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When I Met Food: Living the American Restaurant Dream

Overview


Kathy Sidell’s earliest memories bring her back to food. At age 5 she was taken with her grandmother’s artistry in the kitchen, and even more so by the big, family meals shared on the front porch of their seaside home. Though raised among foodies– her mother, a talented home entertainer; her banker father who single-handedly is credited for building the restaurant business in Boston; and her sister, now a chef and restaurateur– Kathy’s route to food was not as linear. Her early life as a film producer developed ...
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Overview


Kathy Sidell’s earliest memories bring her back to food. At age 5 she was taken with her grandmother’s artistry in the kitchen, and even more so by the big, family meals shared on the front porch of their seaside home. Though raised among foodies– her mother, a talented home entertainer; her banker father who single-handedly is credited for building the restaurant business in Boston; and her sister, now a chef and restaurateur– Kathy’s route to food was not as linear. Her early life as a film producer developed her love for story, themes, and setting. But by age 47, she found herself drawn back to food and the risk of restaurant life. When I Met Food chronicles this adventure, from how she selected her first location to the careful branding decisions required to build a highly successful restaurant enterprise in metropolitan Boston. In this engaging book, Kathy shares her business savvy peppered with encounters with influential people and even favorite recipes for the aspiring chef.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

Sidell's account of life as a restaurateur isn't the first or likely the last, but it ranks among the best. After finding a career in film production creatively rewarding but unfulfilling, and nursing her wounds from a fresh divorce, she found her true calling while working in a friend's food shop. Encouraged and invigorated, she opened what would become a coterie of restaurants around Boston. Sidell's frank take on the process of opening and running restaurants retains a fair amount of the romance readers may anticipate (it's all about hospitality; the employees feel like family!), but her businesslike approach takes center stage, adding depth and setting it apart from similar memoirs by making it more useful for those considering opening their own establishment. Recipes for hits at her restaurants (signature burgers, Crispy Steak Bombs) as well as her failures (Hamburger Bread) mix with personal favorites to help break up the narrative and offer insight into the approach to dining that flows through all her restaurants. Though it's often a sobering read, would-be restaurateurs, particularly women, will benefit greatly from Sidell's candor and advice on knowing when to say no, finding investors, and honestly assessing mistakes.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From the Publisher

When I Met Food is an honest and intimate walk through the life and brilliance of an exceptional businesswoman and lover of food with a heart of service. This type of first hand account is rare and invaluable. Any budding chef, restaurateur or business person of any field would be well served by reading this book, really READING this book. If you're paying attention, you will be handed a road map that few business people at Kathy Sidell's level share. But the sharing, after all, is the definition of hospitality.” (Tiffani Faison, Chef/Owner Sweet Cheeks, Bravo's “Top Chef” season one finalist)

When I Met Food takes you on a journey about the lifetime passion for food. Born into a family who not only dined out but helped to build the Boston restaurant scene, Kathy Sidell details how those early days shaped who she has become: a filmmaker, a wife, a mother, sister and daughter; and finally a successful restaurant owner several times over. For anyone dreaming of running their own restaurant, this book is must-read.” (Todd English, chef, restaurateur, author, and James Beard Award winner)

“If you've ever dreamed of opening your own restaurant, you'll love this book. And if you're a woman with restaurant ambitions, you absolutely need this book. Kathy Sidell distills a lifetime of hard-earned wisdom—her own and that of her legendary family—into this gracefully written narrative. Part memoir, part history of Boston's storied dining scene, it's also a must-read for any entrepreneur, both a pep talk and a wake-up call on what it takes to succeed."(Amy Traverso, Lifestyle Editor of Yankee Magazine and author of The Apple Lover's Cookbook)

“As a frequent diner at the MET’s first restaurant (Kathy now has 5), I am a huge fan of how Kathy has translated her vision onto the plate and into a thriving business. Her restaurant concepts are always on trend and offer quality and inspired dining experiences. When I Met Food beautifully captures her compelling journey.” (Tom Stemberg, Managing GP Of Highland Consumer Fund And Co-Founder/Former CEO Of Staples)

“Remarkable read…fresh and original, two characteristics I greatly appreciate. A success story to inspire all but more importantly for me it is told with great skill and without apology.” (Robert Richardson award winning cinematographer)

“Kathy Sidell has created a memoir of a life filled with passion and love for family, friends, art, and food. Her story is woven with the common thread of food. This book is peppered with fun recipes and stories that include many people I know, especially her father, Jack, a man I greatly admired, and, who enabled me to start my first restaurant, but there is much more to this book. Restaurateurs and want-to-be’s should pay special attention to some amazing pearls of wisdom in these pages; there are very keen insights into the balance of art and commerce, as well as practical advice resulting from a philosophy that has brought Kathy great success.” (Jasper White, Chef/Partner Summer Shack Restaurants)

"Sidell's account of life as a restaurateur isn't the first or likely the last, but it ranks among the best. After finding a career in film production creatively rewarding but unfulfilling, and nursing her wounds from a fresh divorce, she found her true calling while working in a friend's food shop. Encouraged and invigorated, she opened what would become a coterie of restaurants around Boston. Sidell's frank take on the process of opening and running restaurants retains a fair amount of the romance readers may anticipate (it's all about hospitality; the employees feel like family!), but her businesslike approach takes center stage, adding depth and setting it apart from similar memoirs by making it more useful for those considering opening their own establishment. Recipes for hits at her restaurants (signature burgers, Crispy Steak Bombs) as well as her failures (Hamburger Bread) mix with personal favorites to help break up the narrative and offer insight into the approach to dining that flows through all her restaurants. Though it's often a sobering read, would-be restaurateurs, particularly women, will benefit greatly from Sidell's candor and advice on knowing when to say no, finding investors, and honestly assessing mistakes." (Publishers Weekly Starred Review)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781937134310
  • Publisher: Bibliomotion Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/20/2012
  • Pages: 264
  • Sales rank: 1,430,333
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Kathy Sidell’s passion for food started at home, where mealtime was not just about eating food, but discussing it. Her father changed the way people eat in Boston by lending money to up-andcoming chefs and her sister owns a popular Boston restaurant — the restaurant business runs deep. “For as long as I can remember, I‘ve wanted to open a restaurant.” Kathy took the leap in 2005 with the Metropolitan Club in Chestnut Hill, MA. Since then she’s opened three more restaurants, with a fourth in the works, and been recognized for her modern twists on traditional classics. But restaurants are only part of Kathy’s career. After Columbia film school, she co-founded Chelsea Pictures and produced commercials and the acclaimed documentary Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control. “There are great parallels between launching a restaurant and making a film. As a producer, you have to assemble a gifted team of polished professionals who are brilliant at what they do. I take the same approach in building my restaurants.” It’s always show time at Kathy’s restaurants!
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Table of Contents

Introduction xv

1 Serving Up Happiness 1

2 Eating, Family Style 19

3 Launching a Life 47

4 Life Shifts 69

5 It's All About the Bar 87

6 Claiming the Corner 103

7 Bathroom Stalls Are for Sex, and Other Things I Learned 129

8 Writing My Own Recipe for Success 155

9 Balancing Art and Commerce 183

10 The Hardest Decision 203

11 Tweeting Truth to Power 219

12 Coming 'Round Full Circle 229

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