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Highlight on Chefs of the Midwest


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Ouida and Robert Merrifield are the Chef/Owners of the Polo Grill here it Tulsa. In this piece they talk about how hard it is to be chefs and be married to each other as well as the job.

Ouida: We work well together. I enjoy the creative part of designing new dishes while Robert is more involved on the business end. He spends more time in the restaurant, and there are days when we don't see much of each other. One thing that we do is schedule meals with employees at the restaurant at least two to three times each week. Robert and I sit down with a new employee for example and make it a point to get to know them. This subject of relationships is so interesting because our employees have the same problems everyone else has, and a bad marriage or relationship in their lives can adversely affect our business.

Thinking about it, some of my favorite places to dine in the Midwest are owned by chefs who are married to each other. Besides the Polo Grill, I can think of Bluestem in KC and Colby and Megan. What other restaurants are there that are co-owned by chef couples?

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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What other restaurants are there that are co-owned by chef couples?

Prairie Grass Cafe in Northbrook, IL is owned, in part, by chef Sarah Stegner and her husband, Rohit Nambiar, who runs the front of the house. Chef George Bumbaris, with whom Stegner worked at the Ritz-Carlton in Chicago for about 20 years, is also an owner of PGC.

Rick Tramanto and Gale Gand were once married and owned Brasserie T in Northfield. I believe they also had ownership stakes in Tru, where they both worked until recently. Now, they are both part-owners of a cadre of restaurants at the Westin North Shore in Wheeling, IL: Gale's Pastry Bar, Osteria di Tramonto and Tramonto's Steak and Seafood.

I'm sure there are more but none come to mind at the moment.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

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ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I was going to suggest Debbie Gold and Michael Smith of 40 Sardines (Overland Park, KS), but I just visited their website, and it seems Michael is no longer involved; do I remember correctly that they divorced a while back?

In Chicago, I HAVE to cite Susan and Drew Goss, formerly of Zinfandel, currently of West Town Tavern. Susan does the amazing cooking, and Drew does the wonderful wine pairing ... a great team. www.westtowntavern.com

And while not in the Heartland, I want to mention the talented team of Mary Hinds and Stu Stein, formerly of Peerless in Ashland, OR, and soon to open their own restaurant, Terroir, in Portland. They have a cool website of work in progress at the restaurant; I don't have the link right now, but it's an easy google.

Edited by Bret Beall (log)

Bret S. Beall, MS, PhD (Cand), CEO

Global Organic Designs Lifestyle Services

www.god-dess.com

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Another Chicago-area restauranting couple which comes to mind is chef Carrie Nahabedian and her husband Michael -- who directs the operations -- at one of my favorite spots, NaHa.

=R=

edited to correct a 'senior' moment :wink:

Edited by ronnie_suburban (log)

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I was going to suggest Debbie Gold and Michael Smith of 40  Sardines (Overland Park, KS), but I just visited their website, and it seems Michael is no longer involved; do I remember correctly that they divorced a while back?

In Chicago, I HAVE to cite Susan and Drew Goss, formerly of Zinfandel, currently of West Town Tavern.  Susan does the amazing cooking, and Drew does the wonderful wine pairing ... a great team.  www.westtowntavern.com

And while not in the Heartland, I want to mention the talented team of Mary Hinds and Stu Stein, formerly of Peerless in Ashland, OR, and soon to open their own restaurant, Terroir, in Portland.  They have a cool website of work in progress at the restaurant; I don't have the link right now, but it's an easy google.

Yes, Michael and Debbie divorced and he has some new projects in the works. Debbie is sole proprietor of 40 Sards now.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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Another Chicago-area restauranting couple which comes to mind is chef Carrie Nahabedian and her husband John -- who directs the operations -- at one of my favorite spots, NaHa.

Actually-I'm pretty confident that it's Michael Nahabedian that runs the front of the house and he and Carrie are cousins.

Patrick Sheerin

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Another Chicago-area restauranting couple which comes to mind is chef Carrie Nahabedian and her husband John -- who directs the operations -- at one of my favorite spots, NaHa.

Actually-I'm pretty confident that it's Michael Nahabedian that runs the front of the house and he and Carrie are cousins.

D'OH! You are 100% correct. I've gone back and corrected my original post! :wacko::blush:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Chefs Christopher and Mary Spagnola cook together at Emilio's Sunflower Bistro in LaGrange, Ill., where they are partners with Emilio Gervilla.

Other chef-sommelier couples include Didier Durand & Jamie Pellar of Cyrano's Bistrot and Priscila & Vincent Satkoff of Salpicon.

As for examples where one partner cooks and the other manages the front of the house, a couple of Japanese spots come to mind: Chef Isao & Chiyo Tozuka run Chiyo in Chicago. They also own Chicago Kalbi. And Chef Hidemizu & Sayaka Fukuyama run Kamon in Buffalo Grove. But there are many more, since that's a common model for entrepreneurial restaurants.

LAZ

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  • 4 months later...
I was going to suggest Debbie Gold and Michael Smith of 40  Sardines (Overland Park, KS), but I just visited their website, and it seems Michael is no longer involved; do I remember correctly that they divorced a while back?

In Chicago, I HAVE to cite Susan and Drew Goss, formerly of Zinfandel, currently of West Town Tavern.  Susan does the amazing cooking, and Drew does the wonderful wine pairing ... a great team.  www.westtowntavern.com

And while not in the Heartland, I want to mention the talented team of Mary Hinds and Stu Stein, formerly of Peerless in Ashland, OR, and soon to open their own restaurant, Terroir, in Portland.  They have a cool website of work in progress at the restaurant; I don't have the link right now, but it's an easy google.

i use to work for Stu In kansas city at Cafe Allegro. he is an amazing chef. Terroir is now open. I may make a trip from Vegas up to Portland to check in on him.

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