Mother of a Chef


As Mother’s Day approaches, I know for many of us, it will just be a normal day . . . husband at work (on arguably the busiest day of the year) and us home with the kids.  But instead of dwelling on that, I thought it would be fun to hear what it’s like to be the mother of a chef and who better to chat about this with than my sweet mother-in-law, Susan!

My husband and I started dating when I was 15 and he was 16.  From the very first time I was over at their house, (as a girlfriend, not as a 5 year old with my family who supposedly sang and danced in front of the fireplace) I was treated like family.

There are many things I admire about my mother-in-law but the main one that stands out to me is her love for and dedication to her family.  There is nothing she (and my father-in-law) wouldn’t do for her children and their families.  The time and effort she puts into being a Mom and Grandma amazes me every day.  She is a wonderful example of a godly Mother and wife and I am so grateful God allowed me to marry into her family and to be able to call her Mom.

So as we get ready to celebrate her this weekend (from 19 hours away – BOO!!), I thought it would be fun to ask her some questions about what it is like to be the mother of a chef AND the mother of a general manager/restaurant owner.

Yes, you read that right.  2 out of her 3 adult children are in the restaurant industry!

While my chef/husband is up here in Seattle, my brother-in-law, is the General Manager, part owner, mixologist and menu developer in Southern California.  (And my sister-in-law also loves to cook, but chose a different profession.)

I hope you enjoy this peek into what it’s like to be the mother of a chef.

Mother of a chef

My husband says he got his inspiration for cooking from you.  Have you always enjoyed cooking?

I loved cooking and having big family dinners and presentation was very important to me.  I always wanted that little extra. It was always important to have good healthy food at home and I enjoyed the art side of making things look as good as they taste.

Tom was always interested in what I was making and had some favorites that he uses today at the restaurant.  Growing up Tom loved my goulash.

My Dad, their grandfather was a great cook and their great grandfather was a baker.  Their grandmother on their Dad’s side was also a wonderful cook and she specialized in Southern cooking.

So as you can see food and special recipes have always been important to us. One year I combined all our favorite recipes in books for each of our kids. Unfortunately their grandmother on their Dad’s side did so much of her cooking without a recipe that we don’t have all of her great dishes.

Do you have a favorite meal you remember Tom cooking for you or others?

I cannot pick one thing that I like the most that he makes but his raspberry scones are amazing. I love the way he is conscious of presentation and has made some beautiful center pieces with food for his brunches.  He really tries to think of every aspect of his cooking and it is so important to him to have fresh, local food.

When I like a certain dish at a restaurant Tom can always duplicate it.

What memories do you have of your chef/son cooking when he was younger?

When Tom was very little he always loved to be a chef, even wearing the hat.  His grandfather made him a very special pretend stove.  Later he tried to make the oven work with light bulbs.

As he got older he would want to make dinner for his girlfriend, who is now his wife. His first big dinner was for his wife’s Mom and Dad’s 25th anniversary. We had it at our church and they had a huge kitchen. He was a much different chef in those days.  I think, no I know, he used every pan, dish and utensil in that kitchen. I was the dishwasher.  But as he became more skilled he would have everything cleaned up as he went along. He is amazing the way he can have very little ingredients in the house but make something delicious.

Are there any parts about the restaurant career that your sons have chosen, that are hard for you as a Mom?

I love the fact that our sons love cooking but I do hate the fact that they both work very long hours.  I know there are very few jobs that anyone works just 40 hours a week.  Their Dad was a police officer and worked such long hours that it was hard trying to balance everything.  I just wish life could be a little less busy and demanding for my boys so they could have time to enjoy family and a little time for themselves. Always having to work the holidays or even up to the holidays makes life at home so hard.

I’m very proud of both of our boys.


Any other mothers of a chef out there?  What are your thoughts on having a son or daughter in the industry?

From one chef’s wife to another,





  1. kaye

    Loved reading your story and seeing the pictures you post. Kaye


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