London- NYE 2012

It’s a brand new year and the American Chef is back in London! In the past year, we’ve moved our lives back and forth across the Atlantic three times and now, finally, after a very long and tediously boring year without a work visa, there are finally some new and exciting things on the horizon. In many ways, we couldn’t have chosen a better year to be in the UK (aside from the record rainfall). We witnessed the over-the-top celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, followed by what can only be described as a spectacular summer of Olympic and Paralympic games where we watched our old friend Nick Springer compete in Wheelchair Rugby for the US team. We also made several great friends, met our new baby cousin Aeden and celebrated our little friend Ruby’s first birthday. Our dog discovered the joys of going to the park “off-leash” for the first time, and just last night I saw my first fox in London, coincidentally after watching The Fantastic Mr. Fox. We climbed the parapets of a dozen Scottish castles, walked the shores of North Berwick, tried Haggis for the first time and learned that even in Edinburgh, you can find good Mexican food at Miro’s Cantina.

While in New York, we had the pleasure of wading through tourists to get to our apartment in Disney World…sorry, I meant to say Times Square…where we mostly binged on sushi, pizza and bodega sandwiches rather than cook for ourselves. We participated in an historic election and got the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with family. We bore witness to one of the worst storms in our regions history and witnessed the devastation of those who lost everything; but also the compassion of the millions who came together to volunteer and contribute. In the aftermath, I had the opportunity to work with the mayor of New Orleans, the Stooges Brass Band and several of the Crescent City’s best chefs to bring some much-needed smiles and warm meals to the Far Rockaways, a community that was torn apart by Hurricane Sandy. As if that wasn’t tragedy enough, there were many sleepless nights in the US and abroad, when the heart-wrenching news came across the wire about a gunman in a school in Connecticut. It was hard to leave home  second time; you experience a heartbreak that seeps into the marrow of your bones and refuses to let go until you can find an object of focus in your future that allows the tide of homesickness to recede. Thankfully, I found that focus, and hope to share it with you all over the coming months.

I will be a bit busier this year, and may not get the chance to post everyday, but you can expect to find more recipes, more roving and of course more ranting and raving from me. I may jump back in time to our three months stint in NYC for a post or two, but otherwise we’ll be looking forward with a new addition to the blog chronicling the development, set-up and execution of this exciting new project I am now a part of. While in New York, I was contacted by a group interested in opening a new American style restaurant in the heart of Central London. The restaurant will be called Fat Bear, and focus on regional American cuisine, classic cocktails and the principles of enlightened hospitality as espoused by the renowned restaurateur Danny Meyer. In the next few months, you’ll be hearing much more about the project and perhaps even get some inside info on where you can snag your first taste of Fat Bear goodness. Thanks for reading everyone; I’ll be back very soon with some new dishes to start the new year right (as long as you’re willing to forgo those pesky New Years resolutions!)

Until then, happy cooking, happy travels and happy living to all of you out there in internet-land.