• A friend of mine sent me a proposal for a restaurant. He wants me to look over it and give him my opinion.  I won’t go into detail on the project, because it hasn’t been pitched yet. However, the prospect of looking it over brings to mind all manner of tasks I’ve been presented in the past.

    When I first moved to San Francisco I was asked to put together an art lounge bar called Madrone. I spent countless hours creating recipes for a menu that never saw the light of day. I created small bites such as Asian pear with St. Agur blue cheese, spiced candied pecans and a drizzle of aged balsamic. I had a selection of paninis that melted together flavors in a way that was magnificent. I made a guacamole that rivaled any other.

    Sadly, about a month before we opened, the health department sent a different agent. This one said that unless we put high-gloss white tile behind the bar there could be no menu. The menu went in the trash.




    I was able to use my ingenuity in other ways though. I created a drink list that was at the crux of the new wave of mixologists in San Francisco. I had twenty infused vodkas including fig, dried apricot, heirloom tomato, habanero, and cucumber to name a few. There was only one other place doing infusions at the time, and their list was meger in comparison. The part I was the most proud of was my wine list. It was my first wine list creation, and I poured my heart into it. I spent three months tasting wines before we opened in an effort to produce an amazing and affordable list.

    After we opened I had three different restaurant sommeliers offer me a job. One in particular was Gary Danko, a Michelin star restaurant. I told her the hours I was keeping and that it wouldn’t be a possibility. She offered her card and said, “At the very least come taste wine with us on Tuesdays.”

    It was sad to see the high end art lounge turn into a bar that just served junk to the masses. I go back about once a year just to look and remember my accomplishment.

    So when my friend with whom I have cooked many epic meals and drank equally awesome wine came to me with a request to view his pride and joy; I was honored.

    I wanted to take this time to encourage you to pursue your lofty dreams. For they help you grow as a person and give you a sense of pride and accomplishment.