When I was making a decisions to branch out of the Corner Table life that I had lived for almost 7 years, I had many mixed feelings. What was I doing? This statement rang in my head and heart as well as I heard it from a number of very close friends. Well, the one thing that gave me a moment of peace, was a man named Thomas.
I met Thomas because of his wife Lori, she impressed me with her service at an event at the Walker years ago. I approached her some time later at a Tour de Farm dinner that we did at the Walker and told her that if she ever needed a job, to give me a call. She got service. What I learned when she did call later and start to work at CT, that not only did she, but so did her very soft spoken and humble husband Thomas.
One night, Lori had some friends of hers come into the restaurant and eat, and Thomas ended up at the table and ate at CT for what I think might have been the first time. Probably, random plates of food, when he would come and pick Lori up after work, and when we talked, he kept saying “…..i used to cook, but got out of it for a number of reasons..”
If my memory severs me correct, I said something to the affect, that ….”..if he ever wanted to come and just cook, hang out here and there, he would be welcome…” I don’t know that I have ever said words more important in my professional career. He did, shortly there after start coming in and helping out, or bailing me out, more often than not. (Thank you #1)
(Thank you #2) Happened a number of times during all the TDF escapades. Sometimes it was helping at events, sometimes it was holding down the fort at CT, sometimes it was just putting up with all my chaos in the kitchen of trying to run a restaurant, cook, and well, everything else that we did in the time that he was “..just helping and hanging out..”
Back to leaving CT and then selling to Chenny and Nick. They both have years of restaurant experience and “get it” I found Chenny through the amazing Gordon. Quite simple a lovely man, that has a wealth of knowledge and well, when I told him I was looking for a server, he had his sister come in, I fed her and gushed because, damm, when you need a server, you need a server. I think she agreed to work there, before I even asked. Then along came Nick. A man who shared my love of a turntable, a glass of wine, and about 3-4 hours of talk about the industry that we are in after a 10 hour shift in that said industry. So, there you have it. A very short discussion about how the rest of the pieces happened. (as restaurants go, there is a lot more to that but, there is no turntable, bottle of wine and time to talk about it.)
Finally, when all of the conversations started to come together of me moving on and Nick and Chenny taking over the CT I went to Thomas and asked, could he do it. Could he? Hell yes he could, the real question was would he? Did he have the desire to come back into a kitchen full time. He agreed and the rest was up to Nick and Thomas. At that point, there was a bit of me that was “OK” with not driving to CT every morning.
I was ok with it because I met a very humble cook that taught me about food by just being in his presence and watching him work. He was a guy “I wanted to cook with” a guy who “got it”. A cook, that wanted to be called by his name and not a title. A cook that could make a french pastry as well as butcher a side of pork.
#3 thank you. Thomas, thank you. I am a better cook because of things you taught me, the time we talked and for carrying on what I always wanted CT to be: a great restaurant, serving great food, with great people.
Bottom line, Congratulations to Thomas, Nick and Chenny.
Keep up the good work, I might stop in one night and sit at the bar, and talk music, eat a plate, and share a glass of wine.
Photo credit goest to: Kris Hase , Courtney Perry, the last one; I took.