When we gathered my family around on thanksgiving, I asked each one of them what they were thankful. My son said pizza. My eldest daughter said friends and family. And my youngest said she was thankful for us coming together at the table for a family meal.
I am thankful for all these things as well. I like pizza. I cherish friends and family. And the gathering together of people for a shared meal is so very important to me. We opened Bistro 7 1/4 not so that we could run a successful business, but so that we can share the warmth and comfort of meals shared with others. Many of the guest we greet each day started as welcome strangers and have now become cherished friends.
I am thankful for all of you who come to our restaurant. We started with a crazy idea. We took a great risk. But all of you who come here, and keep coming back have supported us and made our dream come alive. You have supported us, and you have forgiven me when I have overcooked a steak. You have supported us, and forgiven us when we screw up a reservation. You have supported us, and forgiven us for when a dishwasher dumps a glass of wine on you table. And you have all celebrated with us. Celebrated with us in the party which we host nightly at the bistro. You have shared your birthdays, anniversaries, graduations with us, and we have shared ours with you. And you have come to us when it is a cloudy wednesdsay and you just want a bowl of mussels. And for all you love and care and support, I thank you.
I am thankful for all my staff. We have a great crew of people who work here. Often we feel more like family than co-workers. Yes, like family, we bicker. But more often than not, we support and care for each other. I have staff who have been with us since the very beginning. I have staff that came to me as teenage dishwashers and now are holding down responsible full time positions in the kitchen. I have staff with years of experience in the industry and could work anywhere, but have stuck it out through thick and thin. We all work very hard, but we have a great time together. I am thankful for each and everyone of those names on my schedule.
I am thankful for my friends, my UU church and my broader community. You provide fun and nourishment to us. You bring joy to us when you come through our front doors, and you bring comfort when we gather together. You remind us every day that the world is a good place and the people in it are worth caring for. Thank you.
I am incredibly thankful for my family. I am thankful for my mother-in-law who does the daily cash outs, washes the stinky kitchen towels and takes care of the kids at night. I am thankful for Marcel who chauffeurs the kids to their various activities, takes my kids out on special outings to the bookstore or sushi bar or costco for hot dogs, and is always their to bail us out in a pinch. I am thankful for my parents. My parents who helped us get the bistro of the ground in the first place, my mom who bakes and my dad (he calls me chef) who fixes the railing on the stairs and the toilet paper holder in the men's room. My parents who are always willing to go on a late night run for more mussels or to replenish the vodka we just ran out of. Thank you.
I am thankful for my kids. They always forgive me for being gone for such long hours and will always share their joy and love with me. They will bring me breakfast in the morning, sasha will explain his theory of 12 dimensions to me in great detail. Olivia will always make me laugh, and encourage me to sit on the floor and play playmobil with her. And ursula, wise beyond her years, always caring for others, will keep me hip and young and cool. Thanks to all three of you.
But I am most thankful for my beautiful wife, Danielle. Every year she gets more beautiful. While the rest of the world gets older, she seems to get younger and hipper. She is the reason I am successful as a chef. She is the reason Bistro 7 1/4 opened. When she saw that we were ready, her strength, vision and skills made my dream a reality. And she is the reason the bistro is still going strong. Danielle has an incredible ability to make everyone feel welcome, loved and cared for. She creates the atmosphere that makes people fall in love with the bistro. On nights when she can't be here, people feel it. But I am also grateful for her support behind the scenes. As a mother, she makes sure Ursula has the right ballet slippers, that Sasha's gee in pressed and Olivia gets her cardboard dulcimer decorated in time for kindermusik. She make sure the hydro bill gets paid and groceries get bought and that there is cold beer in the fridge for when her husband returns from work. And she does all this while homeschooling the kids and working every night at the bistro. And for me, she is always there to back me up, support me and defend me. I may be the big hot shot chef, slinging my knives and flaming my pans, but she is the one holding me up, encouraging me and providing me with (almost) unconditional love. For Danielle, I am most thankful.