My food story...kind of about food.
Last night I was at the Louisiana Marathon and did an interview with Peggy from Meanwhile at Cafe Du Monde. It’s a show about food stories where you are asked to tell some sort of clever anecdotal story about food and how it has been a big impact in your life. I’m not sure she got what she was looking for.
I have worked in the food service industry in some form or fashion for 26 years. From waiting tables to cleaning barf in the bathroom, I’ve done it all. I’ve opened and closed as many stores as I now have open and along the way, made lifelong friends.
Like most things in my life and despite my deep involvement in the restaurant business, I’ve never really felt a part of it in a way that some people do. I’ve worked the hours but it’s not my badge of definition. Though I come up with recipes and I run the kitchen, I’ll never call myself a chef. Weird.
My food story, like any 26 year stretch is complicated and has taken many forms. From years working as a waiter and being the front house manager at the Chimes, to food truck adventures, to helping design a POS interface, I have done a ton of different things. One thing that all “food” people will tell you is that once it’s in your blood, you’re stuck. It’s like being a heroin addict. Except not. Except that you may wind up on heroin. Thankfully I avoided all that.
The most recent 20 years likely is more the current me you know and really is less about food than it is about living big, racing, eating some, and trying to build a brand that represents me in all it’s forms.
I left The Chimes in 2000 to start a personal chef service. Essentially, I was doing fancy meal prep for people in their homes. I would prep a menu, shop and then cook, package and clean in the home of the client. During this time I also started training for triathlons.
After a year or so of struggling to make it work, I started my first restaurant, Rocket Fajitas, in the Main St. Market. It was essentially a healthier Chipotle. The first FRESHJUNKIE is still located in this location. I won’t go into all of the locations and restaurants I have been involved in, but it’s a lot. What I will say is as the years went by, the racing, the training, the race production, and overlapping of things became my “food story,’ with food playing just a role into what defines my “brand”
Food led to me meeting bandmates, food let me to starting healthy restaurants, and food led to FRESHJUNKIE Racing, which now puts on the best races in the country. Bizarre, but true.
I finished the show last night with a thanks to all the people I have met and known through the restaurant industry. I love seeing friends from the past run with us and do our tri’s and love equally all of the new friends I have made as “healthier me”. I am lucky to actually get to hang with all of them.
The largest irony of all this is that really, I don’t like food that much. Surprise surprise.
Back to marathon stuffs….