ladies that I never published. Don't know how that happened. Usually they get emailed to me and I approve them on the spot. I'll have to tinker around and make sure this doesn't happen again. I can't tell you what it means every time I read "I love your blog". I love you, fabulous readers. You are the reason this blog was written.

Secondly, Thanks to a fellow chefwife, Nina. I'm watching the last episode of Whites. This BBC comedy is modeled after chef Marco Pierre White. If you like dry British humor, then 'ave a go! This mini, six episode series is currently running on hulu. I watched a couple episodes with my chef and we both agreed it was authentic. The characters are brilliant, I think you will especially love Bib. I think we are all married to him. And Kiki, well, she's just so Kiki.

Last, but certainly not least, I've joined the masses and set up a twitter account. I won't lie, I was beginning to feel left out. So since I have ...drumroll...and grand total of....TWO followers (which include my 17 year old sister and her best friend) I'd love to have you wonderful women over there. I'm still getting the hang of it all, but at least I'm at the right lunch table now.

Food is Love,

Friday, June 15, 2012


Although most of us here are married to or dating a chef I know that you all must know of single chefs. Perhaps you even have an ex boyfriend you left amicably and wish love upon them. Well, send them this way. Good luck! 
Food is Love, 

The long, demanding and anti-social hours make chefs and successful relationships a recipe for disaster. But now help is at hand thanks to a brand new TV show.
Teaming up with one of the best matchmakers in the business, the show will find the perfect partners for the nation’s single chefs.
If you’d like to meet the girl of your dreams, or just find out more, please contact Tom at chefcasting@cineflix.com
Cineflix Productions makes more than 400 hours per year of programming for US and international broadcasters, including the hit show AMERICAN PICKERS, PROPERTY BROTHERS, COLD BLOOD, WILLIAM SHATNER’S WEIRD OR WHAT, and the award-winning NAZI HUNTERS. Visit www.cineflixproductions.com for more info.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Truth About Babies

A lot of you have either recently had babies or are thinking about having children and want to know how to deal with the struggles. I'd love to shed some light on this, based only on my personal experience, well, because...that's all I know. And don't get me wrong, children are wonderful little bundles of love, but I'm not going to talk any more about that. Why? Because you've heard that crap your entire life. If you want to know all the good stuff about having kids, go watch something on the TLC channel, show up to a baby shower, or read a greeting card. I'm going to give it to you straight. Of course I'll preface this by saying I have a two year old, Maverik, who is such a wonderful piece of my life. Not just because he's lovely, but because how we work is lovely.

This seems fitting. Maverik 
Having a child is hard work. Now that's a cliche if I've ever written one. But you knew that anyways. You know they are lots of work because they have to be changed and burped and fed nonstop in the first year. They cry and they need, need, need you all day long. But that's easy; that's common knowledge. Here is what mom's don't tell you: sometimes I don't want to be with my son. Sometimes, I don't like him. If you have labeled me a bad mom by those last couple of statements, please read on. I assure you I'm a fabulous mom because I am able to acknowledge those taboo emotions that ALL MOTHERS FEEL. (And if they don't feel it, they are just not aware of it.) It's not a crazy notion either. I mean when a two year old has a tantrum because he want to screw the lid on his own sippee cup and you don't let him because that would only lead to a mess- of course you want to get away. And when it's the end of the day and he's now onto his third tantrum while you're trying to get through to the cable company, it only makes sense that a mother would not like her child in that moment. My advice: if you want to have kids, or already do, then be honest with yourself. Kids wreck your body, your paycheck, your house and your love life. They get sick and force you to take off work. (you KNOW a chef isn't going to miss a day of work) Then you've got the guilt to deal with. Guilt for being a mom and not joining your friends for dinner when no sitter is to be found. Guilt at work for taking sick days for the baby. And of course the guilt for your own child because you aren't there every two minutes for them. Guilt that you can't give them everything you'd like. Guilt when you get mad and raise your voice. Guilt.

The other thing mom's don't really talk about it the emotional work that children require. Of course as a chefs' wives you know you'll be doing 95% of the babywork. But that work isn't just diapers, cleaning, cooking, laundry, doctor's appointments, park visits, googling what that rash is, baby-proofing, planning birthday parties, taking/uploading/editing/ordering pictures, picking up medicine, administering medicine, taking temperatures, disciplining, building towers, reading books, giving baths, applying Desitin....I'm sure you get the picture.

The most exhausting part of being a mother for me is the emotion behind all of the above. For instance, taking Maverik to the doctor is work enough, but before any of that has to happen, I have to first realize he's sick, then decide if he needs to go or not, make an appointment, make sure I've got cash to pay the copay, and take off work is needed. Because of Erik's hours he literally isn't able to do any of those things. But I would feel so much better if he were there by my side reassuring me that Maverik is just a little sick and doesn't need to go or cleaning up vomit instead of me. I mean it would be a miracle if I came home and Erik told me Maverik was sick and that he took care of all of this- because that's how it is for the chefs. They don't even have to WORRY about the children, because mommy takes care of the work and and worry. 

This is something that Erik and I are constantly working on. I'd absolutely love if Erik came to me and said, "We should start planning for Maverik's birthday party," or "I think he's due for a check up soon, can I take care of that?" It may seem insignificant, but the emotional work behind being a mother is a heavy load to carry.

I hope I didn't scare anyone into a childless life, but I guess I just want everyone else to be as informed as I was about children. If you do choose to have children, I want you to be as happy as I am because you are not afraid to say, "I need a break".

Food is Love,

Monday, June 4, 2012

Six Days Suck

We have played a career tug of war between 5 and 6 day work weeks. We're losing right now to a six day work week and it really sucks. I get caught up in doing more to keep this house sailing straight because I feel bad that Erik doesn't have time. But then I get resentful that I'm working so hard at work and then at home. No breaks. He's doing nothing. Nothing. And I have this terrible condition that makes every request I present to Erik sound nagging. No cure. Debilitating really. So sad.

What's a wife to do? I mean I went away for the weekend and came home to hardly any food in the fridge, no bags replaced in the garbage, a dirty litter box, a giant pile of unopened mail, and the laundry half done. I struggle between leaving these things out (which they are currently) or letting my own OCD take over and cleaning up. After all, I'm the one who lives here more than Erik. He pretty much just lays his head here. What does he care if the fountain outside is getting grimy, or the floor needs mopped.

Do I want Erik off for the 6th day so I can spend more time with him, or start holding him accountable for more work? Both.

Ugh...I hate the word vent. But there, I sure did.

Food is Love,

People, They're the Worst

I don't get people. I'm sure she's a lovely woman and fabulous blogger. But something about the name The Not So Desperate Chef Wife seems insulting. Or is it? I mean, I'm not desperate. It was originally a play on words for a show I never watched. Would The Desperate Housewives be insulted that I changed their name? Hmm... I guess I'm not insulted after all. According to some illogical adage, I should feel flattered. In a way, I do. But if you get inspiration from someone, giving credit where credit is due is always courteous. A link would due. I'll give her a link.  It's what I do. 

Food is Love, 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Forgot To Tell You

Ok, so maybe I didn't really forget. I actually battled on both opposing front lines of "I should" and "I shouldn't". But after a long bloody battle, I've decided it's really only 5% bragging, not sure what the other 95% is, but here I am sharing anyways.

Erik was honored by Zagat as one of New York City's 30 under 30. We are both so proud, especially to be recognized by such an influential company as Zagat. And yes, he's back at Jean Georges. It's really the only place he should be, too. I feel like we are home. Yes, we. Every change he makes, is a change I make. I adore Jean-Georges and Erik's other chef mentor, Greg Brainin. They both played and continue to play a vital role in my husband's career. I respect them both in every sense of the word. Along with Erik's new chef de cuisine position, we've certainly dug our roots deep here in New York- we close on our first house on Tuesday.
Food is Love,

Erik Battes, 28
Chef de Cuisine, Jean Georges
-By Kathleen Squires
Jean-Georges Vongerichten had his eye on this rising star since Battes first stepped into the kitchen at Jean Georges as a 19-year-old CIA extern. Battes briefly moved on to Los Angeles to work at Water Grill under chef Michael Ciramusti, but soon found himself back at Jean Georges as a line cook. A year later, he helped openPerry St., where he was eventually promoted to chef de cuisine. But Battes felt the need to spread his wings, so he flew the JGV coop once again, this time to BLT Restaurants as a corporate chef. He couldn’t resist the lure of his mentor, however, as Battes has been recently named the chef de cuisine who will lead JGV’s flagship though its spring renovation.

But We Knew All of This

I've met plenty of chefs' wives and girlfriends to know that the biggest complaint is a close tie between the lifestyle of a chef's widow and the insult of the completely opposite fantasy world that most other people think you live in.

"Your husband must cook for your every night."- no
"Your husband should go on Top Chef"- why?
"I bet you eat so well"- yeah, at other people's restaurants

Sure it's frustrating, but how can we blame the uninformed public. They have no idea what it's like to marry a chef restaurant. Well fear no more ladies, the word is getting out there. With the hype of chefmania at its peak, other wives and girlfriends are sharing the truth:

The Date Report written by this blogger Frites and Fries

Just remember who was on the scene first bringing us all together. I kid, I kid. I love all the wives. 

Food is Love, 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Cheating with his Career

Comment from a reader on Are The Wives Doomed? How can we help this lovely chefwife out? I'd love to see many comments, which would give our friend here a cornucopia of our genius. 

I am just discovering this site, and read through all these comments... and my question is: is anyone Christian and has advice on how to make it work with a chef? How do you prioritize God- then Husband- then Family... when your chef is only prioritizing CHEF??

I am married to a chef/owner- 10 years- been together for 13 years- have a almost 3 and a 4 year old- and we are all *suffering* in this lifestyle. Back in the day I was the first to say how great being with a chef was- I had so much freedom to do what I wanted and still had a man that came home every night (eventually)... but I was lying to myself to make my situation seem ok because the loneliness and being second to a career is not the way we are supposed to live our lives. Chef first is NOT natural. Now, I understand there is a lot more that goes into all of our stories... it is hard to sum it up... but I had thought we were "soul mates"...but the whole time he has been cheating on me- with his career. 

First of all, I don't see why he can't be your soul mate just because he put his career. I don't use the term often, but my chef husband is still my soul mate even though he doesn't always put me a notch above his career. If a soul mate is a person who is absolutely perfect, then they are as impossible to find as mother who doesn't guilt, or a child who doesn't cry. And as far as lying to yourself- I know about that. Read it in a book I think, because it certainly would never occur to me to lie in order to create a facade for my family and friends. And if my writing skills are lacking here I'll go ahead and say I'm being facetious. I don't blame you for doing it. It worked for you at the time, it got you through. 

Have you told your husband any of this? Does he know how you feel about it priorities vs. yours? My number advice is always the same: communicate. Tell him as directly as you can what is happening for you. If at all possible avoid yelling, criticising, blaming, or worst of all, nagging. If Tim and Nina Zagat could rate my nagging, I'd get a 30. And considering your close relationship with God, I'm sure you've already prayed about it, but what about praying together? 

I can't wait to hear what the rest of the ladies have to say. 

Food is Love, 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

So Where Are We?

I wish, I absolutely wish I had more time to blog. But as it goes, my plate is full, no pun intended. I'm teaching middle school (oh, the lovelies), running a school, house hunting, rearing a two year old, potty training a two year old, praying for chemo to kill all the cancer cells in my momma, and keeping my head above water- just barely above water. I just haven't got the time to spend blogging and again, I'd like to invite you to write a personal blog of your story: struggles and successes.

I love the way this blog brings women together and I need to keep that going.

Oh, and a bit of personal news: My husband Erik is the new Chef de Cuisine at Jean George. His first job was at jean George when he was 19. Now nearly 10 years later, he's back full circle. I couldn't be prouder, and he couldn't be prouder.

Food is Love,

Monday, January 23, 2012

Single Chef Seeking Night Owl

Dating is hard enough without the added pressure of being a chef. I received a comment today and thought I'd help this lady out by asking all of you for advice. If we put all of our genius together, we should be able to get this lady on the right track.

So my issue comes from a different part of the spectrum. I am a 29 year old female chef trying to date!! Any suggestions with this? I am trying the online dating route and everyone seems to be working when I am off and off when I am working. I am going out of my mind! There is a high percentage of chefs dating other chefs but I am not interested in dating a co-worker to keep things professional. Any help out there? 

My suggestion would be to make the most of your days off. Best case scenario, you have two days off that can be used to getting out there and meeting people. Although bars are so cliche, I wonder if there are any lounges where you live? Have you tried to ask your friend if they have single friends? And I completely agree that dating a co-worker is unprofessional, and oftentimes sticky, I do think that another chef at a different restaurant might not be a bad idea. Do you live in NY? I know a guy who may have access to several chefs...

Food is Love, 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Truth Is...

My friend Kerilyn over at Married to a Chef has asked several women to share their thoughts on the marriage-chef-children system. Take a look at what I've written.

And don't forget, Kerilyn is having a get-together in NYC this weekend for anyone who is interested in making a connection.

Food is Love,

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

NY Magazine Lifts The Veil on Fine Dining

An anonymous Per Se waiter reveals some of the most intimate and surprising details of his job. The part that touched me the most and in fact brought a tear to my eye: "There’s nothing more fun than to wait on someone who is genuinely interested in the food. You’ll get a couple that comes in, and this is their one time a year, and they’re just so happy to be at the restaurant. There was this kid blogger, he was like 16 or 17, and he had blogged about how he was saving up his allowance to come to Per Se. And he did. He came by himself and had lunch."

For other workplace 'snitch' articles from the most recent New York Magazine issue, including a teacher, a banker, a bikini waxer, an ER doctor, and many more, see here. 

Food is Love,

Friday, January 6, 2012

Pool the Wives

Kerilyn Russo of Married to a Chef is hosting a gathering of chefs' wives/girlfriends and any significant others this month.  Russo is a certified life coach with a new website geared toward supporting those who support the chefs.  Her home base is the DC area and those wives meet on a regular basis.

Saturday, January 21
Ink48 Hotel- Print Restaurant

For more information visit Married to a Chef. And don't forget to visit Kerilyn's Facebook Page. 

Hope to see you there!

Food is Love,

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Today Show with My Chef!

**Update** Erik will no longer be presenting the dishes he put together for the Today Show segment. A different chef will. yep. different chef. 

This Sunday my fabulous chef husband will be doing a segment on tailgating for The Today Show weekend edition! I think I'm more excited than he is. He'll be cooking some fabulous burgers and other tailgating goodies from the Go Burger restaurants located in Los Angeles and New York. Although I won't be on air with Erik, Maverik and I will be the exuberant pair of fans leaning on the metal gates outside. I'm not sure of the exact times of the segment, but he doesn't have the be there until 8 AM so it's sometime after that. Set your DVRs people- this is HUGE (or us at least). 

Los Angeles
6290 Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028

New York
1448 2nd Avenue
(bet. 75th and 76th Street)
New York, NY 10021

Food is Love,