Meet our Family

Jennifer – Chef Wife, Mother of 3

Emulsified FamilyMy name is Jennifer and I’m married to a chef

My chef/husband Tom and I have been married for 21 years.  I am blessed to be able to stay home full time with our 3 girls while my husband works as a chef to provide for our family.

Who this blog is for:

If you are somehow connected to a chef (married, dating, raising a family with, brother, sister, parent, friend, etc.), this site is for you!  

I write to connect with others who are trying to combine restaurant and family life.  I write to you, the Emulsified Family!  It’s not easy!  I know!  I’m living it every day!

Along the way, I also hope to give a glimpse of how restaurant and family life come together to those in the “outside world” (aka not in the restaurant industry.)

I’d love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest!

41 things you should know about me

  1. Only 2 people have ever called me by the name “Jen.”  Everyone else has called me Jennifer.  (Thank goodness!!)
  2. I’m 6’ 1” tall and my last name is Small.  Fortunately this was not my last name until I was 20 so I didn’t have to go through junior high and high school hearing jokes about this.  Now I love it and it makes for a fun conversation in the grocery store.
  3. I don’t really enjoy reading.  (Don’t tell any of my past elementary school students.)
  4. I don’t really enjoy cooking that much either.  Thank goodness I am married to a chef and never have to cook for myself.  (HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!)
  5. I wanted to be a Mom and a teacher ever since the 3rd grade.  I became a teacher in 1996 and a Mom in 2004.
  6. I love Butterscotch Krimpet TastyKakes, but live on the west coast and they do not sell them here.  Boo!  If you live on the east coast, eat an extra one for me or mail me some please!
  7. I love all things Disney.
  8. I miss living near In-N-Out.
  9. I started dating my chef/husband when I was 15.
  10. My chef/husband is the only boyfriend I ever had.
  11. I am a Christ follower.  You can find my testimony here.
  12. I LOVE homemade Greek yogurt sweetened with maple syrup.
  13. I am addicted to chapstick and have it with me at all times.
  14. When we started dating, I played the piano better than my chef/husband.  I stopped practicing and he practiced a lot.  He can now play whatever he wants and I have to practice just to play something easy.
  15. We’ve moved 7 times in our 19 years of marriage.
  16. I am 42 years old.
  17. I hate to exercise but love to eat.
  18. I have a BA from Azusa Pacific University in Liberal Studies with a minor in Spanish.
  19. I really have no athletic ability at all which is unfortunate because of point #2 above.
  20. I went to a private Christian school all the way through college.
  21. We got married on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA.
  22. When someone asks me my favorite food, I usually say pizza.  Not sure it’s really my favorite, but it’s usually what comes to mind first.
  23. My favorite place to shop is Nordstrom.  Unfortunately it’s usually just window shopping . . .
  24. I often care too much about what people think.
  25. I struggle with worrying about the future.
  26. My Mom died when I was 27.  I really miss her a lot.
  27. I am a morning person.
  28. I am not a night person.
  29. I love to sleep.
  30. My current favorite song is “Blessings” by Laura Story.
  31. I started working out last year to make new friends.  I ended up losing a few pounds, going down 2 sizes and gaining many new friendships.
  32. Every Thursday and Sunday morning I wake up really sore and wonder why I went to workout class the day before.  (See #31)
  33. I used to use coupons but gave up because they don’t make coupons for the food we eat.
  34. We had NO MONEY when we first got married and because of this we ate a lot of Top Ramen.  My husband still loves the stuff, but I refuse to eat it.  I really hate it!
  35. I have traveled to 4 different countries. (5 if you count the one I live in.)
  36. I am a horrible decorator.  Anything that looks nice in our home was chosen by my chef/husband.
  37. Over half of my wardrobe is black.  My last Stitch Fix box almost killed me with all the different colors and patterns. This might change in the future thanks to my new love of Stitch Fix.
  38. My favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”  (See #25.)
  39. It would take me 19 hours of driving nonstop to get my Dad’s house.  This is too far.  🙁
  40. I would love to own a motorhome and travel around the United States as a family.
  41. I was diagnosed with Stave IV Breast Cancer in September 2015…you might notice I look different in videos and pictures depending on when they were taken.
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Tom – Chef, Husband, Father of 3

Tom SmallI grew up in Southern California, where I received my inspiration for cooking from my mom. I have had the privilege of cooking in some of the finest restaurants in California & Washington including Parkway Grill, Smitty’s Grill, TAPS Fish House, San Antonio Winery, Armondo’s, The Lobster Shop, Boathouse 19 and Palisade. I also spent several years cooking on private vintage rail cars traveling all over the country. Currently, I have the privilege of working for the Opper Melang restaurant group as the Chief Culinary and Operations Officer.

In addition to managing restaurant kitchens, I also enjoy teaching cooking classes, developing new recipes, and writing. I enjoy cooking with fresh seasonal ingredients and try and use as much local produce and meat as possible. I believe that food can be simple and still taste amazing. I love to talk and learn about food whether it’s with friends, customers, strangers in the grocery store, my family (even my young children) . . . it’s just part of my life.

9 reasons I’m thankful for my chef/husband

  1. He cooks well. Just getting the obvious out of the way here. But really, I am thankful for this. If he didn’t cook well, who would cook my 5 course dinner every night. Haha!
  2. He loves the Lord and has a passion for the truth. I am thankful that he stands up for what he believes, no matter what others think or say.
  3. He provides for us financially. There are many days he gets up, more exhausted than he went to bed. Yet he gets up with a good attitude, and heads off to work to provide for us.
  4. He has a strong work ethic. Every day he sets an example for the girls and I and all those around him at work by showing what it means to work hard and always try your best.
  5. He is wise (not to be confused with being smart – which he is as well.) My chef/husband is able to look at a situation and have wisdom in it. He is able to leave emotion out of it and truly give good advice and make good decisions based on his past experience and just good common sense. I truly value what he has to say and have been amazed by his wisdom many times this past year as we talk and make decisions together.
  6. He is a good listener. He is always willing to let me talk, even when I ramble on and on about our day.
  7. He is level headed. He is able to stay calm and rational when things get crazy.
  8. He is artistic. Not only has this helped him in his career as a chef, but our house looks nice because he’s able to decorate well. (I am not artistic at all.)
  9. He is a wonderful father. The love and compassion he shows our children is amazing. I love watching them together.

Here’s a video with a bit more about my chef/husband and how he inspires me every day!

The Girls

the-girls-small

11 Comments

  1. Alyson

    My name is Alyson and I am also married to a chef. I’m 48 years old, I’ve been to well over 40 countries, my favourite food is also pizza and I’m a stay at home, home educating, blogging, nomadic travelling mum. I’m aching this morning after going for a run yesterday…ouch!
    Alyson recently posted…Harry Potter Experiences Around The WorldMy Profile

    Reply
  2. Diana Knieriemen

    Oh, I did find a picture of the girls. What sweet girls. I know Janet would have loved them to pieces. She will one day. 🙂

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      I just popped on here to send you a link of us all but you beat me to it! 🙂

      Reply
  3. rosanna robles-tesorero

    OMG, It’s SO funny that I actually accidentally ran into your blog! I was beginning my entry about how it is dealing with my husband who is a sous chef, and having 2 toddler boys,and working full time as a nurse myself, has NEVER been easy! I’m so glad I found your website =)
    rosanna robles-tesorero recently posted…Hitting the RESET.button on LIFE.My Profile

    Reply
  4. Amanda

    Just wanted to say I am glad to have stumbled across your blog. I have been engaged to a chef for 2 years, together for 5 and we have a 21 month old son and it has not been easy at all my partner has been a chef for 12 years. We miss each other terribly but he has supported me and our son no end. My favourite question from people is “o your fiancé is a chef! He must cook you some really nice meals?”…… HA!! Good one! Your blog has helped me feel less alone I am guilty of feeling like a single mother it’s good to get another perspective :).

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      I just tried to respond to your email, but it bounced back. I think the second one went through. If not, please let me know. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Emmy

    great blog. I’m dating a chef for the past month and half, and last week he didn’t follow through on a date we had planned. He said we’d go out for lunch. I knew he worked long hrs because he told me and I knew it would be his day off too. I also knew that the same day was the day he spends with his kids.
    I got frustrated and told him that I thought we should call off the relationship because he didn’t tell me that he couldn’t keep our date, was silent. To be expected. Seems like getting any of his time is at premium and that’s hard to form an attachment to a person you can’t see often enough.

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      I’m sure it is tough! 🙁

      Reply

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