Closing a highly esteemed restaurant is a bit like a public breakup. It’s one thing to shut your doors after mediocre reviews, trickling reservations, or a food poisoning scare; it’s quite another to tell your appreciative public that it’s just not working for you anymore – “It’s not you… really it’s me that’s changed.”
But unlike the celebrities who can cover their faces with designer sunglasses and smile with a “no comment”, Robert and I are left to answer the why question face to face. Why leave the nightly gushing about the wonderful experience, the generous income it produces, and the ability to work in your pajamas?
It’s not an easy answer, and I’m ashamed to say that I’ve sometimes resorted to saying with impatience “Because we want to.” Working nights is a tough lifestyle for a family with young children, and is one I’ve struggled with often in being a mother. But really, it is also about seeing what else is possible in the food world for us. Can we possibly have a food operation where we aren’t personally responsible for creating and executing every morsel of food? Can we do something else except cook and serve food?
I was listening to a radio interview with a cookbook author on NPR. I was naturally interested, as I had just finished with our cookbook draft (300 recipes and 700 pages long!) I had spent countless hours researching other cookbooks. When this woman stated that cooking had always been her passion something in my heart seized up. I stopped folding the egg whites into the soufflé batter as I considered how I felt about cooking. With the grueling schedule we were keeping up with as our restaurant was in its final days, cooking felt much more like a job that a passion. Will I ever want to cook again?