Each year we dedicate an issue to all things food and honor the labor of those who grow, prepare and deliver it to our plates. Our October issue comes during harvest season—a time to enjoy the bounties of our rich Midwestern soil amidst the crisp, cooler weather as it changes to autumn.
In this age of COVID uncertainty, it’s even more imperative that we celebrate our restaurant workers. The past year and a half has been full of challenges—from rising costs to a growing labor shortage—as if the industry wasn’t already a notoriously difficult one. Success requires not just consistent hard work, week in and week out, but a tremendous and authentic passion, without which you’re likely to burn out quickly.
With more and more restaurants touting the benefits of locally grown ingredients, I’ve bumped into restaurateurs at the farmer’s market, developing their menus based on what is available that day. In organizing a special celebration last year on the outdoor patio at 2 Chez, I received a call that morning from owner Todd Hohulin asking for a slight variation in the menu, as he couldn’t find a particular ingredient that met his exacting requirements.
Not only is Todd an outstanding and passionate chef, he’s a talented businessman and a caring person as well. Don’t miss our interview with Todd and his wife Cyndi, who have steadily built 2 Chez into a beloved institution of consistency and excellence. In addition to flavors that pop, they are known for going above and beyond in their hospitality, understanding that their business is as much about relationships as it is food.
For Todd, restaurants serve a higher purpose—as a way for different people to gather together and share a meaningful experience. “Too many people only get their views from social media and Facebook, and a lot of it is just toxic and divisive,” he suggests. “I think the place for restaurants and pubs and bars… It forces people who may have different views to sit next to each other and talk. It’s hard to hate somebody when you get to know them and love them for who they are.”
From the farmers who place the seed into the earth, to the servers who place food on our tables—and all who are part of the chain in between—we are the beneficiaries of their labor. We celebrate their creativity, hard work and passion, and as always, encourage you to shop and eat local! PM