Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bittersweet Wildest Dreams

Is it true you really know you are living if reality is better than your dreams?  I've always felt alive in a way.  I've always sensed the reality of my life even if I was dreaming of living on another planet or even in some of my worst moments.  However, I haven't always been able to see things clearly or exactly for what they are.  Let's just say I've, at times, had the inability to differentiate the true from the false.  Sometimes there is a part of me that thinks, "I did this," "I made this food, dish, course, menu."  Certainly I had something to do with it.  But all that thinking is only fooling myself and I wouldn't want to ruffle feathers by saying how I really think it's done.  Ok, I will sort of say.  I think it's more of a channeling than anything else.  It's like it all exists above me and is channeled through me.  And I'm alright if you now think I'm a weirdo.  I don't mind.  What I can also say is that wherever all this loveliness is sourced and how it transpires and what will be happening in the near future is and beyond my dreams.
When I began One Sister the goal was a restaurant.  I remember my first entrepreneurial endeavor.  I collected armfulls of zucchini and tomatoes from our garden.  I set up a table on our front lawn and laid them all out with a FOR SALE sign.  I think I got sidetracked, probably by an afternoon cartoon or Gilligan's Island (I loved that show) and while I stepped away, the one car that was to stop did and drove off while I was gone.  It's interesting that 23 years or so after than day, when I started my company I was doing close to the same thing, just with a touch better service.  While growing up I told my friends that someday I will have a restaurant.  Maybe it was even an intuitive inclination as I had told many people, "One day I will have a garden and grow lots of my own herbs and produce and flowers and then sell them in my front yard and at night I will invite people in to have dinner."  It's really not that much different. So yeah, I'm kind of doing that, kind of.   The location is different, certainly then I thought I would be living in the country somewhere dreamy and magical with fireflies all over the place and a cabin set deep in the woods.  I want to do that too, have a cabin in the woods and I'm saying it now as I once said I will have a restaurant so it will come true!
I began One Sister when I realized I was no longer afraid to put myself in front of people and say, "yeah, I can do this."  I didn't want to wait for some future date and time was not reversing itself.  I couldn't wait for permission either because there was no one on this planet that would have given it to me. Sometimes some people just have to show the world.  I had to prove it.  And for the most part rightly so, I don't have a cooking school degree and I don't have a long list of chefs on my resume that I had trained under.  I had certainly worked for and with some great chefs but not "trained under."  I taught myself with patience, research, watching, asking questions, working for free in the kitchens of others, ambition, fortitude and a hard head.
One Sister grew fast.  I had to keep up with her rather than her keep up with me.  I did take a couple short breaks to work in full-service restaurant kitchens to get up to speed (since it had been about 8 years) and quickly became the head of them, but it was in places that I really didn't find exciting and working for others...  I felt as if I just could not work for restaurant owners.  It was important for me to own a restaurant myself.  It was important for me not to let go of the dream I had.  Either way, within two short years even with the breaks One Sister had a product, pierogi, that reached a Best Of list.  Then within two more short years putting myself out there, the underground dining brought me to this time and place.  This bittersweet moment where One Sister ends, and Elizabeth Restaurant begins.
I wanted this to happen and while I was taking all the steps for it to happen I wasn't ever certain it would.  I have never "expected" it and while at times thought I "deserved" it, the emotion I carry with me is one more of gratitude than anything else.  I have worked my ass off to get here, a point where I will continue to work my ass off.  I have worked so that I can work and I do that because I love to create, cook, and feed people so much that it doesn't feel like work at all.  I am not striving for perfection but I am stiving for excellence, which I find in being perfectly imperfect.  Elizabeth is an extension of who I am just like my sister the human Elizabeth and I were extensions of each other.
This new dimension has opened up and it is difficult to become too afraid of or proud of the big picture, the fact that I now have Elizabeth Restaurant, because there is so much to do.  I am blinded by the daily tasks.  But before I know it there will be a moment where I relax and I'm lying in bed, blinking at the ceiling and thinking, "Holy shit!  I'm living beyond my wildest dreams."


  1. Your humility is inspiring, your cuisine is divine, and your future success is assured. Cheers to transformation and courage. Be.