THE STARS HAVE FINALLY ALIGNED
People always say, "Everything happens for a reason." Until this point, I've felt this line has always been used to help people,myself included, deal with the bumps of life. It's starting to appear that, at least in my case, this adventure called "life" has been my training and schooling for doing what I have always felt has been my calling. Through the years, many things have helped me get to this point; family & friends, work experience, travel experience, fellow co-workers & managers, and my final piece. I can proudly and confidently say, MY STARS HAVE FINALLY ALIGNED!
FAMILY AND FRIENDS
My family and friends have been monumental in creating the person I am.These are attributes that I hold dear: be passionate, be genuine, be open-minded, and enjoy life. All of these attributes have been instilled in me through my family and friends.
From an early age my parents, as well as my brothers, showed me what it was like to be passionate about life. Whether it was a father who took as much pride in driving a truck as anyone did in their profession, a mother who would always make me feel like I could do anything, or brothers who pushed me to want to be great at everything!
Being genuine is an attribute that really came to the surface from my amazing friends that I developed through grade school and high school. Rick, Mark, Andrea, and other unforgettable friendships started at St. Lawrence and still continue today. Rick again, Ryan, Matt, and Mike, you are all amazing friends, fathers, and I am lucky to have had you guys around in high school and college. You all have been a wonderful example of treating others genuinely!
The idea of being open minded is not an easy attribute to develop, there needs to be a real desire. I thank you Bethany, Chazz, and San Francisco for helping me see this world with two eyes wide open.
And finally, enjoy life! No names here, but you know who you are! Sitting around the campfire with a beer not having to say a word, hitting golf balls into the ocean at 3 am in St. Thomas, drinking Cristal on the beaches of Nantucket, Veuve shots, cheese shots, SS4, vineyard hopping in Paso Robles, and sitting in the hot tub with your best friend the night after he gets married hanging out until dawn. For better or for worse, you all had a hand in creating the man I am and I love you all for that.
Most professions don't allow someone to pack up and move as often as I have, but that is exactly what the hospitality business allows. The foundation of my work experience and love for this business started in the Mitten! However, it wasn't until I started moving, that I received some special opportunities to work at some amazing restaurants/hotels and for some amazing chefs. It has been these restaurants and chefs that have elevated my love and knowledge for this business, to the crazy passion I now have! Google these people, and you will know why I have been privileged to work with these folks; Wine expert Saad Mandwee, Michelin Star Chef Greg Englehardt, Michelin Star Chef Ryan Favini, New Zealand restauranteur Tony Stewart, and the whole staff at the Sanctuary on Kiawah Island. It's from working for and with these people, that I have seen what it takes to be successful in this business and now have an extensive knowledge and path of how to get there.
It has been almost 5 years since I decided to get rid of everything but my jeep and what I could fit in it, and hop a plane for St. Thomas. With the possibility of a job and only a place to live for two weeks, I went! At that time I was lost and feeling a little defeated. I needed to shake things up, and that's exactly what happened. My travels over the past 5 years have not only led me to my final piece, but have allowed me to become a man I feel good about. A man who realizes sometimes you need to slow down and don't sweat the small stuff(thank you St. Thomas), there are places in this world that feel magical(thank you Nantucket), this country still has people with views that don't make sense to me but I have a better understanding why(thank you Nashville), that southern hospitality is a real thing(thank you Charleston), that diversity and being different is awesome and should be encouraged(thank you San Francisco), and being surrounded by grapevines is my Graceland(thank you Sonoma). There's a whole world out there people, go see it!!!
I think one of the biggest reasons I love this hospitality business is its similarities to a sports team. To be successful, you not only need to be surrounded by hard working people, who want to work together, but you also need a positive and motivating leader. I've been lucky enough to have worked alongside some awesome teammates and for some amazing managers.
Its a beautiful thing when you can pull off fine dining team service and make it look like a beautiful song; to the staff at OSFH, the Ocean Room at the Sanctuary, and Rob & Juan at Fig Nantucket, it was a pleasure!
Over the years I have worked with so many that started out co-workers and now I call friends! Anna & Ryan P., Karl, Smoker, Chazz, and many others @ Bennigan's; Gabi, Liz, and the Harvey's gang; Dave, Riian, Constantine, and the rest of the old stoners; Needham, Mikey, & Derek @ WIYC; Rebecca, Stephen, and the crew at Players, and so many others!
Lets not forget those leaders/managers. Its not an easy thing to manage in a restaurant and do it well. There have been a few that get it and have a real passion to do it right. For those of you, I have the utmost appreciation; Kara, Matthew, Ryan G, Ryan T, and of course my final piece.
THE FINAL PIECE
By reading the previous blog posts, most of you know by now that Kim and I are working on opening our own wine bar next summer (and if you haven't read them yet, you need to, Kim is an amazing writer). You have read about Kims' process to this point, but now it is time for me to pass on why I am going ahead with this venture.
Now from what you have read, I hope you can see why I might be ready. But I wasn't! I needed a piece! A piece that shared my passion for this business, that was truly genuine, that carried an open-mind, and someone that knew how to enjoy life and its process. I am blessed to have found that PIECE! Its been over 3 years since I met Kim and I have truly not had a bad day ever since.
It is with this final piece that my STARS ARE FINALLY ALIGNED! I've never felt so confident in my life. Of course, nothing is guaranteed in this business, but I put OUR passion, our genuine love for making people happy, open-mind to do whatever it takes, and our desire to bring enjoyment of life to everyone who walks through our doors, up against anybody!