It is beyond unimaginable that my parent’s restaurant, An American Bistro, the place my sisters and I practically grew up at, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. As the anniversary nears, if anything has been brought to my attention, it is that my parents deserve it. They have created something deserving of celebration and beyond. They have fostered a community of devoted diners. They have enhanced the celebrations of an uncountable number of parties, events, and experiences. Never has this been more apparent to me than in these past few weeks leading up to the Bistro’s 25th birthday.
I’ve been reminded, as I so often am, that I have some of the most incredible parents in the world. As I dive deeper into the events in my life that have led me to end up where I currently am, it is impossible for me to ignore the opportunities my parents have created for me. They are the hardest working people I know. As a chef and co-owner, my dad has work ethic and passion that has inspired me ever since I can remember. The hours he has put into An American Bistro will never cease to amaze me. As the pretty much do-it-all part-manager/co-owner, my mom has never failed me with her problem solving capabilities and spontaneity. As I become more and more aware of how much the two of them have put into creating all that is An American Bistro, I become more inspired to create something with similar ties to community, happiness, and meaningful experience.
As if running a restaurant for 25 years has not been enough, my parents have provided enough love to my three sisters and I to diminish any questioning of it. They have made our dreams come true a million times and work to continue to do so. It’s in their hearts and it is so obvious. Few people I know have parents that donate the time (and food) that my parents have. My most recent reminder of this was in the way my dad had no problem cooking up an entire vegan feast for my sister and I’s friends in celebration of the holidays and to raise money for the Catskill Animal sanctuary.
Reading the newspapers and magazines that have published interviews with my parents has given my sister and I feelings of happiness we can’t really describe. They mentioned that my sisters and I embrace a vegan and plant-based diet without our slightest prediction. Showing their support of the conscious decision of ethical eating is huge. There is no doubt that cooking is deeply rooted in tradition and for my father to try out and cook vegan recipes means more to my sister and I than any gift we could ever receive.
Photo reference: http://www.lohud.com/story/life/food/restaurants/2017/04/19/american-bistro-anniversary-throwback-menu/100586666/
Another realization that has come about is that there’s no way that my sister and I would be as involved with food as we are now had we not grown up with homemade cooking. From an early age we were introduced to the fact that food has power beyond taste. Both my sister and I enjoy cooking for others, a tendency that undoubtedly comes from watching the way our father’s cooking has contributed to both family events and the celebrations of strangers. Food has the power to bring us together. What my sister and I have been learning most recently is that food has the power to heal. Few people close to my father are unaware of his love for broccoli rabe. Being vegans, my sister and I are avid vegetable lovers as well. When thinking about the roots of this love, it’s impossible not to appreciate the way my father has prepared vegetables all our lives. While we may have been as enthusiastic about veggies as we are now, having a chef for a father that appreciates vegetables certainly helped to set up the love we now have.
Photo reference: http://www.westchestermagazine.com/Blogs/Eat-Drink-Post/April-2017/An-American-Bistro-Reaches-its-25th-Anniversary/
It’s impossible to write this without recognizing those who have supported my parents, most importantly the staff. Those that have been with my parents since before I was even born. Those who know and appreciate my father’s cooking and both of my parents’ kindness and caring for all people. It’s so inspiring to see the same faces that I’ve seen since Marguerite and I were kids running around the restaurant. It doesn’t surprise us that people have supported our parents for so long, they’re genuine and show concern for others in every way they know how to.
There is so much more I could write but I’ll leave it at this: not a day goes by that I don’t think about the bistro and feel blessed. There’s history that I will never be able to fully understand, but those that have been coming since the start know and love. And for this, and my beautiful, fantastic, lovable-beyond-words, parents I am forever grateful to.