First find your voice, not your audience

I think it might be time to take some new risks.

And it took the words of the late Anthony Bourdain to help solidify that.

I started writing as a regular practice back in 2005 when someone said I should have a weblog. I didn’t know what that was and so I looked up a few friends online that had one and I couldn’t understand why anyone would be interested in reading one-paragraph stream-of-consciousness, typo-filled rants on who I’m mad at and what I had to eat that day. I then found some other writers like Seth Godin who wrote … more »

“Hey Shinn, tell that story again…”

My dad passed away 13 years ago today. And as regular practice on this blog, I repost the eulogy I wrote and read at his funeral. It includes a story I’ve told countless times over the years. And now that story is bearing fruit in the form of young fathers with their sons, telling me how the story has influenced how they parent. I’m very thankful to my dad who valued wisdom over logic and reason, and had an ability to recognize value in the seemingly small and mundane things of day-to-day life

I repost this eulogy from time to … more »

When did you get that YOLO tattoo?

I had lost hope.

I didn’t know what it was going to take to keep going. Everything I had worked for and committed myself to had crumbled away. I had nothing to show for 10+ years of effort. Friends of mine were beginning to talk about retirement. Guys my age do that. They are making plans to finish their rat race and move into a season of life where they can begin to enjoy the fruits of their lifelong labor.

That was not going to be the case for me.

Hope was dried up. At my age, I thought I’m … more »

Hope is a Good Thing

Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

I had a math teacher in high school that told me, “Shinn, life is a series of choices. You can choose to do your work or choose to get in trouble. From there, you can choose your punishment. You can write a ten thousand word paper on the manufacturing of sulfuric acid or you can take the swats (yes, they did that back then.) Shinn, you always got choices.”

I was a smart mouth kid in high school and as a consequence, … more »

Identity and Illness

It was my own experience of being defined by my circumstances that has let me to believe that a secure sense of identity is foundational in addressing mental illness. As I understand them, mental conditions are influenced by multiple factors, none of which has an easy solution to overcome them, But I believe there is hope. There always is. This quote by N.T. Wright has reinforced my belief:

Hope is what you get when you suddenly realize that a different worldview is possible.  –NT Wright

The pain of life forced on me a limited worldview, one that was hopeless and … more »

Why every conversation with me will include the subject of identity.

I’ve become convinced that a clear understanding of personal identity is critical for well-being. It is this awareness that has helped me beat back depression and stand in a new way of thinking about myself. I will attempt to write it down in a form that will make sense and lead to a similar transformation to those that need this word.

What is identity? I define it as that picture of who I believe I am without even thinking about it. Its a subconscious orientation that governs my actions, whether good or bad. A more simple explanation. If I think … more »

How I Confronted Depression.

Hope is what you get when you suddenly realize that a different worldview is possible.  –NT Wright

Anthony Bourdain’s death this week has gotten me thinking about how to help people who suffer from depression and mental illness. I tread lightly because I know its a subject that is misunderstood, but I have decided that I will not let fear prevent me from making my best attempt to make a difference.

Over the years, I’ve been impacted by the suicide of a few I was close to. In addition to the sense of tragic loss of life and friendship, I … more »

Goodbye to a Friend I Never Met

How does a person I’ve never met have such an effect on me due to his passing away?

Last October it was Tom Petty. Yesterday it was Anthony Bourdain.

I loved the work of both of these men. Some of Petty’s songs are indelibly etched into my subconscious brain, I probably mutter them in my sleep. For Bourdain, it was more than that.

At age 40, I began to explore the world of food as I contemplated making a drastic career change into becoming a chef and opening a restaurant. Author Michael Ruhlman became my culinary instructor and through his … more »

A Moment in Time

Its been five months since we’ve closed our doors and it still feels like grieving a death in the family. It was a loss of our daily livelihood, but it was also a loss of community, of friends that we made with employees and guests, of farmers and vendors whom we rarely see now. We pick up and carry on into a new season. And with all turning of seasons, it brings something brand new. Its not certain what that will be, but I have to believe that the best is yet to come.

Someone asked me if we would … more »

Closing December 10, 2017

I am very sad to announce the closing of bread&cup.  Our last service will be brunch this Sunday, December 10, 2017.

It has been more than a labor of love over the last 10 years.  Its been our lifestyle and our identity.  I was reluctant and uncomfortable to be called chef when we first started.   Little did I know how this endeavor would shape my life, may family and countless guests.  These are dividends that are intangible, but ever so real and meaningful.

I often referred to bread&cup as the Little Restaurant That Could.  We were an unknown startup on … more »