Well HELLO warmer weather… finally! I don’t know about you… but I”m so glad to finally be able to open the windows and let the sun and the breeze come through. With Mothers Day behind us, I’m sure your restaurant man or woman is happy to have that very busy day behind them! Now our beloveds can look forward to bringing more Summer menu items and enjoying BBQs on their days off (maybe).
I’m SO excited to share with you the words from someone who KNOWS how much it takes to stand by her man, who lives and breathes his passion for his craft.. so much so that he’s been celebrated as Food and Wines 2013 Best New Chef! I’m talking about Miranda Gaudet, wife and partner to Matthew Gaudet, Executive Chef of West Bridge Restaurant in Cambridge, MA. I can ONLY imagine how amazingly proud this supportive wife is to watch her husband be celebrated while he excels in his career. She too, deserves to win an award for being so patient and understanding while he works hard to excel in his mission. As we all know, it takes a LOT for our restaurant men and women to reach the heights in the culinary world and how it can also affects our own restaurant relationships.
A little bit about Miranda in her own words…
Lives in Cambridge, MA with husband Chef Matthew Gaudet and their 110lb black lab, Cash (often called Biggie). Senior Account Executive at the Boston ad agency McCarthy, Mambro, Bertino. Loves Paris (and shopping in Paris), watching re-runs of This Old House, and has a huge appetite with not so secret dreams of becoming a competitive eater.
It is no surprise to me that Miranda is also in a creative field, as two people driven to work on their own passions, tend to understand what it takes to succeed in their careers.
Thanks Miranda for sharing with us your thoughts on what it takes to be Married to a celebrated Chef!
What were your first impressions when you first realized that by being with your restaurant man/woman, that you have become a part of the restaurant world?
My first thoughts were that I hit the jackpot! It’s been very exciting to be completely engulfed by the food world. I feel special, humbled and lucky whenever I get to spend time with other chefs; learning about their craft has been absolutely incredible. I admire everyone in the industry because it’s a sh**t ton of work!! The creative reward is immense but the monetary reward for many is small…that’s a tough road to hoe!
In terms of the day to day of running a restaurant, my first impression was to feel like an outsider; it’s still how I feel today. Growing up, food was a huge part of my life – my grandfather owned a 24-hour deli and I spent my childhood dining at some of the best places around the world. But I have never been a waitress, bartender, etc. (although I would hope that if the entire restaurant caught the flu, Matthew would at least call me in to help seat people!). So while I might feel at home in restaurants, I don’t really feel like a part of the restaurant world. Now, I certainly know A LOT more about how a restaurant runs than your average bear but I’m still thought of as a “day walker.” That’s a phrase I dislike, because I think it’s often used in a way that diminishes all the hard work we non-industry people do.
When did you know that you had what it took, within the parameters of his/her career, to find success in your relationship?
Theoretically speaking, I knew that I had what it took to find success in our relationship when I realized I WANTED to find success in our relationship. My father always told me that a relationship can work, no matter what, if both people want it to. It’s simple but it’s a real truth – take it or leave it.
Practically speaking, I knew I had what it took when I could do two things: (1) take a nap after dinner and wake back up to spend time with Matthew when he got home and (2) throw away the idea of a “conventional” relationship and just move forward. Matthew and I are never going to be the couple that eats dinner together every night at 6:30pm and goes jogging on the weekends (well, I still fantasize about that sometimes!). I’ve actually come to enjoy my time alone after work. He and I both hope that he can start coming home at 10pm as opposed to 1am in a few years, but with a new restaurant, you have to make sacrifices for the larger goal.
What is the BEST part of being married to someone in the restaurant industry, BESIDES the food?
Matthew is very tuned in to the culinary world abroad so he is constantly immersing himself and studying about food in Europe, Australia, and Asia. I lived in Europe for a good part of college so being able to continue to learn about other parts of the world, albeit in a different way, has been fantastic. We subscribe to a DVD series directed by Paul Lacoste that profiles chefs in France so whenever a new one arrives we can’t wait to watch it together. It sounds silly, but I also love peering over his shoulder in bed while he’s reading a new cookbook that arrived in the mail, a food blog, or an article online – just the other night we were reading about the history of all the famous grand hotel restaurants in Europe. I make a point to wake myself up when he comes home to spend this time with him. I think it’s very important in any marriage to have your own interests, but also to appreciate and love those of your spouse….even at 1am!
How do you handle the holidays knowing he/she is going to be busy at work?
I’ll be very honest – I don’t handle certain holidays well! When Matthew opened West Bridge he made the decision to be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas, plus the day after to allow his employees travel time. So that’s not an issue. Valentine’s Day is easy to do on your own time and still feel special. I’m Jewish so things get tricky during Passover and Rosh Hashanah; they are celebratory holidays and ones spent with family. 95% of the time Matthew is not present at the dinner table and it really hurts. There’s no other way to describe it. Here’s my best advice – remind yourself that your spouse or partner is probably MORE upset about not being there on that special day than you are. I can’t tell you how many fights Matthew and I have had where suddenly I realize the reason why he’s being so difficult is because he’s on the defense….he feels awful about not participating.
How has achieving acclaim and success, within the restaurant industry, changed your relationship?
I can only speak from the perspective of a non-industry person, but if you are in a serious relationship with a chef or thinking of getting into one, you’ve got to look at the bigger picture. If you come at the relationship from the perspective of “he or she is never available on Sundays anymore,” or “why are you coming home an hour later than you did last night?” your relationship will falter. Much of the hard work they are putting in now is to enable them to eventually do less labor-intensive work down the line, or at least have more flexible hours.
Matthew’s growing acclaim and success has meant that we spend a lot less time together, but we both understand it’s a step forward for our relationship, our marriage and our future family. For instance, opening a restaurant meant being able to buy our first home that has become a sanctuary that we so desperately needed to escape the hustle and bustle. Winning Food & Wine Best New Chef means the restaurant will be busier and Matthew will be traveling more, but it will open our lives up to a world of new people and experiences.
It doesn’t happen every day, but we try to remember that this new level of his career means our relationship needs to become that much more important. We need to listen better, give as well as take, practice patience (VERY hard for me!!) and just all around love each other better. Last night Matthew cooked me a surprise romantic dinner at home. I’ll carry that with me for a long time;)
Follow Matthew Gaudet on Twitter –
Check out his home away from home - http://westbridgerestaurant.com/