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A Great Shift

January 28, 2013

I fell asleep on the couch and woke up several hours later to Joel Osteen’s Sunday morning sermon blaring from my television. Somewhere between dreaming and waking, I had listened to him extoll the meaning of A Great Shift for the better part of 30 minutes.

A Great Shift, he said, is something that happens when the winds of favor blow opportunity into your life. It happens suddenly. It happens without explanation. Not the result of your own talent or determination, but a great force in the universe designed to put you in the place you’re supposed to be.

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On the search for creativity

October 17, 2012

At one point or another I have been a thinker, a risk-taker, a smart ass, a kiss ass, and a bore. On the search for creativity, I have questioned everything. Twice. I’ve been envious of effortlessness, hostile with authority, and cautious about the unknown. I have miscalculated. I have looked for perfection but have not found it. I have been hard on others but harder on myself. There have been quite a few times when I have cut too deep.

Punishment for setting the bar impossibly high has been fear of the ordinary. For as long as I have sought creative endeavors, this notion has driven a knife through my gut.

I have spent most of my life trying to find the better part of myself. I have chased it like a ghost. Wrestled it in my sleep. I believed I had it cornered at least a dozen times, but on each occasion it has laughed and escaped out the window.

I have failed. I have lost sleep. I have unlocked creativity and spilled it on the floor. I have unlocked creativity and lost it under the couch cushions.

In the end, I agreed over a steaming hot bowl of mussels––with a lover or a friend or a colleague or an acquaintance––that it doesn’t matter anyway. Not on the plate, on the notepad, or on the computer screen. The search for creativity is a crooked line. If you’re committed to wrestling it down, you have to be willing to bump your head.

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Unpacking Heat

September 3, 2012

At 25, I was living on Race Street in a high-rise loft, spending a lot of time in the kitchen slicing off the tips of my fingers. It’s a period of time I like to call Fish University because I was obsessed––completely obsessed––with fish cookery. This was before culinary school or the restaurant, so I was studying cookbooks like they were textbooks. When I wasn’t sprawled out on the kitchen floor getting busy with Mark Bittman and Alton Brown, I was geeking out with turbot, snapper, salmon, halibut, haddock, anything I could get my hands on. Friends and family pleaded for me to end the madness but I soldiered on. To hell with them. I would learn how to cook fish even if it meant mercury poisoning and slow, painful deaths for us all.

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Cincinnati Deconstructed: Karen Kahle [VIDEO]

As resource development director at Findlay Market, Karen Kahle has one of the biggest and most influential roles (and voices) in the world of Cincinnati food. Get to know her here, see why she’s so passionate about public markets – and discover why Findlay Market is at such an important crossroads. It’s all here in […]

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Punch in the mouth

I used to be an optimist. Then I got punched in the mouth and all that changed. It was grade school. I had three text books tucked under my arm and I was walking down the hall to 6th period. Enter a toothy, female redhead with sharp, splintery eyes. A Goliath to my then 5-foot […]

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30 things I know by 30

To celebrate the big 3-0, I thought I’d take a page out of Joy the Baker’s book. I thought I’d tell you some of what I know. Half of these lessons I’ve learned by doing the complete opposite. The other half I’m still learning. 30 things I know Humor makes up for a multitude of […]

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Cincinnati Deconstructed: Owen Maass [VIDEO]

At Cumin in Hyde Park, Executive Chef Owen Maass is churning out some of Cincinnati’s most impressive, eclectic food. Behind the scenes, he’s driven. Articulate. Funny. Exactly who he says he is – no matter what. Lucky for us, Cumin owner Alex Mchaikhi is opening a sibling restaurant next door (called M), and Owen will be Executive chef there too, featuring a rustic, wood-fired menu. See his story in our third episode of Cincinnati Deconstructed, filmed by Michael Holder and produced by yours truly.

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Breaking cornmeal bread

In 1995 my mother learned she had stage four breast cancer. The doctors tracked her white blood cells on a whiteboard while they pumped chemicals into her body. She promised me, wrapped in her white gown, shrunken from a liquid diet, that she would come home to make dinner again. In the mean time, I […]

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Lazy Shrimp and Grits

Quick is the game these days. If you’re not quick you get left behind, mentally and physically. This is the case in business––and it’s also the case in every restaurant kitchen I’ve ever worked in or observed. Slow movements burn the souffle. Slow cooks get their asses handed to them. There is indescribable reward in […]

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