April 11th, 2014 by ~ No Comments

The Sustained Chef

A couple of years ago I title my blog, The Sustained Chef, primarily out of the irony that chefs are engaged in.  There is an inordinate amount of talk about sustainable food, sustainable agriculture, sustainable energy and environmental practices, but when it comes to living sustainable lifestyle as a chef, we give it a blind eye and continue to brag about how many hours we put in last week.  So I made a conscious commitment to try to change that in my own day to day habits and practices.

Since that choice, it seems like I’ve been challenged daily on … more »

April 3rd, 2014 by ~ 1 Comment

How to find a good restaurant

As an avid reader, I have had to develop an unnatural impulse when it comes to collecting reading material.  The amount of books, magazines, articles, catalogs, reviews, and cookbooks that catch my attention is enormous. And it took me several years to realize that there is no way I would possibly have time to explore every one of them.  The stack just kept getting higher and higher as did my frustration level with each added resource.  I have to religiously cull through them or else get accused of being a hoarder because the pile gets too high.

Now add the … more »

March 28th, 2014 by ~ 2 Comments

Sunny Skies, Moderate Temperatures and a Bloody Mary

Every year we complain about the winter, but there does actually seem like something is different about this one.  Maybe it’s the extra dreary weather, or the deep cold temperatures we’ve experienced.  I wish I knew. If I could predict it, I’d design an app, sell it for a gazillion dollars and retire on the beach.  But that’s not likely to happen, so I should just stick to things I can observe and understand and make those work.

Business has been unusually slow this winter.  The common talk in our city is that the market has become oversaturated with new … more »

March 5th, 2014 by ~

New this Spring

Monday we launched a series of new additions and changes to our menu and operation. I’d like to outline a few of the reasons for these changes, because some of them include doing away with some items that have been around for a long time.

new bread loaves

New bread

Gone are the baguettes that we’ve made since opening.  Why take away such a staple?   By baking new sandwich style loaves, it will allow us to make sandwiches that have a softer bite and a more consistent loaf.  We are keeping and increasing production of the ciabatta loaf, as well as adding fresh … more »

February 22nd, 2014 by ~

Leaders are readers

I picked up a habit years ago based on advice given to me as a college student.

“Leaders are readers”

 These words were permanently etched into my mind, and I’ve been trying to live by them ever since.

Here are a few books that have kept me company in the early winter hours in January when the house was cold and quiet and no one else is stirring.

Small Giants by Bo Burlingham

 small-giants

This book was a huge affirmation of the choices I made to do business my way and not to just follow the standard ideas that have … more »

February 17th, 2014 by ~ 2 Comments

Blame it on the economy?

empty restaurant

Dear Entrepreneur,

It’s been a long winter this year.  You know it’s been rough when it hits 40 degrees and you think it’s a good day to grill out.  Thankfully seasons come and seasons go.  The sun always comes up.  Spring always arrives, with Hope tagging right along behind it.

Winter is always a tough season in our business.  The wind and cold keep people away and there is nothing you can do about it.  And when business is slow like this, it’s easy to fall into a slump of blame and complaint instead of thinking creatively about what you … more »

February 1st, 2014 by ~ 4 Comments

As Jack would say…

all good things must come to an end.

street sign

For the better part of two years, the process of creating Jack&June has been a labor of love for me, going from an idea and a few menu sketches to a beautiful Railyard restaurant with fantastic kitchen and service staff.  There was no way of imagining what the dynamics of the new West Haymarket Expansion would be.  They have been challenging to say the least, not to mention unpredictable at most.

more steel

It’s become clear that the concept of Jack&June as it was originally designed needs to change to adapt to the demanding … more »

January 22nd, 2014 by ~

Perception and Change

Without a doubt, the Haymarket has recently gone through a sudden metamorphosis, seemingly almost overnight.  The outer features like the Railyard and Pinnacle Bank Arena are obvious changes to the landscape, but there is another change that has simultaneously occurred.  The increase in traffic means a lack of street side parking.

As a resident of the Haymarket for six and a half years, it’s been fascinating to watch the transformation of the area from our front door step.  In those early days, our patrons could often park on the street right in front of our restaurant and walk right in.  … more »

January 3rd, 2014 by ~ 1 Comment

What to do in case of fire….

…or any other crisis for that matter.

2013 conditioned me in a Pavlovian way to dread the bleep of my smartphone, fearing that it might be yet another notification that something has broken down, hit the fan or gone wrong.  I know it’s not a good way to live, and I put at the top of my New Year’s Resolution list to learn how to keep concern from turning into worry.  When I got the text at 7:02am from my chef saying there was a fire in the restaurant and the fire department was on the scene, it was another … more »

December 23rd, 2013 by ~

No business plan survives the first customer

IMAG0158 cropped

If you’re like me, I bet you can write down a half a dozen bits of advice you’ve been given over your lifetime that you use as personal reminders over and over again.  On the top of the list is from my dad, Jack, on how he described there being more than what meets the eye.  Just when I started thinking that the other guy has it better than me, or the grass seems to be greener on the other side of the fence, he would bring me back to his hallowed statement, “Son, all that glitters is not gold; … more »