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« The City Bakery Hot Chocolate Festival & Marshmallow Knitting. | Main | Bushwick Brooklyn, under a wet thump of snow. »

08 February 2010


Tough love, friend. You've got it by the kilo. xox

You are an inspiration to me. Thanks so much for sharing your words, and saying more eloquently than I ever could the things people need to know/remember.

change! sad to think the beautiful desserts I just ate and loved may not be there the next time----but excited that there will be new beautiful desserts the next time! xoxo---ellen

Gosh, your post resonated so much. I have been out of work for almost 18 months, one of many pastry chefs biting the dust after the economy tanked. I have a job lined up starting March 22. I am not happy about the menu, or the concept of the restaurant, but I need this job badly, I want it badly, so I will have to bite my tongue, swallow my pride and keep on smiling.

You are not along and I feel your pain, the physical as well.

amen on the owner/bar comment.

Great post. As always.

When you care, when you have passion for what you do, when you decide to do things the right way, in other words non shoemaker, you embark on a long and very difficult journey.

Caring means more stress, more work, more drama, more bullshit. This is the price we pay. I have done every single thing listed above. I have made menu changes that I didn't feel 100% about.

Recently I had to let some of my staff go because of business being slow. I have known some of these people over 8 years. I don't think I have slept right in a week or so. I knew in my mind this was the right decision for the business but my heart wouldn't go along. Making these choices are never easy, in fact they often suck.

But the ability to overcome these obstacles, embrace the bullshit, and truly excel are what great chefs are made of, isn't it? I hope so, I keep telling myself that. Being over 40 I don't take everything so personally anymore, sometimes good things come from adversity, sometimes it just pisses me off and I shut down.

But I know that I have done great things when pushed to change or adjust what I do. The process an be a bitch though. I love your blog.

Mark, your words are moving and I thank you so much for being brave enough to set them down here. Do we think this business is different from any other business because the bonds we form with our chefs/cooks/dishwashers/diners/FOH is beyond what the bottom line says on our P&L? I'm sure there are plenty of industry's like ours-- where sweat and tears are married long after the vows, but something about making food & feeding it to people is intensely personal, intimate & humbling.

I hope you set your words on 'my pages' as often as the spirit moves you. I think it's so important that other chefs say what their experiences are here! Thank you for making the hard choices and continuing to care and being honest in all of it. ~ Shuna

Let's hope you can weather the storm. I absolutely love your blog! Your writing is inspiring, thoughtful, and interesting. In the meantime, I will be eating at 10 Downing frequently and telling every person I know to follow suit. Shuna talks, we listen.

Beth! Wow, thank you so much for this comment. I am humbled & grateful. I hope to weather the storm as well-- at this restaurant & beyond. ~ Shuna

Well said and poetically so. Keep the beauty in your food creations that just shimmer I am sure. so glad you went to England, that was a beautiful trip you had.

Your capacity to make poetry out of adversity and the mundane is breathtaking. Which is why I keep coming back. (You have a way with beauty, too.)

We're all doing what we have to do these days; here's hoping it doesn't become the status quo.


I think as a worker in a disposable industry the only thing you "can" rely on is change is highly true. I think this profession can kill your spirit. And it takes a very well centered person to really do the job well and still be kind and creative and nice to work with. I don't know many chefs who don't wanna get out once they've reached the top of their game. You can't recycle chefs, once they're gone, they're gone and they take their skills with them. I've gotten out and I am so glad I did.

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