I batted around many titles to this post, but always ended up back at this place. I’m a lucky guy. Here’s why:
As of August 5th, I will be relocating to Nashville, TN as the chef of a new restaurant slated to open October 1. That statement alone makes me a pretty lucky guy, but that’s just the beginning.
For the past 7 years I have been able to call Hanover home again. I cooked in a beautiful house, in an incredible kitchen and was surrounded by great people. When I started my cooking career, I never thought that I would come back to Hanover; I always thought I would end up in a city or maybe even Europe so being able to come back to Hanover and share my cooking with the people of south central PA makes me a pretty lucky guy. In those 7 years I shared my life with an incredible group of people and they deserve my thanks…..meeting them and growing with them made me a lucky guy.
To The Sheppard Family: We shared a vision that food should have a distinct sense of place and you continue to execute that vision with your beef farm and the Carriage House Market. Thank you for creating and sustaining a stage where the food of our area could be showcased and providing a place where people can buy products that have been created with care by their neighbors. Local is luxury, indeed.
To Scott Robinson: I’ll never forget that first day I walked in to the kitchen at The Sheppard Mansion. I am so happy to see you cooking your ass off at Woodberry Kitchen…the best days are ahead of you, my friend. Keep your pans hot and your passion for food hotter.
To the patrons of the Sheppard Mansion: It was always my pleasure to cook for you and to showcase what I believed was a food based love letter to central PA. It makes me sad to leave this beautiful area, but energized to know that we made so many people happy through food and service. If you’re ever in Nashville, TN, please look me up!
To Kathy Glahn: One early morning not long after I arrived back in Hanover, I drove to the farmers market in the Gettysburg Square. I honestly wasn’t expecting much; I just wanted to see what was available that morning in late July. When I turned the corner, there was a stand overflowing with heirloom tomatoes and a woman behind the stand with 1,000,000 watts of energy. The Tomato Lady was born. Kathy, you have been such a positive influence on restaurants, agriculture and the way people shop for what they eat. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do.
To Beau Ramsburg: You get the award for the most understated statement in my 7 years in PA. One friday night during dinner service I get a cold call from a guy who had read about me in the local paper and says ‘I’ve got these pigs’. That guy turned out to be Beau Ramsburg and ‘those pigs’ turned out to be the most delicious pork I had ever tasted. Through the years, it has been my pleasure to use your pork, chickens, eggs and the occasional lamb from your daughter; all exceptional products. However, it is the way you go about your work that stays with me every day. The uncompromising push to create exceptional food; the creativity to look for how to do it better; the desire to show people how their food is raised. I have always maintained that if you want to be a great cook, you should start by working like a farmer. Thank you, Beau for setting the bar for us.
To The Staff of the Sheppard Mansion: We did great work, guys. I hope everyone realizes that and will look back on the time spent at the Mansion with very positive thoughts. It was amazing for me to see everyone grow seemingly before my eyes. I am so very proud not only to say that we worked together and created an amazing product day in and day out, but also even more proud to call all of you my friends.
To my wife, Karen: The past months have provided me with a great deal of time to reflect. We shared not only our personal life, but our professional life together in Hanover for the past 7 years. Sometimes, when you are in the moment, it is very difficult to take a step back and assess the big picture….the whole ‘forest for the trees’ thing. In taking the time to step back, I am very clearly able to see the impact we made, the work we did and what an important role you played, day in and day out. Thank you so very much for being by my side, all day, every day. You make me stronger and better every day.
To my parents: In life you are lucky if you can find that one parent, coach, or teacher who can provide you not only with a road map for life, but also a suggested set of directions. I have been lucky enough to have two. Two people who served as parent, coach, teacher and mentor and continue to serve as such to this day. I have been lucky to spend an incredible amount of time with my parents over the past few months and that time has been priceless. I have been able to see, undoubtedly, that I have taken bits and pieces of each them in order to make me into the cook, chef and person that I am. You see, they not only gave me a road map for life and suggested directions, but most importantly, they taught me, from personal example, how to drive the car. Thank you for everything, Mom and Dad. I wouldn’t have gotten here without you.
As you can see, I think the title works. I am indeed lucky. Thank you to everyone who reads this blog; it has been an incredible ride and I am very excited to start the next phase. Please continue to check back……I’ll be sure to post progress updates as they come available.