Well, Hello again! As tomorrow is Cortney and I's Two Year Anniversary, I wanted to chime in, 6 months and 1 week later and re"torte" to Cortney's very first blog post on August 12th 2018 titled, " Excuse our love story...It's a little bis-que ".
Just as Cortney started off with her post, allow me to also provide a little backstory here, but from my perspective...
The year was 2014, it was a very pleasant 50 degrees Sunday on January 29th, when I arrived to Colorado Springs on a whim. I have to admit, when I was taking 24 into town after a very long, boring and exhausting trek on I-70 from Kansas City, I was a little bummed to see no snow on the Peak. The pictures of Springs that I had googled before I got here were that of an alpine peak overlooking a bustling city. When I got here, it looked like I pulled up in July, as there wasn't a fleck of snow to be seen ANYWHERE!!! (That, and the temperature, would change 2 days later). *Oh, I forgot to mention that coming here was not on my initial radar. I actually left Culpeper, VA in November 2014 with a ridiculously fully packed Ford Focus, kind of meandering my way across the country visiting friends and family with my eventual stopping point being Portland, Oregon. But when I arrived in at my mother's house in Edmond, Oklahoma on January 4th of 2018, she begged me not to go to the other side of the country. So, after some research and a couple awesome weeks at my mom's house, I decided that Colorado Springs offered everything I wanted, as it was also the closest/but furthest enough away option to placate my mother. Now that we're back on track...
Yes, the Chef's store thing is totally true. I stopped in, checked out the showroom and was all like, "meh". Too expensive.. I called my mom on the way out of the door to my car and said, "There's nothing here for me." And yes, Cortney's office was right on the other side of the wall when I made that phone call. Cue that cresendoing ironic music to setup the next scene...
Now lets look at the story of how we met from my angle.
I started sending out resumes to all the restaurants as soon as I got here, but didn't get immediate responses. So I decided to change the scope of my job search to include anything I could think of with a kitchen. Want to know who hired me for my very first job in Colorado Springs??? A daycare over off Powers Blvd! Clearly I knew this would only be temporary, but it provided an income for me while continuing to look for a job. Luckily, the call from the owners of a brand new restaurant concept, The Wobbly Olive, called me and I put my "Effective Immediately" termination notice in at the daycare 1 week later. So, I began at the Wobbly - which was a long road. It was taken over from the restaurant that used to be "Nawleans" right next to the Cinemark movie theatre on Powers Blvd, and that place was trashed. I mean wrecked. I've seen some filthy kitchens, but OMG. Anyway, I spend the next 2.5 months, cleaning it up, re-designing it, turning one of the walk-in freezers into a cooler, (the amount of frozen food they served at Nawleans was astounding), designed menus and got it up and running for it's opening May 5, 2018. It wasn't too long after the Wobbly was up and running that I found myself in Denver with 2 of the owners opening up another restaurant! But all of that work was exhausting - and I couldn't/didn't want to keep up with the pace anymore. Driving back and forth from Denver everyday for 3 months with only 1 day off about killed me. Barely able to keep my eyes open, I decided that there had to be a better way. A buddy of mine, Chef Corey Wilson - The Personable Chef, (you would know him from many restaurants around town, but most notably headed up the Blue Star as Executive Chef and the General Manager for a number of years) urged me to come along with him for awhile and learn the ways of Personal Chef here in Springs and open my own personal chef business as a way to continue doing what I love, just not in the kitchen. So I did. That's how David Cooks Dinner (www.davidcooksdinner.com) started! Oh, if you haven't yet - pop on over and sign up for my weekly recipe email. It's different than this one and comes out on Tuesdays! Ok, enough shameless pluggin' for me - back to business. I stayed on with the Wobbly, but only as a consulting chef that changed their menus every season, wrote the recipes and trained the cooks on how to properly execute the dishes. That's about as much restaurant as I could take at the time, and it only had me in the doors for 1 week during new menu rollouts. Perfect!
Now - during all of that, Chef's had called Chef Corey Wilson and asked if he would like to come and do some classes - he politely turned them down and referred them to me. That's how I initially came into this. I taught three or four French classes at the Chef's retail store and was actually the last Chef to teach a cooking class there in Nov. of 2015. Then when Cortney and her partner decided to re-open it as The Cook's Marketplace, I got the call. The bad news is, a year went by until I got the next call. But, great things take time to develop, right?!?!? So, my very first class at Cortney's store, The Cooks Marketplace, was a french class, obviously, and I was back to doing classes again! Yay! Oh - I was also back to being the Executive Chef at the Wobbly again, which had me there full-time. Didn't love it, but Chefs by nature are masochists and you have to really enjoy your job and the daily abuse it comes along with to keep showing up to work everyday. Anyway, I finally met Cortney! Done. Stick a fork in me, I was done! I'm surprised I got through that first class. (It did go almost 3.5 hours though). My eyes followed Cortney around her store that whole time, ducking my glance back to the stove whenever she turned around - also I kept trying to look at her left hand... NO RING! Maybe.. Maybe?? . Luckily I didn't burn anything that night. And, if I may address "the most dishes I'd ever seen" thing that Cortney said... she told me from the beginning that at the end she'd help me clean up... So why would I try to rush that by keeping up with my dishes during the class? I wanted as much time at the end with her as possible - and there was only 1 way I could do it craftily. After cleanup and driving home, I know it sounds crazy, but I knew.. I knew right then I was in love. Only 1 problem - I had put work first my whole career and never really made time for a relationship, so I didn't even know where to begin this whole "woo-ing" process I'd heard about from my friends. I had to see her again though, I did know that for sure - so I went back to her store the next day and bought new knives for all of my cooks in the kitchen at the Wobbly. I think I spend over $600. WORTH IT!
And then the rest of our story is pretty well known. We got together almost immediately, and we've been together ever since. Unfortunately, The Cooks Marketplace is no longer operational, but if not for that, there'd be no "Us" and there'd be no "Gather" . Not going to lie - the closing of the store was extremely rough, but we got through it, and now we're happier than we can be - doing what we love doing, with the people we love doing it with!!!
Now you have it - a relationship that almost didn't find itself... or took its sweet ass time coming into itself, however you want to look at it. And, and one more little piece of the story from my side... As I mentioned that I knew this was the most special thing and I knew deep down that this was going to be big... I put in my notice at the Wobbly a week later, and never looked back.
In the spirit of all relationships that center around food out there, I am posting some of the recipes from my very first class, "French Bistro" at Chef's (the day before my birthday) 8-17-2015. I am choosing these recipes for two reasons, 1. They started it all, and 2. They are amazing recipes to make for your lover, for the best at home "Date Night" . I hope you love these recipes as much as
I've loved the last two years with the love of my life, Cortney. I love you baby... Happy early Anniversary! (the best thing is, this is what she's waking up to today - she has no clue I did this, and I'll be out the door by the time she reads it :))
Recipes This Week are:
Vanilla and Thyme Cured Duck Legs with Guava Gastrique
Horseradish Smashed Potatoes
Brown Butter White Asparagus