Now that you have had a chance to read my restaurant reviews in The Columbian for the past few months, you might be wondering, “Who is this guy who suddenly is telling us where and where not to eat?” So let me share a bit about myself.
For starters, I love everything about restaurants. The owners, chefs and cooks, servers, busboys and dishwashers, hosts and hostesses.
I’ve been them. In high school, I started out as a janitor and dishwasher, working up to busboy and server. I took a summer spin at hosting, then moved into the kitchen as a breakfast cook and assistant manager of a dormitory grill at Michigan State University. Then I did stints as a fry cook and a line cook. I loved every minute of it.
After college, I kept up my interest by becoming a travel and food writer and was lucky to experience restaurants all over the world. I then (sort of) settled down with my family and began writing cookbooks — 15 to date — and that morphed into a seven-year cooking show on PBS, at the same time I was doing a two-year gig writing and hosting a Sportsman’s Channel wild-game cooking show. In between shows I was thrilled to be invited to a whole passel of network cooking shows and food festivals around the country as a guest chef, although I don’t consider myself one.
And that led me to a massive project I undertook to find, visit, and write about the 100 oldest restaurants in the United States. “A Century of Restaurants” took three years and involved traveling 38,000 miles around the country to visit historic restaurants in 45 states. I learned a ton about the business from talking to the owners, chefs, staff and customers, and continued my love of restaurants and all those who make them happen. Recently I’ve had the chance to provide consulting services to several local places, helping them add to their menus.
Being asked to review Clark County restaurants is an honor for me and I take my job very seriously. I try to be fair, honest and enthusiastic in sharing my culinary experiences with Columbian readers. I am always looking for suggestions for places I can visit. Please offer up corrections if I miss the mark in any of my reviews.
After 50-plus years working in restaurants, writing cookbooks and magazine articles about food, and participating in food and wine festivals nationwide, I have gained a deep respect for the people that feed us and pray that shows in my writings.