i’m still here

It’s been awhile since I had a chance to write, and I feel super guilty about it.  I haven’t forgotten about you, but my life is moving so quickly I can barely keep up.  When I sit and reflect about what might be interesting to know about my craziness, I land on the fact that maybe it really isn’t that interesting.  

Either way, here’s an update on what’s happening these days…in case you missed me!

I just finished the Spring/Summer menu, late as always.  Kicking myself as always. My only saving salvation from beating myself up hardcore is that this menu will be moving with us to our new location mid-summer, with tweaks of course.  The pressure of just that fact is enough to put any passionate chef over the edge. This menu is important. Maybe the most important of my career thus far, and there are so many reasons why.  We’ll save those for later. It will launch in a couple of weeks, and frying my nerves for sure.

If that wasn’t enough shuffle, I changed my way of eating, again.  After following a keto lifestyle for three months, initially mostly a means of r&d for menu development, items quickly morphed into a nutrition experiment on my body.  My goal has been to find what feels best. I know that seems simple and dumb, but it’s true. I need something sustainable. Something that will help me have a strong, consistent level of energy both physically and mentally while also continuing to work on feeling strong and happy with my body.  I know what’s coming. I know it will require me to be on the money seven days a week, open to close….at least for a while. A good while I’m sure. No beach passes needed this summer. The only tan I’ll be receiving is a fake one from a wood fired pizza oven. I need to feel my best to conquer all that, and no one can make that happen but me.  

Simultaneously, training and evaluating of every line cook, prep cook  and dish beast on my team began a solid three months ago as well. We’ve replaced two dishwashers and made them prep cooks.  This allowed two seasoned prep cooks to train on the line and hone their a la carte skills. As a full team, we’ve cross-trained stations each and every week, pushing everyone outside of their comforts zones for sure….but that’s what we all need.  We’ve hired some new talent and helped them to settle into the Blackie’s family vibe, which, believe it or not, is a big part of long-term success and staying power. Often more than money ever can be. I’ve been grooming a soon to be, new sous chef for six months now. Day in and day out.  Explaining everything in monotonous detail. Observing not only her skill on the line, but also her ability to connect and lead a team…remembering to give her all the feedback possible so she can give it her all and have self awareness. All great stuff that will be key as we evolve. However, it has also consumed my brain with yet more details and projects.

My time has also been spent in lots of meetings and planning conversations.  The home office looks like my locker did in high school. Colored post-its, legal pads, sharpies, highlighters, food magazines….and the occasional snack wrapper.  So much so that J.I. let it go as long as possible, but snuck in a question just last night about the status of the office “returning to normal”. It might never, honestly.  

I’m happy to report I’ve maintained my gym routine and even added a cardio circuit session.  I’m much better as a human when I don’t let this fall off. It really has kept me sane. Well mostly, anyway.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this new chance, start, opportunity…whatever you’re comfortable calling it.

I feel like it can’t be overlooked. There is no guarantee in life for new beginnings like this, which makes me feel even more blessed, and organically aware of bringing the best version of myself.  The chef, 20 years later. The one with lessons under her belt, memories of recipes past, dishes that were successful, nights I’m not proud of, and of course the memories I’ve made with lots of special people who have colored my life and made my journey fulfilling.  

I owe so much to my mentors. They took me under their wings and continue to.  

I can’t let them down.  

I won’t let myself down.

So, if you’re wondering…

I’m still here.

I’m busy working on the best version I can be, so I can lead my team to success, and have a little fun along the way.

Keep an eye out.



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