In our final Father's Day Chef series we speak the Chef Andrew Gregory of the Woodsman Tavern. Thank you for reading along and a big thank you to all of the hardworking Chef Dads out there!
Happy Father's Day!
Father’s Day is coming up, what does Father’s Day mean to you and your family?
Family is more important to me than any particular day. Family means taking care of each other and being present for each other. Accepting each other. Being patient. Allowing each other to make mistakes and always knowing that there is somewhere to go.
How do you balance your work life as a chef and home life as a father?
With the support and help from my wife and partner, Ruel, there would be no balance. When we had our first child in New York CIty, I was a line cook. We couldn't afford childcare and that forced my wife and I to have opposite schedules up until our third child. The one benefit to this was that we both were able to spend a tremendous amount of time with our children. Our kids were with one of us at all times and I think that is a direct result of our careers. My wife has recently started working again and thankfully I am able to stay home in the mornings to be with my son. I sometimes turn off my work email/phone on my days off and it is liberating. I have a great team at the Woodsman and they are capable of taking care of their own business.
Tell us about the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a father and how you have overcome it?
I would have to agree with Carlo, my children and wife's safety is a constant concern for me. I grew up in the suburbs of St.Louis with very little crime and white picket fences etc. I ran outside for hours at a time unsupervised from a very young age but that is not the reality for my kids today.
Over-protection or keeping secrets from our children about life is never going to help them. My parents always said that they "parented from afar". They allowed me to fall down and make mistakes and didn't hover over everything I did but held me accountable for my actions. Hopefully, Ruel and I are teaching our children to be good citizens that are capable of supporting themselves and their community. In doing so, we can let go of some of our worry and protection and let them live their lives.
Also, observing some of my weaker personality traits in my kids is always terrifying.
Can you tell us about something that makes you happy as a father?
Seeing my children pick up new interests is exciting. Watching their personalities develop into their own fills my heart with joy. My oldest daughter has always been interested in helping me in the kitchen. Recently, she has been cooking breakfast for us on the weekends. My wife and I were lying in bed and started to smell something baking and it really smelled great. My daughter finally came upstairs and said she had made biscuits. Not something she has ever done. She used the joy of cooking recipe and watched an instructional video online and just went for it. She forgot to add salt and baked them for 80 minutes but they were biscuits. I talked to her about some things she could have done differently and we're going to make biscuits together this weekend.
And the running to the door thing when I come home will never get old.
How do you celebrate with your family? Traditions or meals, etc.
Father's day is more of a day to celebrate my family with each other. My three kids will certainly try and do something nice for me. My oldest daughter, Isabella, said that she was going to buy me a shoehorn that my son broke with a gift card that my son received for Christmas.
Just having that discussion with her makes me smile. The other two will draw pictures and I'll call my Dad.
Cooking for my family, is almost always my favorite thing to do. We will head to the farmers market in the morning and everyone will help with dinner. Then we'll probably watch something terrible on t.v., unless the Cardinals are playing and then we'll watch Baseball.
Woodsman Tavern is a great place for a meal. Please stop in and visit Andrew and his crew!