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February 20, 2008

Lessons Learned from a Gourmet Chef - You Can Go Home

The parallels are undeniable in this article...world renowned executive chef goes home to small town, USA and opens a restaurant serving metropolitan gourmet on his terms, high quality at reasonable costs and living the 'seamless' entrepreneur's life I've talked about so much on this blog.  You connect the dots.

Chef Gary Maples of Charleston graduated from a prestigious culinary school in Europe.


Gary Maples and Stacia Ozier at the Daily Kneads Cafe in Arcola, Ill., on Friday, Feb. 8, 2008. Kevin Kilhoffer/ Staff PhotographerToday, he plys his trade in Arcola, where the fragrance of baking bread and other delectable aromas waft from the small kitchen of his Daily Kneads Restaurant on Main Street.

“Most people in the area will never have a certified executive chef make things for them, unless they travel,” said Maples, who graduated from culinary school in France and has been a chef for 34 years.

He and his wife Stacia Ozier are owners of the Arcola restaurant, a two-person operation, that is only open during the middle of the day.


“The hotels and big restaurants take a tremendous amount of drive and determination. Most people who go into it don’t make it 10 years. It’s just too hard.

“They’re not willing to work seven days a week and they’re not willing to work 18-hour days. They’re not willing to do what’s required.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re the owner, the maitre d’ or a cook in a nice hotel, you are going to work a lot. They are going to work you if you’re good until you can no longer work.

“If you don’t have determination, don’t have pride in what you do, you’re not going to make it.”

Maples said he doesn’t know what he likes most about his work. He said it is almost second nature.

“I don’t even think about what I’m actually doing.”

As I said, the parallels to stories from the Big Law front to solo/small firm are uncanny.  Food for thought.  (pun intended).

Hat Tip to Jeremy Richey for bringing this story to my attention.

Related Links: Going Solo in A Small Town


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Peter Olson

Personally I'm a fan of the Dutch Kitchen's date cake in Arcola.

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