I hate to burst your bubble…

…but the prettiest fruit does not always translate into the most spectacular dessert.

Let me give you a Farmer’s Market tip. Chef’s who know what they are doing realize they don’t have to buy the perfect specimen. Instead, they know to buy what tastes best. Most farmers end up having imperfect fruit at their stand due to travel, bruising, heat, etc. The problem for them is that it doesn’t look appealing to the average customer, so they can’t sell it. Find a vendor who will make a deal with you. Tell him you will stop by at the end of … more »

Remembering the process

From the archives:

Here’s the view of the old building facing south at S street. This is the reason our first bank turned us down for a loan. In their words, “It’s too far removed. There is nothing down that way that make it an appealing investment.” An entrepreneur must possess vision and belief in the idea, long before anyone else sees what you see

This view faces west inside our space. There were no west facing windows originally.

Stand in the street now and see a modern patio

The awning … more »

Three Years

I remember vividly what it felt like this week three years ago, trying to get all the I’s dotted and T’s crossed in order to get that final approval from the Health Department before we could open. There was nervous tension, but balanced by anticipated excitement. The folks in the building could smell the aroma of bread baking, but we could host no customers quite yet. We were assembling our fledgling staff, trying to present an air of confidence to them while deep inside fending off the butterflies that fluttered from the thought that we had never done … more »

The taste of summer

Summer means memories of heat, bailing hay and sweet corn. I shucked a dozen dozen of the yellow kerneled cobs yesterday. Despite the sticky hands and feathery silks all over my clothes, I still find it an enjoyable task. I hope you get to try some of the dishes we are creating with it.… more »

I’ll take another cup…

Here is one of those moments we must embrace as sustained chefs; letting the operation run according to plan.

I’ve been at it for four hours now. I have all my market shopping done. The menu is set, printed and posted. The folks down at the booth have everything they need. My chefs are stocked and churning out food that customers have already stopped to tell me how much they enjoyed their meal. So here I am with a few moments to myself to sit calmly in the eye of the vortex and watch it all develop.


It is … more »

Day 24

{how do I look?}

Karen had her second treatment on Monday and the side effects followed suit with the first week. Nausea and achy, but still in her words, manageable. Still hard for me to be an onlooker with nothing more to do than wait.

Chemo is all about waiting. For each treatment, it’s about a six hour process, with most of that time spent waiting. Waiting on the doctor, waiting on the blood work, waiting on the IV to drip. Seems like I have been in this position many times before.

I remember the process of beginning to plan … more »

…there is no place to eat breakfast downtown…

Every small business owner knows that the key to great production is great people. As our business has evolved and improved, the demand for new staff has become evident. Let me introduce you to one of our new chefs.

Allison comes to us from Augusta, ME, which is, not quite, but just about as far away from Nebraska as you can get and still be in the US. The connection is not entirely random, however. I hired her two years ago while she was living in Lincoln, but circumstances required her to move back to Maine. We stayed in touch … more »

What aspiring chefs need to know about their career

This is my office in the warm weather month, and gladly so on a beautifully mild July morning. It has all my creature comforts, such as Internet access, outdoor sound system and a cot. The surroundings I love, its the work I don’t thrive on.

I’ve been able to hire two new chefs this summer. They have already shown me why I need them on staff. The bigger our business grows, the more focused I need to be, which is to pay more attention to the restaurant as a whole, and not just on the food coming out … more »

On schedule

The eyes expect to see it in some of the normal places, like the sink, the tub drain or brush, but when it shows up in places where it shouldn’t, the brain takes note that something is not as it should be.

On the nightstand, on the ground by the car, on the kitchen counter, in the laundry room; random, subtle reminders that something not so subtle lurks nearby.

It began suddenly, on mark with the doctor’s assessment, on Monday.

This cancer is an odd disease, something akin to the bully on the playground. At times he’s just a pesky … more »

Why I write

On a small sheet of paper in my kitchen cabinet is written this quote:

“I’d come to know three outstanding American chefs, each one of whom had been cooking his entire adult life and had made people happy doing it. In fact all three of these chefs had stated that a main reason, if not the reason, they cooked was that simple; to make people happy. If they failed in this, the work was for nothing. Didn’t matter how good the technique was, how artful the food, or the personal standards they’d brought to bear on it.”

It’s from a … more »