March 27th, 2015 by ~ No Comments

How To See Better.

reading glasses

Years ago, a mentor said to me, “Shinn, you seem to possess a natural sense of vision.” As a college freshman of 18 years of age, I had no idea what he was talking about.  Having poor eyesight all my life, I thought maybe he was trying to help me feel better about my Coke bottle glasses, of which I was always very self-conscious.

He went on to explain to me his meaning of vision wasn’t so much about trusting in a set of physical eyes, but instead as the ability to imagine the better future, and a willingness to … more »

March 2nd, 2015 by ~ 2 Comments

The Future of Food




While we can’t live in the future, we certainly like to try and predict it.  Sports books make their money off of this basic human impulse.  But the only way of benefitting from future outcome is to lay down a researched bet and hope that your number comes up.  Regardless of how much you think you have a sure thing, betting on the future is still a gamble.

My wife and I have placed a bet on the future of food.  This bet involves a belief that our general culture will eventually shift in how it views food … more »

December 29th, 2014 by ~

Top 5 Books for 2014


The importance of consistent reading was drilled into me at a young age and it still proves to be the best source of self-development in my middle age season. Here are five books that stand out and my reason for recommending them. A couple of them were mentioned in a post last February.


Small Giants by Bo Burlingham

Every entrepreneur needs to read this book, especially when coming to a decision point about growing the business. Bo Burlingham tells the story of several companies that faced this decision and chose to grow according to their philosophy and values, and not … more »

December 18th, 2014 by ~

What we are learning

wreath and ampersand

One thing I like about the holiday season is the natural opportunity it provides for reflection and self-evaluation.  I use the time to look back over the books I’ve read and the goals that I set for the year. Since I’m inclined to this kind of analysis, I find it enlightening, sometime discouraging, but mostly invigorating as I look toward the future and make sure I’m doing what I can to ensure that it’s better than the past.

We recently completed an online survey with over 300 people responding with extremely helpful feedback about our business.  People can be more … more »

December 8th, 2014 by ~ 1 Comment

My Favorite Christmas Album

The following is a post from 2010.  Occasionally I like to repost a story that now carries new meaning.  It was a very dark time that made me ask if it was the last Christmas I might have with my bride.  Thankfully the answer to that question was no.



snow angels

I was talking with The Future the other day about Christmas music and our discussion led to bands that feel the need to make a Christmas CD and how often these kinds of albums don’t seem to measure up to anything else the band had recorded.I asked him if … more »

November 13th, 2014 by ~ 3 Comments

A Funny Thing Happened at Work Today…

liquor license

I can laugh about it now, but it wasn’t very funny at the time.

A couple of weeks ago, on a football Saturday, we were preparing for the day as usual; extra beer on ice, sufficient Bloody Mary mix, making sure everything was in place for the rush that lie ahead.  About 8:15am, an employee handed me the phone, indicating it was a police officer.

“This is Officer Chamberlain.  I’m calling to inform you that your liquor license has expired and if you sell alcohol today, you will be out of compliance.”

I replied, “Yes, I know.  I renewed it … more »

September 29th, 2014 by ~ 1 Comment

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 ~ 1 Comment

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:



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


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 ~ 1 Comment

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 »