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Thoughts On Chefs

Posted 8/18/2019 9:33pm by David Zemelsky.

Dear People of High Interest,

I might get into trouble about this one.  Not that I have anything negative to say about chefs, but you just don't know if one accidentally  says the wrong thing.  Dont want to do that! Restaurants are about half our business.  Its been steadily like that for many years.  There are restaurant that have been with us almost since day one (1999) and new ones that we've just added as of Saturday.  If there's one thing that's true about the restaurant industry, its that things are always changing-including chef's jobs.  I didn't get it at first.  In the first few years, when it was easy to observe that the chef's keep moving from place to place.  My assumption was that chefs were a restless cohort that needed a change every year or two.  This turns out not to be what I believe today.  In most cases, when a chef leaves, its usually because upper management is "going in a different direction".  In most of the cases where I've heard something like this, the chef never gets a chance to adopt to what Management wants.


This is a difficult situation at best and often can lead to a long resume for a short period of time.  If one doesn't know this about the restaurant business, it would be easy to look at a potential chef as a wanderer.  But in reality, any chef with a long resume/short period of time, might just be the victim of management trying to go in a direction that the chef can't predict.

It is easy to say that chefs are a certain breed of individuals-high strung and Type A, but that really doesn't cover adequately what goes on.  Chefs really do come in all kinds of sizes and temperments-no different than the rest of us.  They just happen to have an unusually stressful job.  There's so much riding on each and every plate that gets sent out.  Even if they aren't the ones that cook it, their name is on it.  A good chef is not unlike the principal at your kids school (if you have kids).  They set the tone for the work environment and create the place for great cooking to take place.  And of course, they have to depend on everyone at the front of the house to finish the job correctly.  Its not unlike a well choreographed ballet.  Something beautiful to behold when it comes off right.

I've been lucky to make strong connections with several of our chefs over the past twenty years.  When this does happen, I'm treated to an inside view of what goes on in their heads.  It is a particularly special time when a chef will share with me a favorite dish or a new dish that they hope will be a favorite dish.  The shear enthusiasm for what they do or hope to do is so apparent.  Such passion helps the world be a better more creative place.

My chef friends have shared a lot with me over the years.  I've been to family funerals, visited chefs at hospitals, given baby shower presents to them.  I've even found myself utilizing my previous skills as a Family Therapist (my past profession 20 years ago) in hopes of helping a chef in need. Chefs are a hard working, driven sometimes to perfection, type of indvidual.  Knowing chefs has always been one my favorite parts of doing this work.  Oh man, I am lucky.

One last thought though.  Why, do you think there are so few woman chefs?  Is it more of that men have been given an advantage by the rules of how our society works?  I'd like to know your thoughts.  Why are there so few woman chefs?

An announcement before telling you whats available this week.  Star Light, as usual, will be attending the wonderful Wadsworth Mansion Open Air Market this Sunday. Its 8/25 from 10-4.  I'd love to see as many of you as possible there.  It'd be fun to meet those of you whom I've only met electronically, for one.  The event is a sure fire day of wonderful things to eat and see.  There's music,unusual crafts, all the friends that you haven't seen in over a year.  Free and free parking.  More details at their website: http://www.wadsworthmansion.com/

In case you didn't know: Its all about tomatoes right now at Star Light.  If you haven't tried an heirloom, please consider now.  We're at the top of the season.  It is impossible to give you over the internet the utterly amazing experience of eating an heirloom tomato. However, I'll say this: if you don't jump up in the air with total delight after trying one of our heirlooms, I'll give you something else for no charge.  Its that much of a sure thing.  And yes, I know they're expensive.  You can't buy one like this in February. If you buy a lb at the $7/lb price, we'll throw in some extra tomatoes to soften the blow.  Give it a try.  You'll know its the right decision as soon as you try one.

There's also the Sun Gold, Sukura and Artisan Tomatoes.  Each of them deserve a place at your table. $6.50 /pint.  Same iron clad guarantee.  You got to jump or I'll give you something else.

And the Juliet.  Can't say enough about how sweet and head rolling you're going to feel when you try Juliet.  They're the only tomato you'll ever need for both salads and cooking.  An extremely rare situation.  In most situations, a tomato is either good for cooking or eating raw.  Juliet does them both. And they're perfect for drying.  You can buy dried ones from us $5/for a small bag.

We also have a sauce tomato-Grendaro.  Perfect for just the right sauce. $10/quart

NEW this week.  Leeks for soup, stirfries $4/bunch.

New Garlic- and a beautiful crop, too! $3.50/head

Sweet Peppers- all different colors, purple, yellow,orange, and red $5/lb

Hot Peppers -$5 for a half pint

Cucumbers- three different kinds.  Pickling cukes.  A big handful for $3 and an even bigger handful for $5.  Katrina- thin skinned and very few seeds- $5/lb.  Soyu-an Asian variety. Great flavor, texture and look.  $5/lb

Salad Greens- $6/bag

Kale, Collards and Swiss Chard-all awesome choices for those greens that we all need to eat more and more of.  $3.50/bunch

Beets- gratitude gratitude gratitude.  That's what I think after eating our beets.  Roasted or pickled.  I say "oh yes!" $4/lb.

Carrots:    Truly a gift. $5/bunch

Red Long of Tropea onions $4/bunch

Scallions- -both white and red $3/bunch

Summer Squash- both green and yellow.  Let me know which ones. $4/lb

Pak Choi - $3.50/bunch

Fennel $5/head

Jen's Now Totally Famous Bouquet-even though this is her first year going solo on flowers, Jen has mastered the bouquet with ease. $8/bunch

Sunflowers - $5/bunch

Thanks again for all your support.


PS I thought I was done, but realize there's one more thing.  A big salute to Jen and Joel, who work harder than anyone anywhere.  They've help bring Star Light to a new level of production.  Ty and I might have started something, but now, I'm so lucky to have these guys bringing us to new heights.  That, really is how it should be.  The seed has been planted and watch it grow!