Sometimes when life hands you lemons you need to squeeze the juice onto your cut and burned hands to remind yourself that you are still alive and kicking and subject to the pain and joy all around you. After all, it will feel so damn good when you stop.
So La Finestra is closed. We had a great two-year run and all good things must come to an end. On to the next chapter. My long-suffering and patient wife, Kitty told me that the happiest she has seen me in a while was when I was doing popups. So to keep her happy and to keep me cooking I have taken on a partner and started stäge, a traveling popup series that will criss-cross the country over the next few years taking me to the kitchens of chefs whom I respect and love. They say when you want to be a better golfer, you have to play with folks who can kick your ass. I’m applying that logic to cooking. I’ll be on a learning mission for an extended period of time and hope to make a little money along the way.
We did a few test runs at Brent’s Drugs with great success and now we are hitting the road with stops initially in Atlanta, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Montgomery, Lafayette and Clarksdale. In the spring we’ll either head North or West, those plans are still being written.
We call it stäge as a salute to the French apprentice/master system. In a busy French kitchen you will find several stagiaires. These are the young chefs who work for free for short stints in order to hone their craft. I’m not so young anymore (hit the half-century last month), but I’m eager to learn.
See you on the road.
PS: check out stagepopup.com to see where we will be next.