So, I have resigned my position at Home as of yesterday. It certainly won’t come as a surprise to many, but for many good reasons I just can’t continue my position there.
As an artist, it’s all about creative control. It’s all that matters (at least when it can afford to be all that matters), and the constant struggle between an owner’s view, and a chef’s perspective, has strained me to the point of re-focusing my efforts elsewhere.
It’s time to work for myself, and it’s a liberating feeling.
I have my current commitments to Bravo/NBC, my creative consulting company Trail Blais and my young family to keep me more than busy.
What made my decision very easy were a few uncomfortable meetings, where it was obvious that ownership didn’t value what I brought to the table and were insistent on a very archaic outlook of my position. HOME valued my physical time only, of which at times was limited because of prior commitments. When entering into this partnership, I laid out my full slate of commitments and everything was checked off on and approved. But “in theory” and “in practice” are two different things, I guess.
For the record, HOME tallied a four star review, and drove business up from its previous concept by 67 %. It was the first time I achieved those 2 things together. It was the first 4 star restaurant in that company.... and most likely, no, certainly, the last...
Home has been full every night with not only people searching out a good meal, but people who were coming for me, whether personally, or creatively, it was pretty apparent that this was a successful concept. It was a chef’s restaurant, a rarity in our city. But it never was the chef’s restaurant, and from the beginning, my most loyal fans knew this.
For the first time, it is clear to me, that I am in the position where the guests’ threshold of creativity has reached a parallel with a successful business model. Meaning I think Atlanta is ready for a restaurant that stretches. I know that if it is going to happen in Atlanta, it’s going to happen soon...
I hope Home continues with my team in place, as they have been running the restaurant anyway with much of my time devoted to travel. But it was a very simple choice, and for the first time, a decision where money wasn’t an issue.
I couldn’t be more pleased and excited. I have FLIP ahead, a project where I am the creative vision, I am booked for 3 months out for appearances, and most importantly, can now take some serious time hanging out with Baby Riley and my wife, who has been working her cream puffs off.
As well, there is an interesting opportunity brewing that could mean true artistic freedom.