Monday, February 20, 2012

Molto Mario and my most Ballsy Decision Yet!

Disclaimer: This blog is a chronological story that outlines some of my past struggles and triumphs over the years with building a successful restaurant. If this is your first visit to my blog I suggest starting with the oldest post for a better understanding and more enjoyable read . 

My bi-polar roller coaster ride continued for years. Ups and downs, daily struggles and the almost financial ruin was felt weekly. My chef had moved on and a few others chefs came and went. Some stay for a short jaunt while others lasted a year or more. Through all of this I finally discovered a silver lining…my innate ability to taste, transform and pair flavors. I was actually quite good at it -- it came naturally.

I started spending more time dining out and experiencing the feel and concept other restaurants. I enjoyed talking with many other chefs and tasting their foods. I remained very close with my old chef and we would frequently head into Philadelphia and bounce from one restaurant to the next. Sitting at the bar having a drink or two and trying as many different plates at as our fat bellies could fit. I started to see a whole other culinary world and I was getting hooked.

I invested more time and money into my new-found interest. Each morning my day would start with a cup of Joe and a reading from my cookbook du jour.  My collection of cookbooks and my insatiable thirst for knowledge continued to grow. I needed more. I seemed to be drawn to flavors of Spain and Italy. My financial situation didn’t afford me the opportunity to travel and experience this cuisine on native land….so I turned to Mario Batali (on TV, that is). My DVR went into overdrive and I recorded every episode of Molto Mario I could find.

I would sit and watch all the different shows as much as time would permit me. I was so intrigued by Mario’s vast knowledge of Italian traditions and micro regional cuisine. I wasn’t watching for recipes as much as I was watching for a new-found understanding of how the Italian lifestyle worked and its direct correlation to the cuisine. It was my new obsession to learn as much about  Italy as I possibly could without visiting the country and Molto Mario was a wealth of knowledge crammed into a half hour.

Meanwhile, I started noticing my latest of many chefs was burning out. Now was the time. Scared shitless and not very confident I made my most ballsy decision since deciding to buy a restaurant….I was going to take over the kitchen!