I’m telling you the God’s honest truth: I am living my dream today as the Chef Proprietor of Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse in downtown Dallas’ West End. But that dream didn’t just “happen” because my uncle is Gene Street (the retired CEO of CRO, the company that owns El Chico, Good Eats, The Silver Fox, III Forks, Cool River…to name a few).
Now don’t get me wrong, I know that having Gene as my uncle definitely got me started out on the right foot. I mean, what 12-year-old gets to cook chicken fried steak in the kitchen of his uncle’s restaurant? (At 13, I finally got a time card and I thought I was a pretty big deal!) Or what kid learns from a guy who’d wake everyone up early in the morning with a full breakfast and already have briskets on the smoker for lunch? His world revolved around food – and he has been an incredible mentor.
But in the restaurant business, if you don’t know what you’re doing – and if you’re not willing to work hard 7 days a week – you will NOT be successful. You just won’t. And I’ve had to put in my time and work hard. Really hard. But I’ve had a blast and gotten to do some pretty cool things along the way.
For example, I’ve gotten to travel around the world working, cooking and sampling foods. From the Texas Hill Country, to France where I taught Texas-style cooking classes in Dijon, to opening restaurants in Acapulco and London, to Thailand where I deeply entrenched myself in the art of Thai cooking. I got SO entrenched that I even married a beautiful Thai chef from Pattaya along the coast of Thailand!
All those experiences built one on top of the other to arrive at my dream destination of today. Here’s one example of what I’m talking about…remember that chicken fried steak I learned to cook at age 12? Well, exactly 30 years later, the restaurant I taught at in Dijon, France, sold my chicken fried steak for 45 EURO! Little did that 12-year-old kid know, huh?
People ask me how I’ve lasted so long in this business and maintained the love and passion that I have for it. The answer is simple: When you get to do WHAT you love, WHERE you love, WITH WHO you love…it doesn’t seem like “work.” It is my dream taking place in reality every day.
Owning, running and creating delicious food-like-no-other for the customers of Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse (recognized as one of the finest in the country by Food Network)…in the amazing and re-energized Historic West End of Downtown Dallas…with the coolest and BEST people around…
Let’s just say that I am one lucky guy, and I know it.
What dream are your life experiences building up to? Tell me how you’re livin’ the dream…I’d love to hear your story. Thanks for letting this kid from Brownwood, TX, share his.