Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bistro Gal

Before she was Bistro Gal, she was my wife. Before that, she was punk rock chick, figure skater, folk fest volunteer and activist Danielle.

The wife of a chef puts up with a lot. Late hours, unpredictable schedules, lousy money is kind of what they sign up for. It can get so bad that they become what people have started calling a Chef's Widow. ( And over the years my wife, Danielle, has put up with a lot.

Not only did Danielle have to put up with the usual chef craziness, she had to put up with my own unique brand of craziness. For example, every time we had a baby, I left a good stable job and took a new job. When my first daughter was born, I left the Tap & Grill to go work at 3 different jobs until I found on that stuck. When my Son was born I left Pasta La Vista to go work at Pineridge Hollow and when my youngest was born, I left Pineridge Hollow to open the Bistro.

When I was at Pineridge Hollow, I had everything. A stable job, a decent salary, full creative control, a garden and my own goats. So, I decided to leave and open my own place. Not only did Danielle support this descision, when she should have said "are you nuts? stay at your perfect job!", she actively encouraged me and helped me get the place off the ground.

And that is how she has always been. Any crazy idea I come up with, she is right there with me. When I asked her to put our lives on the line to open a little Bistro, she said sure, lets do it. Owning a restaurant was my dream, not hers, but she made it her own. When we opened, she was homeschooling our children, working in the post-trauma department at Klinic and working nights at the bistro. Very soon, she put her career on hold to work at the bistro full time. The bistro is what it is, and is as successful as it is, because of the genuine warm welcoming hospitality that she brings to the room.

Even though life can be stressful, it is not easy running a small business, it is so much better that we can do this together. I get all the glory, and she holds me up. Nothing I do could be possible with out her. She supports me, she helps me realize my dreams, she nurtures and cares for me, she has fun with me, she joins me on all of our crazy adventures. In return, I give her more craziness. Often I wonder why she puts up with me. Often I wonder why she sticks around. She could just find a nice doctor or lawyer to be with. But she chooses to remain by my side. And for this, I love her deeply.

Thank you Danielle Carignan Svenne for all you do. Thank you for being you.


  1. Alex: What a beautiful tribute to your beautiful wife.
    (Note: nice doctors aren't all they are cracked up to be....)

  2. sweet. you guys are blessed to have found each other. Isn't life grand when you can boldly go where ever you want because you're bestie is right there to help? jeff's like that for me too. so lucky.

  3. Wow... this is great! Because of this write up of esteeming your spouse I am going to come to your restaurant some day! Keep it up