Father’s Day, what a great day! Since my wife and I have both been in the restaurant industry since we were teenagers, we don’t really like to go to restaurants for occasions like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day… We would much rather relax at home and hang with the fam! As the chef in my family, most holidays involve me being volunteered to cook for everyone – even on my special day – but I don’t mind it one bit. I actually love cooking for my family and making sure everyone is happy and well fed. In fact, the more people that come over and join the party, the better. As you know, I spend a lot of time travelling and working with talented farmers, growers, suppliers and other chefs on new menu items, best practices and trending ingredients. That said, I don’t get the pleasure of working the restaurants on busy weekends or through the rush of the holidays, so I love it when I get the opportunity to host my family and friends at home!
When I was growing up, we didn’t necessarily have many Father’s Day traditions. I do remember that we never went out to eat for Father’s Day. I grew up on the west coast of Florida, spending as much of my free time on the water as possible. Father’s Day weekend almost always started off on the boat, fishing and hopefully catching dinner for the next day! Sometimes the fish would bite, sometimes not, but we always knew someone who had crabs or shrimp or fish for sale. We were never really big steak or BBQ people, so I ate a lot of seafood as a kid.
When I think back to some of the experiences that really shaped my life, the time spent on the water with Dad always comes to mind. My parents divorced when I was very young, so weekends with Dad usually meant working (hard) one day and playing the other day. He was one of nine kids, and he grew up on a farm in Michigan. As you can imagine, he was always working. The importance of hard work was instilled in my brother and me from a young age, but for us, there was always a light at the end of the tunnel – a boat ride, a fishing trip or something along those lines.
My wife Lisa spent a lot of time on the water when she was a kid too. Her dad David lived on the water, and she grew up loving every kind of seafood. In our families, it just always made sense to have some shrimp or fish or whatever we could get our hands on for Father’s Day! Now that Lisa and I have two kids of our own, I want to be sure they grow up being exposed to the same type of thing. While dining in restaurants is fun, and it’s important to support the industry, we want our children to grow up knowing how to properly cook and enjoy all types of seafood. Lucky for us, the kids both love to eat – Especially Jack, my smart 5-year-old. He is always interested in where his food comes from, always asking questions about what the fish looked like or what part of the world these shrimp were caught in. I love being able to share those lessons with my son!
Growing up, we didn’t spend a lot of time eating out at restaurants, but the lessons of hard work definitely helped me become a better cook. I absolutely love working and being in restaurants, so coming in early and leaving late has never been an issue for me. The kitchen crew is like a family – sometimes a dysfunctional, tired and overworked family, but always a family that works together and cares about each other! The lessons I learned on the line were brought home, and I was always happy to cook for my dad whenever I got a chance to get up and see him. As I got older, life got busy as it does. I stopped getting the chance to spend as much time with my parents, so any time spent with Dad was always treasured and fun.
As a father now, I just hope my son Jack and daughter Olive will look back on the time spent cooking and learning about food together with fond memories. So, from our family to yours, we hope you have a great Father’s Day. Enjoy the weekend!