Post Date: June 18, 2014
Categories: Essence Restaurant Group
I’m a pretty damn lucky guy. Sometimes I forget that. I could ramble on about how the golf course is my place of solace, how much I enjoy the outdoors and camping, or how I’m a huge sports nut—a die-cast, bleeding maize and blue Wolverine fan. I could even share how important family and friends are to me, or how my new puppy has changed my life. But today, I want to concentrate on something different, yet just as important. The reason I’m so passionate about my work and why I truly love to be part of such a great organization—Essence Restaurant Group.
If we go back to where it all started, it began in my childhood kitchen. As a wee lad, I’d ‘play’ in the kitchen while my mother was cooking, which really meant annoying her by banging on pots and pans.
As I grew older, however, spending time in the heart of my home evolved into a new desire. I began asking mom what she was doing as she made the dishes I liked most. Why is goat cheese gross cold, but tasty when it’s hot? Why do olives taste good out of the jar, but not so much when they’re cooked?
Eventually this lead to a desire to understand each flavor element and how different flavors all combined to create new ones. This concept intrigues me to this day—how foods, spices, herbs, wines, beers all combine in a tapestry of limitless flavors—it’s completely what moves me.
With this fledgling passion slung on my back, I went out to begin a working career; the restaurant business obviously seemed a natural fit. Not only was the kitchen the heart of my childhood home, but my family would go out to eat most Friday nights—something I always looked forward to. I was drawn to the energy and flow of a busy restaurant—the way it smelled, the clanging sounds of dishes and glassware, the way it moved and pulsed with excitement.
As I continued my career growth, eventually accepting a position with the leadership team of ERG, this passion continued to spread and grow in my personal and professional relationships as well as within our community. The entire experience helped to further round me as a person and I felt closer to my true, whole self.
Ironically, not long ago, ERG committed to an aspirational goal of helping to strengthen west Michigan food systems and food culture. I realized that my personal desire to help our community had aligned with my professional life creating a heightened sense of purpose. This further increased my awareness of how important relationships are. Growing with ERG as it was developing and blossoming, similarly putting its emphasis on relationships, I feel I have found my home with an organization founded on relationships that works to strengthen the community it lives within.
My love affair with all things cuisine and my equal passion for lasting relationships are now working in concert—the stars have finally aligned. It has become increasingly easy at the end of each day to kick back and reflect on the outstanding people that surround me, my team, our guests and even those I have not yet met.
So, like I said when I started writing… a damn lucky guy, yes. Trying new things, continuously learning, eating and drinking great food and beverage with great people—not bad work I say, not bad at all.