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2017 March

30 Mar


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A Whole New “Bucket List” for Grand Rapids

March 30, 2017 | By | No Comments

And last night at the “Taste The Westside” event I saw the light. I know we all have been to fund raisers for this cause or that, but last night was different for me. I am stealing a phase from my dear friend David Hood that I overheard that was just so precise. David said quite frankly that, “We are all in the same bucket”. This just hit home to me on so many levels.

As a chef, I am so quick to “metaphor” my food designs so forgive me if am I consistent with using David’s words for my presentation!

David works for EPS, right here on the West Side, family business, NO really a family business. OUR EPS family stops by once a month just to have breakfast with Kitchen Sage and Steepletown. We are instructed that all our staff are more than welcome, in fact made to feel a little guilty if we have to miss it. There is no agenda, no quarterly reports, not even a whisper of work. Just a couple of families getting together for breakfast.

So back to the bucket. If one of us poops in the bucket, we all swim in it, right?! So how is that different from ignoring a neighbor that may just need something?

If there is one thing that makes me just so in love with our Steepletown is that 9 times out of 10 we are affording our neighbor time. Time to teach a preschooler the ABC’s(and to share). Time to share with one of our seniors who needs their lawn mowed, while offering work force development for one of our youth. Time to let a Kitchen Sage student take their new found culinary skills and share it with the city. And the list goes on.

I do think it is funny about the “Bucket” model because I can’t help but view a bucket as a vessel to quench a fire, clean up a mess, or fill up with some ice cold root beers for a day at the beach.

To all our neighbors, not just from last night, but all of YOU. Thank you so much for not pooping in our bucket! And for the neighbors bringing the pool toys to the party, THANK YOU SO MUCH!


27 Mar


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What would your MAMA say?!

March 27, 2017 | By | No Comments


I will never forget the first JuiceBall and the look of complete and utter surprise my Mom had on her face. If there is one constant in life, all of us have mothers. Mothers don’t always have to be biological. To me, the word Mom is earned through trust and love. And at the same time, it is our duty as children to earn their respect and make them proud. So what would your MAMA say?

I would like to think that my Mom would say, “Well son, what’s next? sure that was nice, but you know that if you….”

Now this is not an indictment on my Mom, it is an HOMAGE. Because my Mom was always trying to make the holidays a little better, the day a little more outrageous, and she was always someone we could trust. And as I go on with my life I will always have her voice in my head pushing me forward, making someone else’s life a little better.

With Kitchen Sage I guess what we are trying to do is to earn the trust of our students. We need them to trust that we are giving them opportunities that are best for them. Just like Mom.

22 Mar


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Welcome to the HOOD! I have a Question?

March 22, 2017 | By | No Comments


YES! I got ya with another adorable pic!

But the truth, the real fact is of the matter is we are all part of the GR neighborhood. If we are not asking the right questions, how will we be able to build each other up?

This morning while our students were helping Chef Justin and I prep the preschool meals, I was overwhelmed with the fact that sometimes we just need to ask simple questions to get where we want to go. Literally that was the topic. Our students were expressing their exhaustion of relying on the bus. First of all, thank God for public transportation, and its not just for poor people! But secondly the public transit gives the opportunity for everyone to get moving with their lives.

So Justin starts asking questions:
Well how are you going to get away from having to use the bus?
You need a driver’s license right?
Well how do you get that?
Can you take a bus to the Secretary of State?
Can they give you a book to study? Or other resources?
Well can you study on the bus?
Can you take a bus to take the test?
How are you going to buy a car?
Can you save a ton of money taking the bus?
How long will you have to take the bus before you can save enough for plates, insurance, and a down payment.
So what are you going to do and when?
Is there something I can do to help?

Questions offer hope, lets keep asking questions.

Ainsley, when are you going to question what GR needs? What are you going to do about it. I’ll give you some time!

20 Mar


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Why would ANYONE get up this EARLY?!!

March 20, 2017 | By | No Comments


Now that I got ya with this adorable pic, look at Ainsley’s eyes. Every morning I get those eyes smiling at me with nothing but laughter. Of course I set the tone with the words“What’s going on in here? and why wasn’t I invited?”!

The morning to me is living the hope of a new day. No distractions, just prep time to make the new day amazing. I try to put away all the trial, tribulation, and pettiness from the day before. Because I am sure we all get exhausted by the end of the day, all of us.

I think that is what is so great about the new day, we can try harder to make it better than the one before. Not to mention I get to let my best girl Emily sleep in, because she works so hard putting Ainsley down. Ainsley fights sleep like her daddy fights his weight! And I have to be grateful for Emily’s patience and love every morning.

Then I get to meet up with Chefs Justin and Karen at 6am. The best part about coming into “work” is that I know that they see ALL our children’s eyes in Ainsley’s baby blues. And that is what makes all the difference, knowing my team cares so much for our city.

Good Morning Grand Rapids!

I hope you make it a great day!