“If you will it, dude, it is no dream.”
Today I was announced as one of Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs of 2013 … holy shit.
This is a moment that I’ve wondered (read: obsessed) about for close to 15 years. I can probably count on one hand the number of days over those 15 years that I haven’t thought about BNC. It is a short, distinct list, compiled by a group that has a bird’s-eye view of the American culinary landscape. And it is, as Mike Sheerin puts it, “good company to be in.”
No part of what got us here has been easy. This past year, starting with the preparation for Cochon 555 (which eventually became our bitch), hasn’t been easy. I haven’t been easy.
First and foremost, thank you to everyone at Nightwood. Thanks for making this possible. You all are the reason that the restaurant works. You guys are the heart and soul of the place. You guys are the brains and the brawn. You guys are amazing.
I can’t imagine any of this coming to be without the amazing men and women in the kitchen that I have the absolute pleasure of working with everyday. Ben, Shae, Ron, Dan, Colin, Danielle, Alex, Pedro, Mollie, Martin, Dweezil, Sarah, Smelly, Coronado, Alemi, and Katie. You guys are true professionals who know how to not take yourself too seriously. I love you guys and owe you so much. Thank you.
Thank you to John, Anna, and all of the front of the house who put up with me obsessing over this for two years … sorry, won’t happen again ;)
To Jason and Lea, Matt and Kevin — thank you for giving our “style” time to work itself out (honestly, I still don’t know what it is). I realize that the growing pains were deep, and your patience didn’t go unnoticed.
I want to say thank you to all of our past and future co-workers, even the complete boneheads (you know who you are). You all contributed to making Nightwood what it is today, and what it will eventually become … all of the stones in a path are important.
Thank you to all of the farmers who make what we do possible. Stop being late.
To the stages who never showed up. Thank you. Without you, we are, thankfully, without you.
Thanks to Rob and Allie, Jenn and David, J.P., Paul, Paul, Steph, Abra, Huston, Mike Motobike, Yoni and Jenny, Dunc, Hunter, Brady and Heather, Pandel, Mike and Pat, Poli, Thai, G.E., Merlin, Korin, Team Sawyer, Steve D., Gregger, Roberto, and all of the Chicago (and beyond) cheffy community for the love, support, and advice … I owe every one of you a lifetime of debt. Thank you.
To all of our regulars and wonderful customers, (well, maybe not the guy who got drunk and screamed at me for his soup being tepid. Danny Devito impersonator, no kidding.) — you guys are the most important part of the restaurant. Without you we have nothing. Thank you and see you soon!
To all of the chefs and business owners that I’ve worked for, and, am still learning from; to all of my friends … thank you. See, I’m not a total fuck-up!
To my parents and my pain-in-the-ass sister … I don’t know where to start. You never gave up on me. You never made me feel like I should give up on myself. I love you.
To my daughter … Daddy did something to make you proud of him.
To my wife. You’re the most wonderful woman in the world. You are absolutely nuts, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. We’ve had a crazy journey so far, and I think it’s about to get crazier. I can’t picture running toward that without your hand in mine. You’re my best friend, the love of my life, my teammate, my partner. I love you so much.
Sorry for rambling. Lotta love these days. This is crazy!!!!
Also, if you feel the need to make fun of me for this post, whiskey would be appreciated ;)