Sometimes I think a profession chooses you more than you choose a profession. Almost like some sort of ancestral livelihood is encoded in our DNA. That's how it has been for me and the restaurant business. Even as a child, I recall the stirrings of a restaurateur in my soul. My mother, who partnered with me on my Cook Book "Victoria's Delights" is a fantastic cook and a master gardener. She was always experimenting with recipes and different ethnic cuisines. She took great pride in feeding her family from her large garden. My mother and grandmother would cook, can, freeze and pickle everything in sight when the summer harvest kicked in. My father made wine as a hobby, and I fondly remember weekend trips to vineyards to pick grapes for that year's vintage.
When I was about 10, I would make my younger sister "play restaurant." She would sit at the umbrella table on our patio and I would create a menu, present it to her, take the order, make her food, wait on her and clean up. She never tipped! My first "real" restaurant job was at the age of 14, working in a seafood market and chowder house. From there I went on to work for some of the top restaurants in the Detroit area. My passion for the food industry led me to open my own restaurant, Victoria's Delights, in 1997. In the early years we were more of a cafe, serving soups sandwiches and lighter fare. As the years went on we continued to evolve. We expanded our little building, obtained a liquor license, added a full menu, and opened a catering business.
We started our cooking classes in 2007, and they continue to be a popular addition to the restaurant. One Sunday afternoon a month we hold class. My mother and I are usually the instructors, but there are talented employees who join in, and guest chef buddies of mine are known to make appearances on occasion. Our Cook Book is the 'best of the best'; the recipes from those classes. I hope you find your way to purchase a copy and enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed creating it.
It is true what they say about the restaurant business; it's one of the toughest. I have had my ups and downs over the years. In spite of long hours and hard work, weekends and holidays, my passion for the hospitality and industry has never wavered. And boy, have I been tested! For every near catastrophe, there has been a pure triumph. Customers have become friends and staff have become family. All those years ago I really did know what I wanted to do when I grew up. I am sure glad this profession chose me.