September 29th, 2014 by ~ No Comments

Turn your head and cough

Some of you know from previous writings the reason I titled my blog, The Sustained Chef.  I wanted it to remind me that sustainability is an incomplete conversation without addressing the important choices and habits of the personal life.  Am I just as concerned with the inward fruits that are borne from my lifestyle as I am with the outward fruits that I cook and serve my guests?

The essence of sustainability is asking the question, “Can we keep going this way?” It applies to how we grow our food and how we produce our energy, but it also serves … more »

September 17th, 2014 by ~ No Comments

Why Lincoln?

Nick Goodwin is posting to the Instagram page With the locals this week.  He asked me the question, “Why Lincoln?”  Here’s my answer:


 

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Why Lincoln?

We came here 24 years ago because of an invitation. We stayed because we settled.

That sentence may sound less than inspiring, but like much of the appeal of the Midwest, its meaning is deep and its significance beyond first glance.

The word settle might connote giving up or giving in.  It may bring to mind an idea of resigning and accepting second best.  Why settle in Lincoln when there are more exciting places … more »

September 12th, 2014 by ~

The Food of Fall

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Its interesting how it takes one day like today to completely change one’s outlook.  The overcast skies, damp air and cooler temperatures signal a distinct change of season.  For me it brings a little twinge of grief, knowing I’ll be forced indoors for the next several months.  I’ll be sad to lose my garden, and the yard full of flowers that I nurture.  I’ll say goodbye to the birds that fill my trees and balmy evenings enjoying the chirp of crickets and buzzing noise of locusts.

But there is a time for everything, and the turning of the season brings new pleasures … more »

August 27th, 2014 by ~

What’s ahead?

With the completion of our Market Meal season, it feels a little like summer camp is over, with all its rituals and traditions that my staff and I have come to enjoy. There were 17 Saturdays of sun up to sun down work, beginning with the pulling of the green wagon through the market, to setting the menu and prepping in the middle of a busy brunch service.  It continued with the pre-service stress of trying to get all the last details of the menu that were overlooked, briefing the staff on the uniqueness of the items for that night … more »

July 17th, 2014 by ~

Help Wanted

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You’ve obviously noticed the amount of new restaurants cropping up downtown and surrounding the arena.  This is an exciting season in Lincoln’s culinary scene. It’s good to see people willing to put their chips on the table and get in on the action.  Competition is good for everyone involved.  It’s good for the consumer by providing more choices.  But it’s also good for me as the business owner.  It forces me to stay on my game, remind myself why I am in the business and constantly push me to ensure my guest is receiving the best food and hospitality they … more »

July 4th, 2014 by ~

Free to fail = Free to succeed

Dear Entrepreneur,

If you’re at the point in your journey where you find yourself sitting in front of a banker and you hear these words, “the restaurant business is the hardest for a startup…”, it’s likely a prelude to saying why they don’t want to lend you the money.  At which point you will be faced with a choice; listen, agree and give up, or dig a little deeper to find your resolve and keep pressing toward your dream.

I’ve sat across from that desk.

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When you set out to own your own business, there are certain things you stop … more »

June 17th, 2014 by ~ 2 Comments

Why I love this band

We had the privilege of hosting and hearing my favorite band on the planet, The Elders, last Thursday. They played a show at Vega, just a block away from the restaurant, and man, was it ever a blast. Surrounded by family and friends, we danced and sang like crazy people should. If I seem overly enthusiastic and hyperbolic, here’s why.

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Four years ago I was providing care for my wife who had undergone surgery to remove a tumor attached to her right ovary. It was malignant and yes it would require extensive treatment. It was hard to wrap my head … more »

June 5th, 2014 by ~ 1 Comment

Why you should hear this band.

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It’s no revelation to say that music has the power to speak to the soul in ways much more effectively than mere words alone.  Every culture has its songs, hymns and anthems it relies on in times of celebration and mourning; for the sake of tradition as well as for the future. And there may arguably be no better example of this than the enduring and endearing music of the Irish.

What is the one overarching quality attached to the Irish? It would have to be the word, luck.  Yet if you know anything of Irish history, they are a … more »

June 1st, 2014 by ~ 3 Comments

The Little Restaurant That Could

First off, let me make it clear that I am not anti-arena

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I am referring to the story that appeared in INC magazine last week that describes the effects that the Pinnacle Bank Arena has had on our business in the last nine months.  If you have not read it, here is the link to the article, else the rest of this post may not have context.

http://www.inc.com/magazine/201406/bo-burlingham/you-can-keep-your-regular-customers-amid-change.html

As described in the story, the opening of the arena brought about some very sudden changes in the Haymarket, most of which had to do with infrastructure and parking.  Guests can recall … more »

May 5th, 2014 by ~ 1 Comment

What if….?

I make this point in presentations I give about the role the restaurant plays in the 21st century:

“Food is a final human experience that cannot be digitized. Both must be physically present to enjoy its pleasures and benefits.”

If you let that sink in a bit, you will find that in spite all our technological advancements, food is the one experience that cannot be converted into 1’s and 0’s.  We’ve coded music, art, film, communication, business transactions, and banking into digital forms of convenience and efficiency.  We’ve even reduced “friendship” to a click of a button on a … more »