The diagram above I stole from the web shows what I had done, prior to the stent placement I was confined to a liquid diet. Great for rapid weight loss, pretty sucky for overall health. The downfalls of having a stent is that there are usually permanent and you spend the rest of your life sleeping with your upper body at a 30-45 degree angle since your esophagus no longer is able to keep your stomach bile in check… if you lay flat bile runs up to your mouth. This seems like a small adjustment, however since I’ve lost well over 100 pounds I no longer have an ass. Sleeping at 30-45 degrees puts all the pressure on my recently discovered tail bone. So currently my chest hurts from a self expanding tube, my tailbone hurts from lack of ass and all weight being put on it during sleep, and my bowels are really confused after months of a liquid diet. I go in for a PET scan this Friday to see what the Cancer is up to, no good I’m sure lol. My Oncology Doc would like to possibly radiate the Esophagus and possibly shrink the tumor in hopes of removing the stent… we’ll see. In the mean time I’ve started actually eating food, in fact had a bowl of Cheerios and fresh local strawberries this morning, I can feel strength starting to come back, however with a stomach shrunk to the size of a Costco sample cup it will take awhile to get up to mid evil feast standards of eating, but eating and juicing is good and should make for a more pleasant summer.
How did I become a chef? I am fortunate to have a mother who is an amazing cook and entertainer, and two grandmothers who both were kitchen forces to reckon with. Being the oldest of three boys with no sisters there was no such thing growing up as woman’s work. Mom was always willing to teach, and the stove called to me at an early age. I think when I was still in grade school I made the folks breakfast in bed… Scrambled eggs mixed with tang powder, parenting can be such a cruel labor of love. My Dad’s folks owned a pizza place on 60th and foster “Italian Pizzeria” where as kids we would sit in the back folding pizza boxes and get to make our own pizzas and grinders, drink Orange Crush and wear out “Hot Rod Lincoln” on the juke box. At 16 sixteen I got a drivers license and a job at Fryer Tuck’s chicken in Beaverton, there my responsibilities included peeling and hand slamming 16 five gallon buckets of fries a day and pressure frying chicken. They had a old circular no guard chicken saw that you ran the pieces through… so sketch. Once I left there I got a job at the Zoo, within two weeks I was a supervisor and had a great time selling burgers and dogs during the inaugural year of “Your Zoo and all That Jazz” and watching Mount St. Helens plume away. After the zoo I worked at a number of places around town which include;
- The Rafters in Sellwood
- The Rhinelander
- 31 NW & whatever Bernard’s wife’s catering company was called..lol
- The Treehouse in Lake Oswego
- Nelson Brothers wine & cheese
- Guido’s Eugene
- Cafe Zenon Eugene
- Monarch Hotel
I was attending U of Oregon while working in restaurants and my folks said, Hey there’s a new culinary school opening in Portland we think you should check out. Pop’s concern was that I really wasn’t treating school with the serious I should given the cost, and he was more than willing to pay for me to get into a trade so I could support myself and call it good. I liked the idea and went for it, it was brutal, the Horst Mager Culinary Institute was the brain child of then Portland Celebrity chef Horst Mager in 1983. He wanted a CIA West, there wasn’t anything else at that time but Community College Institutional Cooking classes. I was in the third class to go through the school, we work every day up to 12 hours a day, we did prep for his seven restaurants and shortly became one of the largest caters in the city. Chef Mager brought in European and CIA chefs to instruct us, and this was before celebrity chefs, cable TV, or a Food Channel. If you didn’t snap to it, you got left behind, these guys make Gordan Ramsay look like a teddy bear. For whatever reason I excelled and graduated top of my class, I thrived on the combination of pressure and creative demands…. and still do.
Now I own a catering company and I am family partners in a brew pub, it can work out if you’re willing to WORK it out!