I worked on restaurant lines for the most of the past 18 years. During that time I’ve lost a parent, two siblings who were in their forties, and my ex-wife and mother of my oldest child to cancer and helped carry too many caskets of family and friends out of churches. I’ve divorced and remarried. I’ve opened two restaurants, one by myself. I’ve watched my wife give birth twice. I have sat in waiting rooms while one of my children was having major surgery on more than one occasion. I waited while my youngest daughter lay listless in a hospital bed for eight days with an unidentified illness. I’ve visited my oldest daughter every day for three months while she was in the neonatal ICU after being born at 2 lbs. 18 years was enough, with all life has thrown at me to add to the emotional pressure of the restaurant business, I knew it was time to quit.
Shrimp is over-rated.
Keep in mind the physical toll life has taken on my body. What many of you people with nothing better to do than read my goofy little blog don’t know is that I was a highly competitive long distance runner through college and for about 12 years after. I averaged 70, often hard, training miles per week for a solid 12 years. That includes peeking out at 100-120 miles a lot of weeks, and a lot of hard competitive racing. So, I’m looking at a good 30+ years of a physically demanding way of life. I’ve had 2 hernia surgeries, a bunion surgery, and heel spur surgery within the last 5 years, so before I completely fell apart, I thought it best to quit.
Rather than fitting our lives around our jobs, wouldn’t it be great if we could fit our jobs around our lives?
So, I’ve retired from the restaurant life, what now?.
As most of you reading this know, I have started a business called The Yawning Duck Culinary Services. I direct you to the Facebook page since our website, www.yawningduck.com is a work in progress, and I promise to have it done soon.
When asked by my lovely wife what I was thinking about doing over the 4th of July weekend, I said we should have a bbq, byob, and invite the neighborhood. She was surprised, because as she put it, “You’re not very friendly.” She also pointed out that most people already have plans. “Perfect! Most people won’t come, and we still get credit for the invitation.”
I have teamed up, so to speak, with Serendipity Cooking and Arts Studio in Saratoga as a place to hold some events and do some cooking. I have been known to serve some great beer-friendly food at Rare Form Brewing Company in Troy, I’ll be at The Cheese Traveler this summer for a couple of their Friday Night Cookouts, and I should start doing some events at Great Flats Brewing in Schenectady soon. These are all fun. What I like doing the most is going to people’s homes and cooking for them and their guests. The Yawning Duck personalized dinner parties are not to be out done. If you’ve ever wanted to entertain at home while also being a guest at the party, then I’m the guy that can make that happen. And, no, you won’t be left with doing the dishes.
One of the things I’m loving right now is getting to know my family. That seems like an odd statement. I mean, I live with these people, and have been living with them for some time. Too often working in an industry that takes up a great deal of your time and energy, especially the nights and the weekends, and being so tired on your day off it’s hard to do many of the things that 9-5ers take for granted. I’ve been cooking dinner and eating with everyone around the table almost nightly for a few weeks now and I’ve got to ask, what the Hell have I been thinking all these years?
Tomorrow I start another detox diet, 10 days, perhaps more. I’m also going to go 30 days alcohol free.
I’m not sure where The Yawning Duck is going to fly, but I know what I’m capable of without the restrictions of any ownership uneducated in the ways of food and the culinary arts. For the first time in many, many years I am without an employer that lacks any quality experience in this field. As the Yawning Duck, I can cook like I have not cooked in a long time, if ever. I look forward to exploring what I can do, and I’m so proud to have Jennifer and Theresa as partners.